Audi A6 saloon
Audi A6 saloon
Price £30,985 - £54,520
- Efficient engines
- Good quality interior
- Hi-tech standard kit
- Not as fun to drive as a BMW
- Firm suspension on S line models
- Expensive optional extras
At a glance
"The Audi A6 is the brand's answer to the BMW 5 Series – and this version is the best yet."
The Audi A6 is an executive saloon with excellent build quality and a huge range of engines that now includes the super economical Ultra model. Rivals for the A6 include the BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF and Mercedes E-Class.
If you want an executive car that is fun to drive you may prefer the Jaguar XF or BMW 5 Series, but the fast Audi S6 can still get from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds. Buyers can also choose to fit their A6 with the firm's quattro four-wheel drive for excellent grip in tricky road conditions.
There's a huge range of models to choose from in the Audi A6 range, which allows you to get a car with plenty of equipment if you want it. Even if you go for the basic SE model you get a high level of kit that includes cruise control, sat-nav, climate control, a leather interior, and a powerful stereo.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Incredible 2.0-litre TDI diesel Ultra model returns nearly 65mpg
The excellent frugality of the 2.0-litre diesel engine means it is our pick of the range. It can return fuel economy of nearly 65mpg and CO2 emissions of 114g/km mean that road tax is just £30 annually. That’s very impressive for a large and heavy saloon. The 3.0-litre diesel offers more performance, but is still good for 53.3mpg if you go for the 210bhp engine or 47.9mpg in the 242bhp version. Those cars cost £130 and £180 annually to tax, respectively.
Ignore the performance-orientated S6 (it can only return fuel economy of 29.4mpg) and the only petrol engine available comes in the A6 Hybrid, which returns good economy but is very expensive to buy.
How much your A6 will cost to service depends on the model. Cars fitted with 2.0-litre engines pay £159 for a basic service or £309 for a major one. Larger-engined models pay £189 and £375 respectively. Insurance runs from group 27 in the 2.0-litre diesel to group 43 for the sporty S6.
Interior & comfort
Long motorway journeys are a breeze if you specify the standard suspension
The interior of the Audi A6 is one of its best features. It feels better built than all of its rivals thanks to plenty of soft-touch plastics and plush interior finishes. The controls are laid-out logically and many of the car’s functions are operated via Audi’s intuitive MMI control system.
Full adjustment for both the steering wheel and driver’s seat make it easy to get a comfortable driving position and all models come with front and rear parking sensors.
Even if you go for the basic diesel SE model, the Audi’s interior is well insulated from engine, road and wind noise. Sporty S line models don’t offer the same comfort because of larger alloy wheels and stiffer suspension, which transfer more of the bumps in the road into the cabin than the setup on SE models.
Practicality & boot space
Bigger boot than a BMW 5 Series and plenty of interior storage
Sit in the front seats of the Audi A6 and you are unlikely to feel short changed when it comes to space - there is plenty of head and legroom. Large windows mean that the Audi feels more airy inside than some of its rivals. There’s also plenty of head, leg and shoulder room in the back.
Boot space is also good and the Audi’s 530-litre capacity makes it bigger than the boot offered in the BMW 5 Series and only slightly smaller than what you get in the Mercedes E-Class. Drop the rear seats down and boot space grows to 995 litres. As with any saloon, the Audi A6 suffers from a small boot opening and quite a high boot lip, but if you want a more practical load carrier you’d be better off going for the Audi A6 Avant estate.
As many A6s are used as regular family transport there are plenty of smaller cubbyholes dotted around the interior, including a lidded storage area between the two front seats, cup holders, door bins, and a decent-sized glove box.
Reliability & safety
Very reliable and extremely safe, too
Audi’s may be quite expensive, but they come with an excellent record for reliability and the A6 came 26th out of 150 cars in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey – climbing one place from its 2013 showing. Owners rated the A6 for reliability, build quality, performance, and equipment.
You would expect the A6 to be safe and the car comes with six airbags, seatbelt warning buzzers, tyre pressure monitors and electronic stability control. That safety kit got the Audi A6 awarded five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. Buyers can bolster safety with optional extras such as the company’s Technology package. It’s pricy at £3,250 but includes active cruise control – which can keep a safe distance from the car in front – a blind spot warning system, and active lane assist, which keeps the car in lane.
Engines, drive & performance
Punchy performance from all engines across the range
Audi has used aluminium in the Audi A6’s construction to keep the car’s weight down and it feels agile as a result, even if it can’t match the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF for driver thrills. Treat the A6 as a comfy cruiser and it makes lots of sense. The best version to go for is the Ultra diesel, which, despite being one of the entry-level models, can get from 0-62mph in a shade over eight seconds. The Ultra’s smaller wheels (compared to S Line models) and relaxing suspension make it extremely comfortable and it comes as standard with Audi’s smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox.
There are plenty of engine options to go for if you want more performance. The 3.0-litre supercharged petrol engine in the S6 saloon can get from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds, while the faster version of the 3.0-litre diesel is much more economical and can get from 0-62mph in just 6.2 seconds.
Price, value for money & options
Add optional extras and the list price will soon spiral
The SE model may be the most basic version in the range but it comes with a huge amount of standard equipment that includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a powerful stereo, DAB digital radio, sat-nav, and Audi’s Drive Select system, which allows you to set the car up for performance or comfort. S line models add electrically adjustable lumber support for the front seats, a three-spoke steering wheel, sports seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a sporty body kit. The car also comes with sports suspension, but customers can revert to the more comfortable SE setup for no extra cost. Aside from the S6, the Black Edition models have the most striking looks of all thanks to 20-inch alloys and a de-chromed exterior.
There are a huge number of extras to choose from, some of which are very expensive. Those include a Bang & Olufsen stereo (£6,300), panoramic sunroof (£1,225), and full LED headlights (£2,500). The Ultra diesel has the strongest second-hand values and you can expect it to hold on to 46 per cent of its original price over three-years/36,000 miles, compared to the 49 per cent of an equivalent BMW 5 Series.
What the others say
It’s certainly a lot better looking than its predecessor – even if it does look like a slightly smaller A8. Its aerodynamic shape boasts some sharp surfacing and a lovely curved roofline, while the neat taillights and that bold grille with its smart LED daytime running lights really finish things off. Inside, the baby A8 feel continues. The dashboard sweeps classily across the facia, the centre console is logically laid out and all the materials, from metals to plastics to leathers, are of a really high standard.
The surprise is that the lowliest A6 is actually a lot more entertaining. In fact it's the pick of the range for a good time, because it feels the most natural. The 2.0 TDI engine makes a lively 175bhp, and matched to the standard six-speed manual it involves you in the driving process in a way the DSG-only 3.0 TFSI doesn't.
Going down the budget route on the engine front in this segment usually involves major compromises on the performance and refinement fronts. But this tried-and-trusted VW group two-litre common rail unit is well known for its smoothness as well as pulling power, delivering a healthy 280lb ft, only five percent less torque than its three-litre brethren.