Review

Audi A6 saloon

Price  £32,295 - £56,545

Audi A6 saloon

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Ultra version is extremely cheap to run
  • Good-quality interior
  • Grippy quattro four-wheel drive
Cons
  • Not as much fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series
  • Firm suspension on S line models
  • Expensive optional extras

At a glance

The greenest
2.0 TDI 190PS Ultra SE S tronic 4dr £33,825
The cheapest
2.0 TDI 190PS Ultra SE 4dr £32,295
The fastest
4.0 TFSI quattro 4dr £56,545
Top of the range
4.0 TFSI quattro 4dr £56,545

"The Audi A6 is the brand's answer to the BMW 5 Series – and this version is the best yet."

The Audi A6 saloon sits between the compact Audi A4 and limousine-like Audi A8 in the brand's model range. It competes with the Mercedes E-Class (the luxurious alternative), the BMW 5 Series (the sporty one) and the Jaguar XF (somewhere in between those two). In short, the Audi A6 is the sensible, conservative choice – still quick, but in standard front-wheel-drive form, not quite as engaging as a 5 Series or XF.

Audi's four-wheel-drive system – called quattro – is available with the more powerful 3.0-litre engine, but it boosts grip rather than the fun driving characteristics associated with a sporty, rear-wheel-drive car. All models feature Audi Drive Select: a system that allows you to choose from a range of different steering, engine and gearbox settings to suit your taste. However, once you've settled on one, you're unlikely to change it, so it feels like a bit of a gimmick.

What's definitely not a gimmick, however, is the A6's sturdy build quality, which should continue to delight you long after the 'new-car smell' has disappeared. The A6 is also well equipped, with the SE, S Line and Back Edition versions all featuring four-zone air-conditioning, DAB digital radio, sat nav, alloy wheels and leather seats. Also included are xenon headlights, LED rear lights, cruise control and hill-hold assist, which prevents the car rolling backwards on inclines.

The A6 is powered by a choice of smooth, powerful and economical 2.0 and 3.0-litre diesel engines. Only the super-sporty S6 version gets a petrol engine. The most economical diesel is the 2.0-litre Ultra. With a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox and riding on the SE model's 17-inch alloys, it's capable of up to 67.3mpg and costs just £20 a year to tax. Even so, it can do 0-62mph in just 8.2 seconds.

This trim level, engine and transmission combination is our pick of the A6 range – not least because the other specifications have larger wheels and sports suspension, which together result in harsh ride quality. Fortunately, it's possible to specify the SE's softer suspension at no extra cost.

The A6 is a reliable and safe car, too. It was awarded the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests and standard equipment includes tyre-pressure monitors, electronic stability control and parking sensors.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.8 / 5

The Audi A6 Ultra features a fuel-sipping 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine that returns more than 67mpg

Engines, drive & performance

4.4 / 5

The Audi A6 is a fast and capable cruiser, but it’s not exactly inspiring to drive

Interior & comfort

4.4 / 5

Specify your Audi A6 with small wheels and Dynamic suspension to maximise comfort

Practicality & boot space

4 / 5

The Audi A6 has a bigger boot than a BMW 5 Series and plenty of interior storage

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

The Audi A6 lives up to its reputation for superb build quality

What the others say

3.8 / 5
based on 2 reviews
4 / 5
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.
3.5 / 5
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.
What owners say 
4.2602339181287
4.3 /5 based on 171 reviews
70%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
8 Apr 2015
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