Audi A6 saloon review
"The sleek Audi A6 looks familiar, but there's cutting-edge technology under the surface"
- Comfortable ride
- Impressive economy
- Slick interior technology
- Evolutionary style
- Expensive options
- No real USP
Verdict - Is the Audi A6 a good car?
The Audi A6’s biggest problem is its rivals; the Mercedes E-Class is still more comfortable, while the BMW 5 Series is more fun to drive. Despite not standing out in any one area, the Audi is an impressive all-rounder – the interior is luxurious and the technology still impresses even five years after launch. The engines are strong, but there’s no pure-EV, which could be a dealbreaker for company car drivers looking to slash their tax bills.
Audi A6 models, specs and alternatives
Very few manufacturers can justify selling saloon cars in the UK anymore – they’ve simply fallen out of fashion in favour of big, practical SUVs. There are a handful of manufacturers seemingly immune from this seismic shift, however; premium cars like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class remain popular with company car drivers up and down the country.
But where the BMW is the sporty choice and the Mercedes a bit more comfortable, the Audi’s role is less clear-cut. It sits alongside rivals like the Jaguar XF, Lexus ES and Volvo S90, without really standing out in any given area.
Available with a choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines, for the time being there is no pure-electric Audi A6 – and anyway, the maker’s new naming structure means any future mid-size EV saloon will likely be badged Audi A7 e-tron. If you’re after an electric car similar in size to the A6, the Mercedes EQE and Tesla Model S are worthy alternatives.
Even five years after it launched, the A6 remains a premium executive car; its sharp-looking bodywork, distinctive headlights and large grille mean that it manages to be understated yet still very stylish for those who take time for a second look. It does depend on the trim level, though – high-spec cars tend to have flashier trim and large alloy wheels.
The interior is even more impressive than the exterior. The materials inside are of a high quality, so it feels as upmarket as you would expect of an expensive saloon car. The design is simple but classy and best of all there is a huge amount of technology inside, some of which is shared with the more expensive Audi A8.
Every version of the Audi A6 features not one but three screens in the front. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital dials are standard and impressive in their execution, while the main infotainment screen sits above a second touchscreen which you’ll use for climate control.
We recommend the entry-level Sport trim, as the larger wheels of S Line, Black Edition and Vorsprung cars can make the car more uncomfortable over bumps. Sport offers almost everything you might need, including LED headlights, sat nav, a rear-view camera, leather seats (heated in the front), two-zone climate control and DAB radio.
S Line adds sporty styling and seats, plus larger alloy wheels and Matrix LED headlights, while Black Edition cars feature even larger wheels and black styling elements. The range-topping Vorsprung grade brings huge 21-inch wheels, all-wheel steering and luxuries including a panoramic sunroof and Bang & Olufsen stereo, but doesn’t seem good value at over £20,000 more than the Sport.
The available engines all make use of 'mild-hybrid' technology, which allows the A6 to coast without the engine running. It'll then restart when acceleration is called for, and Audi claims at least a 5% efficiency increase from this system alone.
The ‘40 TDI’ is now the sole choice if you want a diesel engine, and all versions now come with Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system. Previously, this 201bhp 2.0-litre engine was also available with two-wheel drive, which made it slightly cheaper to buy and run. It’s bookended by the 40 TFSI and 45 TFSI petrols, and the latter comes with quattro as standard, too. These used to be joined by 3.0-litre V6 petrol and diesel engines, badged 55 TFSI and 50 TDI respectively. It’s probably no surprise that the A6 has long been automatic-only.
The plug-in hybrid A6 50 TFSI e uses a 14.1kWh battery and electric motor along with its 2.0-litre petrol engine. This gives it an electric range of around 42 miles, increasing its figures to 235mpg and cutting CO2 emissions to as little as 27g/km in official tests. The latter is a major advantage for business buyers, slashing the cost of Benefit-in-Kind liability for 40% tax payers by around £4,000 a year. The 55 TFSI e Competition was discontinued in 2021; when it was available it was the most powerful PHEV model with 362bhp - 70bhp more than the 50 TFSI e.
Updated Audi A6 available to order from June 2023
Sharper looks inside and out for the A6, with extra kit as standard
The Audi A6 is being given a set of updates, and the latest version is available to order from mid-June 2023 from £43,965. First deliveries will start a few months later.
There are subtle visual changes, along with updates to the trim level structure and an increase in standard kit. Optional packs will also bundle extra equipment together, making choosing an A6 a simpler affair.
Trim levels will be Sport, S line and Black Edition, with each version getting an individual look. Matrix LED headlights, dynamic indicators, electrically adjustable seats and Audi’s app store will now be standard across the range. On Sport trim, the honeycomb front grille has a Dark Chrome surround, while S line versions get chrome inserts and different front air intakes, plus widened side skirts and 19-inch alloy wheels. While exact details for the Black Edition haven’t been confirmed, we expect it will include a dark finish for exterior trim. A total of 12 paint colours are offered, including the new shades Arcona White and Madeira Brown Metallic, while Grenadine Red Metallic and Ascari Blue Metallic are reserved for Audi S6 performance models.
Inside, the dashboard and headliner are now trimmed in black, while the steering wheel has contrasting stitching and perforated leather. Lower down, the footrests and pedals have been upgraded to stainless steel. S line brings leather and microfiber upholstery with ‘S’ embossed seats, along with ‘S’ badges dotted around the cabin.
The aforementioned new option packs include Audi’s Technology Pack for around £3,000, adding a Bang & Olufsen stereo, extended LED ambient lighting, a 360-degree camera view, Park Assist and a head-up display. Technology Pack Pro costs closer to £6,000 and increases the roster to include four-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof and remote parking. Rear occupants will also get to enjoy heated seats and USB-C charging ports.
Which Is Best?
- Name40 TFSI Sport 4dr S Tronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- Name50 TFSI e 17.9kWh Quattro Sport 4dr S Tronic
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto
- NameS6 TDI 349 Quattro 4dr Tip Auto
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto