Audi A6 saloon - Interior & comfort
The Audi A6 comes close to offering best-in-class for comfort, convenience, technology and interior quality
Our engines, drive & performance section highlighted just how smoothly the latest Audi A6 rides, but now we come to how eerily quiet it is inside. This is thanks to careful consideration of where sound insulation is applied and the window glass is now thicker than it used to be, to let less noise through. Internal vibrations have been reduced, too, thanks to a stiffened body. The plug-in hybrid has a slightly firmer ride than the straight petrol and diesel versions, to compensate for its heavier powertrain – but in EV mode it's even quieter.
Audi A6 dashboard
The A6 represented a big step forwards in interior design, technology and connectivity – not just for Audi itself, but for the executive-car class as a whole. However, the full extent of technology on offer depends on how many boxes you tick on the original order form.
Audi's 'Virtual Cockpit' configurable instrument cluster now comes as standard, meaning that every A6 looks cutting-edge inside. This presents all the usual driving information on a digital display ahead of you, with the option of showing 3D map data with speed and other information overlaid. It launched in the Audi TT almost a decade ago, and is still the best system of its kind on the market.
Navigation information can also be displayed on the high-definition central display, which measures 10.1 inches. This screen is one of the hallmark features of the car, using gesture-recognition technology to interpret touch inputs and also providing haptic and acoustic feedback when a command is selected. There's also voice control, which is said to understand 'human language', so you needn't stick to carefully memorised phrases, unlike previous voice-recognition systems.
Below this is a narrower screen that controls the car's comfort and convenience functions, which include the climate control. It's also used to input text into the infotainment system, where its location low down in the centre console means you can brace your hand comfortably to use it, rather than stabbing at a high-mounted touchscreen as used to be the case in the old car.
Before you've discovered all its technology, though, the A6 impresses with its sheer feeling of interior quality and design thoughtfulness. Touches like the full-width air vents don't just look good, but work very well, too, and what could be a very tech-heavy, intimidating interior is actually low-key and easy to use. The materials used are top-drawer, too; you have to look long and hard to find a sharp edge or dubious panel join.
There are four trim levels for the A6, called Sport, S line, Black Edition and Vorsprung, now that the Competition trim has been discontinued. All are lavishly equipped. The standard model comes with the two touchscreens – including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – plus 18-inch alloy wheels, LED exterior lighting, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and a rear-view camera.
With 19-inch wheels, sports suspension and different front and rear bumpers, the S line looks more athletic. Inside there are brushed aluminium trim fillets and sports seats upholstered in leather and Alcantara with electric adjustment. The headlights are also upgraded to Matrix LEDs that automatically adjust for traffic and road conditions, while the rear lights gain 'dynamic' sweeping indicators.
Black Edition cars add a few black styling elements, 20-inch wheels, privacy glass and a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel. Even bigger 21-inch alloys are fitted to the Vorsprung, along with all-wheel steering, adaptive air suspension, sports seats and luxury features including a panoramic sunroof and a Bang & Olufsen stereo. Audi's Technology Pack and City Assist Pack are also fitted to the Vorsprung model as standard.
The Competition model was only available with the 55 TFSI e engine (also discontinued) and added red brake calipers, special alloys and leather seats. You could get a ‘Vorsprung Competition’ model too that adds all the kit from the Vorsprung as well.
The standard equipment list is impressive, but you can still add plenty of options. Perhaps the most sensible is a space-saver spare wheel, even if it slightly reduces boot space, while you can add extra leather trim, automatically dimming mirrors, parking assistance and a larger fuel tank.
The Tour Pack adds semi-autonomous driving, traffic sign recognition, high-beam assist and Audi’s Pre-sense system that recognises when you’re about to have a crash. The City Assist pack also adds extra safety features.
MMI Navigation Plus is standard and it’s one of the most advanced infotainment systems this class has to offer. As well as the expected navigation and media functions, the system boasts a 'route learning' capability, as well as real-time traffic avoidance. Both of these require a constant cellular data connection, which can also support high-speed internet.
The possibilities of the technology are more impressive when you consider that Audis to which it's fitted can communicate with one another, sharing information about traffic hazards and the like as part of a 'swarm intelligence' capability. A parking space alert capability will be offered in due course.
The same is true of the optional remote parking capability, which will be rolled out after launch. It enables you to step out of the car and use the MyAudi smartphone app to park it in a space or garage. The technology makes use of the same sensors that enable Audi's 'adaptive cruise assist' feature to work, combining active cruise control with gentle steering interventions to help the car stay in lane while matching the speed of the car in front.
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