Audi A6 saloon (2004-2011)
"The Audi A6 is one of the oldest cars in Audi’s line up, but its practicality, interior space and build quality means it’s just as desirable as it has ever been."
- Excellent diesel engines
- Exceptional interior
- High load lip for boot
- Poor ride quality in sporty S line trim
- BMW 5 Series boasts better fuel economy
The Audi A6 has been on sale since 2004, and had a mid-life update in 2008. Even so, it's still one of the most comfortable and desirable cars in the executive class. It’s one of the most spacious too, easily accommodating five adults on long journeys. The range is extensive, from the entry-level and fuel-efficient 2.0 TDIe diesel to the high-performance, V10 twin-turbo RS6. The former is the economy champion in the range, while the latter is as quick as many supercars. Go for SE trim for a decent level of standard equipment and the best resale values. Quattro four-wheel drive is available with the larger engines in the line-up.
This generation of A6 has now been replaced. You can read our full review of the latest Audi A6 saloon here.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The 2.0 TDIe diesel's economy and emission figures of 53.3mpg and 139g/km sound good in isolation, but the BMW 520d saloon launched in 2010 is even better, as is the Mercedes-Benz E200 CDI. The larger 2.7 and 3.0 V6 TDI diesels are better suited to the heavy A6 than the 2.0 TDI, although they're not as economical. However, they don't use anywhere near as much fuel as the high-performance S6 and RS6 models.
Engines, drive & performance
The A6 is very good at covering large distances. The car’s suspension is set-up for comfort and the driving position is good, while the steering is accurate and brakes are strong. Four-wheel-drive quattro versions offer good grip on slippery roads, but the A6 doesn’t handle quite as well the BMW 5 Series or Jaguar XF.
Interior & comfort
Thanks to soft and supple suspension, the A6 is very comfortable. Excellent seats offer a wide range of adjustment, and because the car measures nearly five metres in length, there's plenty of space for passengers to stretch out. Whether you are riding in the front or back, leg, head and shoulder room are all impressive, while double glazed windows on flagship versions mean comfort is boosted even further.
Practicality & boot space
The A6 saloon boasts the biggest boot in the executive class, with 546 litres of space. There are split-fold seats as standard and large storage areas elsewhere in the cabin.
Reliability & safety
It’s a testament to Audi’s build quality that the A6 ranked in 14th position for quality on the 2010 Driver Power survey. The A6’s overall position in the Driver Power top 100 at 32 is a significant improvement on the 2009 result of 52nd place. With a full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test, the A6 is a safe car, and gets front, side and curtain airbags as standard. Electronic stability control is also standard.
Price, value for money & options
The Audi A6 undercuts equivalent BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class models on a like-for-like basis. Equipment levels across all models are good, with standard versions offering alloy wheels, cruise control and climate control, as well as reassuring levels of safety equipment. It's worth paying a little more for SE trim over the entry-level specification for the extra equipment, such as a leather interior.