Audi A6 is the 8th generation version of a model line that dates back to 1968 with the release of the first generation A100. It’s a long and innovative history and the latest version continues that tradition.
It’s been 8 years since the last generation and the A6 is an extremely important vehicle for Audi, even if the sales are moderate.
Completely redesigned from the ground up, the all-new Audi A6 Sedan brings new engines, innovative connectivity and infotainment technology to the range.
What is the A6 Exterior Style Like?
Audi A6 exudes subtle style. Not quite as elegant as the sumptuous A7, yet it is long (just under 5m) and sleek with a low wide stance. It looks like a prestige sedan should.
The single frame grill is edged with flat LED Matrix headlights and air vents below. It presents a bold frontal view. Audi supplies the headlights in two versions: with Matrix LED technology and the top HD Matrix LED technology with high-resolution, dynamically illuminating high beam.
In profile the tight contours hugging the wheel arches and wheel tyre combinations that fill out the space are testimony of the quattro heritage. There is little front or rear overhang, again highlighting the more sporty nature of the vehicle.
Also in profile the roofline is low and steeply flows into coupe like ‘C’ pillars.
From the rear the LED tail lights accentuate the width and the indicators flash towards the direction of travel. This is a really cool feature! The paint range includes a choice of 14 colours.
What is the Audi A6 like inside?
The immediate feeling once you sit inside is a mixture of spaciousness, elegance, style and functionality.
In typical Audi style it portrays a minimalist approach with excellent design allowing fantastic driver ergonomics and occupant comfort. Space is accentuated by the stepped back dash line for the air vents, and topped off with either aluminium or wood inlays. At night the contour lighting with a choice of 30 colours also adds ambience.
A lot of the minimalism comes from the new MMI operating concept that replaces many of the usual controls into the touch screen. This is both good and bad.
In front of the driver is thick rimmed flat bottomed multi-function steering wheel and the Audi virtual cockpit with a high-resolution 12.3 inch display. There is a head up display on the 45 S Line and 55 TFSI models that again places relevant information directly in front of the driver.
HUD’s are an underestimated safety feature in my opinion. Ironically you can have the navigation displayed in three places, which seems a bit of overkill.
The centre console is softly padded and will slide forward for shorter drivers. Inside is the wireless charging platform for smart phones and some USB ports. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of room otherwise to put things. All touch points for elbows etc. are soft feel. The door pockets are smallish as is the glove box.
In front of the console bin are two medium sized cup holders and the transmission lever. I’m more a fan of the rounded style from the A2 rather than the square bulky style. The driver can also get caught between drive and reverse gears with the particular configuration.
The minimalist style comes from the centre stack which houses high dual touchscreens (10.1- and 8.6-inch) that have been designed as an integrated part of the dashboard and slightly angled towards the driver.
These high definition screens have brilliant resolution and clarity as well as exceptionally clever and practical haptic and acoustic feedback.
The difference this makes was highlighted by the fact that in the same week of the launch I also had another manufacturer’s prestige SUV that had zero feel to the touch and with a slight delay in response, you were often left wondering if your request was registered.
Not so with the Audi. I love it!
Seating for front occupants is superb. In the S Line and 55 TFSI models there are enhanced side bolsters. All models have electronic adjustments for both front seats with heaters and additional lumbar support, which my aging back appreciates.
Rear seats are sculptured and roomy for two passengers with only a very occasional third person as the rear vents and A/C controls intrude on any knee room for the middle seat. The central backrest folds down for cup holders and arm rest. Access to the rear is also a touch restricted by the sloping ‘C’ pillars.
There is a rear seat comfort option package which has 4 zone A/C, rear pillar vents as well as outer seat heaters for $2500 which is actually good value.
Boot space is actually quite deep front to back and at 530L is spacious for a sedan. The boot lid can be opened electrically with a kicking motion and opens high well out of the way of sensitive foreheads. Despite this the opening, like many sedans, is slightly restricted. I much prefer the fastback style of the A7.
What is the A6 Technology and Connectivity like?
As you would expect the A6 is packed with the latest range topping MMI navigation plus system as standard. The Audi connect plus Navigation & Infotainment services are provided by the Audi connect SIM which is permanently installed in the vehicle and are free of charge for the first three years after purchasing the new car.
MMI navigation plus brings other services on board: self-learning navigation, suggested drive routes, navigation with Google Earth, online radio and hybrid radio, which automatically switches between FM, DAB+ and web channels. The map shows detailed 3D models of many major cities.
Besides the MMI touch response operating system the A6 also offers the online voice control system. This allows a wide range of vehicle functions, such as controlling the air conditioning system, to be performed using everyday speech commands.
Like everything these days there is an app, called myAudi app which obviously connects seamlessly with the vehicle and transfers between the smartphone and car as appropriate. The vehicle also features a Wi-Fi hot spot for local connectivity or up to five devices.
You can also remotely lock the vehicle, if you’re running late for the Opera and can’t remember if you locked it or not.
There is a choice between the standard Audi sound system, and two Bang & Olufsen systems, with 19 speakers everywhere in the top version. There are also drives for CDs and DVDs, tuners for digital radio and TV (with CI+ module), the Audi smartphone interface.
In the new A6 up to six drivers and one guest can store their preferred settings in individual profiles. This personalisation runs to some 400 parameters – from the climate control, navigation destinations, through to preferred media. The automobile recognises the particular user on the basis of the key signal and activates the associated individual profile automatically.
What about the Engine and Drivetrain for the Audi A6
There is a degree of familiarity on the engine and drivetrain. They are similar to what is in the A7. Initially this comprises two petrol TFSI drivetrains:
- The 55 TFSI quattro, with its 250kW/500Nm 3.0-litre V6 engine that will go from 0-100km/h in 5.1 seconds and top out at 250km/h and
- The 45 TFSI quattro, producing 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque between 1600 and 4500rpm.
Both engines feature Mild-Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology (MHEV), with the 55 TFSI and the 45 TFSI utilising 48- and 12-volt systems respectively. The 48-volt system functions as the car’s main electrical system and allows power recuperation of up to 14kW, plus start-stop operation from 22km/h.
Both powerplants are mated to Audi’s seven-speed S tronic transmission, quattro allwheel drive and progressive steering, delivering extraordinary grip and handling to match its performance.
Later in 2020, a 40 TFSI model will also arrive, powered by 140kW/320Nm 2.0-litre TFSI engine, driven through the front wheels.
There are no diesel engines available, but with the 55 TFSI delivering 500Nm over the 1,370 to 4,500 rpm band and fuel economy around 7.2L/100K ADR then you can understand why a diesel isn’t needed.
What is the Audi A6 like to drive?
Here is where the A6 excels. The long, low and wide body stance ensures it feels planted to the road. This combined with the direct, progressively responsive, electromechanical power assisted steering means that the driver is totally engaged at all times.
Driver engagement is paramount
On freeways the A6 simply lopes along without fuss. On some twisty back roads the combination of steering, suspension and low delivery of torque all mean that the A6 is a super responsive sporty saloon. It surprisingly soaks up most bumps and road imperfections and whisks the occupants along in quiet and comfort.
For those that want an even sportier feel there is the optional dynamic all-wheel steering that combines dynamic steering at the front axle, with a separate rear axle steering system allowing the steering angle at the front and rear axle to be adjusted independently of each other.
At speeds up to 60 km/h, the rear wheels are turned as much as five degrees in the opposite direction in relation to the front wheels. This reduces the turning circle by up to one metre to 11 metres, virtually on a par with the A3.
As such, the approximately five-metre long Sedan is much more agile in urban traffic, on tight hairpin bends and while parking. At medium and high speeds, the wheels are turned by as many as two degrees in the same direction. This simply means that the A6 is more composed and stable. Let’s not forget Audi’s brilliant predictive Quattro system, first previewed on the Q5 launched in July 2017. The brakes are excellent as well.
The front and rear axles of the new Audi A6 use a five-link design made extensively from aluminium. There are three options, sport suspension, damper control and adaptive air suspension.
In addition, the driver can himself adjust the settings with the Audi drive select dynamic handling switch for all controlled suspensions, with a choice of comfort, auto and dynamic modes. The driver experiences a new, dynamic all-wheel steering that varies its ratio and the degree of feedback.
Two little things highlight the degree to which Audi goes for driver engagement. Foam pads glued into the tyres – reduce unwanted droning frequencies. Secondly, if a wheel has been fitted loosely, say after changing tyres, a warning comes on in the ESC – a unique function in the market.
The controlled dampers, adaptive air suspension, dynamic all-wheel steering are managed by the electronic chassis platform (ECP), another major innovation in the new Audi A6. As the central suspension controller, the ECP collects comprehensive information about the movement of the car and the data from the systems involved. From these, it quickly calculates and closely coordinates the optimal function of these components in an integrated handling controller.
One little niggle is what I feel a slightly oversensitive Pre Sense system. Twice while driving it kicked in, when I felt it was unnecessary. This is always an argument I have about technology overriding good driving technique and Audi is not alone in this regard. The balance between safety and restriction is a fine line.
Audi A6 makes a superb long distance cruiser with a solid body and sophisticated aeroacoustics, including acoustic glass, it remains very quiet in the interior, even at high speeds.
I would happily jump in the A6 and drive 1000 plus km and arrive feeling refreshed.
What Safety Rating does the Audi A6 have?
The Audi A6 Sedan has been given a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, and it will arrive in Australia with the full suite of Audi driver assistance systems as standard, across the range:
- Adaptive cruise assist with traffic jam assist
- 360 degree cameras with kerb view function
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Audi pre-sense front and pre-sense rear
- Audi active lane assist
- Audi side assist with cross traffic assist
- Collision avoidance assist and turn assist
- Intersection assist
- Exit warning
Audi A6 Model Line Up
The entry level Audi A6 45 TFSI quattro boasts generous levels of luxury appointment, connectivity and infotainment technology, as well as a full suite of driver assistance systems as standard equipment. With more than $13,000 worth of additional features over the previous generation, highlights include:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Matrix LED headlights
- Heated front seats
- MMI navigation with MMI touch response (10.1” & 8.6” touch screens)
- Audi virtual cockpit
- Audi connect plus
- Audi phone box light
- wireless charging for mobile phones with Qi standard
- Audi music interface with x2 front and x2 rear USB outlets
The premium Audi A6 45 TFSI quattro S line and A6 55 TFSI quattro S line models add even more standard equipment, with highlights including:
- S line exterior package
- 20-inch alloy wheels in 5-V-spoke design
- Suspension with adaptive damper control
- Sport front seats upholstered in Valcona leather
- Illuminated door sill trims in S design
- Head-up display
In addition, the Premium plus package (from $9,800) is available on the S line models, and includes
- HD Matrix LED headlights,
- S line interior package,
- Privacy glass,
- panoramic glass sunroof,
- Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System,
- electric steering column adjustment,
- electrically opening and closing bootlid, as well as
- A colour interior lighting package.
- A6 Sedan 45 TFSI quattro 180kW $95,500*
- A6 Sedan 45 TFSI quattro S line 180kW $105,200*
- A6 Sedan 55 TFSI quattro S line 250kW $116,000*
* Manufacturer List Pricing [MLP] – excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges
The all-new Audi A6 Sedan is on-sale now and is offered alongside a comprehensive Audi service plan package, including: Three-year service plan, priced at $1,700 or a five-year service plan, priced at $2,630.
Audi A6 Summary
As you would expect the Audi A6 exudes class. Its design is both form and function externally and internally. The craftsmanship of the interior materials is fantastic. The driver ergonomics are precise and occupant comfort first class.
The 8th generation also takes technology to a new level at this price point with a number of firsts for the segment.
However at the core of the vehicle is the fact that this is an Audi and driver engagement is paramount to the overall enjoyment. On this function the A6 scores well, particularly in the 55 TFSI quattro variant. It was described as an athlete in a business suit and that is accurate.
- 55 TFSI quattro package
- Technology and connectivity including wireless Apple Car Play
- Configurable virtual cockpit
Not so Good Bits
- Overly sensitive Audi Pre Sense
- Poor storage areas in centre console
- Transmission lever not a personal favourite.