Audi A6 review - German executive does just about everything well
Audi A6 is Ingolstadt’s foil to the BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-class
By any measure the Audi A6 saloon and Avant (estate) are hugely desirable and capable cars. However, in a class containing the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class - not to mention Jaguar’s XF - the A6 trails its rivals for driver fun. Given the likely day-to-day grind it’ll be used for, the A6’s qualities are arguably more relevant, and appealing. It’s extremely comfortable, its diesel engine line-up is hugely efficient, both at the pumps and for your company car tax bill, while refinement and space are superb. Add in an interior that’s beautifully finished and easy in its functionality and you’ll forgive the A6 for not being thrilling behind the wheel, and instead enjoy it for its ease of use, comfort and serenity.
Prices, Specs and Rivals
Trim levels are pretty simple - the A6 is gearing down ready for a new model in 2018, leaving just SE Executive, S line and Black Edition trims on offer. SE Executive is the entry point, and prices start at £34,555 for a manual, two-wheel drive model fitted with the 187bhp, 2.0-litre 'Ultra' diesel engine.
Despite being the base level trim, SE Executive still comes with just about everything you'd need in a big saloon - 17-inch alloy wheels, heated leather front seats, four-zone climate control, dynamic suspension, all-round parking sensors, cruise control and Audi's MMI infotainment system with sat-nav and Bluetooth.
S line steps things up a notch, adding LED headlights and DRLs, sports seats in the front, 20mm lowered suspension and an S line styling package for the exterior which includes 18-inch alloy wheels.
Black Edition is the pinnacle of the standard A6 range, and adds even larger 20-inch alloy wheels, black styling tweaks and BOSE surround sound.
For most people, the real entry point to the range will be £36,065 - that's a 2.0-litre Ultra diesel in SE Executive trim, but crucially with the S tronic automatic gearbox which most owners spec. If you want more power, you'll need to step up to S line trim and choose the 3.0-litre diesel with 268bhp. This engine also comes with quattro all-wheel drive and the S tronic gearbox as standard, pushing the on-the-road price up to £46,675. That means it will also qualify for the £310 additional road tax supplement for years 2-5 of ownership for cars over £40,000.
Rivals are obvious, the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Jaguar XF, as well as other large executive choices such as the Lexus GS. The A6 also faces strong competition from within the Audi family - the Q5 SUV offers a compelling mix of practicality and SUV styling at a similar price to the A6.
It might not have the capacity to excite or engage quite as much as its executive rivals, but then that’s arguably part of the A6's appeal. If you want a fast model the people at quattro GmbH can offer you exactly that; however, if you’re after a quick, capable, comfortable and economical executive saloon or estate then the A6 ticks all those boxes too. With an interior that’s still unbeaten for design integrity, functionality and comfort there’s a lot to like. We shouldn’t like the A6 here as much as we do; it is far off what we’d describe as an ‘evo’ car, but then it’s so damned competent it’s impossible not to appreciate it for its hugely broad range of abilities.