German car manufacturer Audi’s A6 is a sleek, elegant executive car that won the World Car of the Year award in 2006. Audi’s goal with the A6 was not to mess with what fans of the brand think of as perfection. The car has a classic Audi design, from the trademark headlights to the sleek exterior. Some may call it conservative, but others will call it timeless. The interior is spacious, plush, and comfortable, offering a wide array of options in a panel that’s been arranged to be intuitive and incredibly easy to navigate.
The A6 is currently in its fourth generation, the newest revamp of the vehicle starting with the 2011 model onward. Alterations between the C6 generation spanning 2005 through 2010 and the current C7 have been slight, with most changes being pulled from other vehicles in Audi’s A-series, including the A8 and the A7. It offers a smooth, quiet, and efficient ride. What it loses because of its large size—the car can be a little awkward to drive—it more than makes for in its handling on the road and its acceleration and boosting capabilities. If it feels lighter than most vehicles of its size, that’s because it is—a full 120kg less than BMW’s 520d, as a matter of fact.
The A6 definitely has a combined luxury and relaxation feeling to it. Exteriors are available in the standard saloon sedan and a rather sporty Avant hatchback that still manages to keep the sleek, classic, streamlined look of the Audi line.
The first generation of the Audi A6 was released in 1994 and featured either a 1.8L 4-cylinder or 2.8L V6 petrol engine, while an inline Turbocharged Direct Engine and inline 2.5 TDI were the available diesel options. The next generation introduced a 1.9L Turbocharged Direct Injection engine under the bonnet with a max motive power output of 96kW and 310Nm of torque.
The third generation introduced Fuel Stratified Injection technology on the internal combustion engine, and its signature Quattro four-wheel drive was available on most models with the exception of the multitronic variants of the A6. Six-speed manual was made available on the 3.2L V6 engine.
The 2.7L twin-turbo V6 had a 350Nm peak torque while the 2.5 TDI diesel unit produced 132kW and 370Nm of torque.
Fourth-generation models available from 2005 to 2011 offered high-torque engine power under the bonnet, which it used to enhance car performance as well as operating convenience, in engines from a 2.0 Turbo offering 125kW to a 4.2L V8 offering 257kW in petrol options, and a 103kW 2.0 Turbo up to a 3.0 V6 with 171kW in diesel. On the newest fifth-gen models, the baseline engine is a 2.8 FSI with 280nM of torque up to a 3.0 TFSI with 380nM in petrol, and a diesel 2.0 TDI with 380nM up to a 3.0 TDI that has a whopping 500nM of torque.
While little else changes on the A6 from year to year—the company tends to prefer minor changes to the line rather than major overhauls—the vehicle seems to come out with new and improved kit every year. The Audi A6 has a comprehensive set of standard amenities on all its models including keyless entry, air con, automatic temperature control, cruise control and power windows. Many come standard with features such as the moon roof, memory seats that can store several seating arrangements for multiple drivers, and auto-dimming door mirrors. Extra kit that could be added to all models included a navigation system and reverse sensing system. The newest generation has an array of sensor and assist systems, including parking and lane change assist.
The Audi A6 faces some tough competition in a luxury car line-up that sees it fighting for top spot against BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The BMW 5 Series contends with the Audi A6 for its ability to handle in unfavourable road conditions. When it comes to steering, it could take some lessons from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class of vehicles. The BMW 535d gives it some true competition with a twin-turbo diesel engine offering 600nM of torque, but proves to be a bit more expensive than the Audi, and the same rings true for the Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI that has a 3-litre V6 offering 620nM of torque.