Luxury-car shoppers who love value have long cheered the Audi A6. And in true Audi fashion, the midsize A6 gives you a lot for a very competitive price. One of the A6's primary strengths is its deluxe cabin. Materials are first-rate, and the overall design is nothing short of class-leading. Its winter-weather capability is another plus as the A6, like other Audis, is available with all-wheel drive.
But the car's most compelling asset concerns value. In terms of overall quality, the Audi A6 is right up there with other midsize luxury cars, but it typically costs thousands less. A used A6 represents an even more affordable proposition, though these examples lack the athleticism of its contemporary rivals. The latest A6 benefits from enhanced performance and increased driver engagement, making it a top choice in the segment.
Current Audi A6
The current Audi A6 represents the fourth generation in the car's lineage and debuted in the 2012 model year. Adopting the latest Audi design language, the A6 is distinctive for its large trapezoidal grille and more angular headlights. It is also notable for improvements in regard to performance, making it the go-to choice as a "driver's car."
Powering the base Audi A6 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that produces 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, as is a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). A supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is also available and produces 310 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are standard. Fuel economy for either engine is quite favorable when compared to competing sedans.
Trim levels start with the Premium and Premium Plus (each in either 2.0T or 3.0T variants to denote engines) and are capped by the 3.0T Prestige. Standard feature highlights include a sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, partial leather upholstery and heated front seats (for the 3.0T). Premium Plus trims add larger wheels, xenon headlights, parking sensors, Audi's MMI electronics interface, upgraded audio, a navigation system and an in-car Internet connection. The 3.0T Prestige will get you adaptive headlights, unique exterior accents, quad-zone climate control, ventilated front seats and a Bose sound system. Options depend on trim levels and include LED headlights, a sport-tuned suspension, a head-up display, night vision assist, a blind-spot warning system and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
In reviews, we rank the current Audi A6 highly for its engaging driving dynamics, excellent interior, strong V6 engine and its long list of features. Drivers with a penchant for winding roads will certainly appreciate the A6's tenacious grip on the pavement and well-balanced weight distribution, while others will likely enjoy the quiet and attractive cabin that is stacked with intuitive high-tech wizardry. Whereas previous A6 generations played second fiddle to its Mercedes and BMW rivals, this latest Audi is now worthy of the class-leader title.
Used Audi A6 Models
The third-generation Audi A6 ran from the 2005 to the 2011 model year. Overall, the third-generation car represented an admirable mix of attention-getting style, entertaining driving dynamics and opulent furnishings. A wagon body style, known as the Avant, was offered alongside the sedan.
In the third generation's final year of production, three engines were offered: a 265-horsepower V6 (3.2), a 300-hp supercharged V6 (3.0T) and a 350-hp V8 (4.2). The 3.2 front-wheel-drive sedan had a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while all other A6s came with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The A6 Avant was only available with the 3.0T engine, AWD and the automatic.
Throughout the production run, trim levels were generally structured around engine selections. For the most part, three trims were offered: base 3.2 Premium, midlevel 3.0T Premium Quattro and top-of-the-line 4.2 Prestige Quattro. Wagons were available only in the 3.0T Premium Quattro trim. Standard features were as generous as any luxury car for the time, with navigation standard for all and the upper trims coming with heated seats. Meanwhile, Audi's easy-to-use Multi Media Interface (MMI) system made controlling audio, navigation and Bluetooth functions easy with clear and logical menus.
Those considering third-gen models should keep in mind that the base V6 made only 255 hp from 2005-'09 (later increased to 265 hp). Also, the supercharged V6 (3.0T) wasn't available from 2005-'08, while the car's V8 produced only 335 hp prior to 2007, when output was bumped to 350 hp. In terms of features, the A6 has stayed mostly unchanged, though trim packages and options were also simplified for '09, and the MMI electronics interface and navigation system were upgraded for 2010.
In reviews, we've found the engines to be smooth and refined. The base V6's acceleration is certainly passable, but our choice would be the 3.0T thanks to its broad range of torque and relative fuel efficiency. In fact, we've found this engine provided quicker acceleration than the V8. The A6 rode comfortably on the highway, and while it wasn't the most athletic car in its class, our editors applauded its predictable, confident feel around corners.
The second-generation A6 sedan arrived on the market in 1998 and benefited from a ground-up redesign; an all-new version of the Avant wagon debuted the following year. This was the first Audi A6 to ride on a stretched version of the highly regarded A4 platform.
For the first two years, only a naturally aspirated V6 was available, but in 2000, Audi added a spirited twin-turbocharged V6 and a torque-rich V8 to the sedan lineup. Given that acceleration tended to be sluggish with the base V6, particularly on the hefty A6 Avant wagon, Audi began offering a more powerful 3.0-liter six-cylinder in 2002. Transmission choices included a five-speed automatic and a CVT (which was introduced in 2002). In reviews, we praised the heavenly cabin and all-wheel-drive utility offered by the second-generation A6, and panned its somewhat nonlinear steering. Overall, it represents a solid choice for used-car shoppers.
The original Audi A6 came to market in 1995 as a lightly revised version of the old Audi 100 sedan and wagon. Although prices on used A6 models from this era are convincingly low, consumers should be aware that only one engine -- a 172-hp V6 -- is available on these cars. With the lightest A6 sedan weighing in at 3,400 pounds, acceleration is modest at best. However, much like newer Audis, this A6 was nicely appointed and offered a choice of front-wheel drive or Quattro all-wheel drive.
Read the most recent 2013 Audi A6 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Audi A6 page.