Pundits have regularly proclaimed Audi's A6 2.8 a great car in search of an engine. Possessed of graceful design, excellent road-holding and a comfortable cabin, it has been consistently let down by a base engine lacking in torque. Said engine has been, until 2002, a 2.8-liter 200-horsepower V6. It has double overhead cams and five valves per cylinder to maximize efficiency. Nonetheless, its oomph (207 pound-feet at 3,200 rpm) has always felt inferior, ranking near the tail end of the luxury sedan class in thrills per mile.
To help rectify this situation, Audi recently added new engines to the A6's coterie, namely a turbocharged 250-horse 2.7-liter V6 (A6 2.7T) and a stout 300-hp 4.2-liter V8 (A6 4.2). Both generously solved the A6's power deficit, albeit for a serious wad of cash, but also served to amplify the power deficit of the base engine.
Audi obviously got the message, because for 2002 the base engine benefits from an extra 20 ponies thanks to an increase in displacement to 3.0 liters. Maximum torque is marginally increased to 221 lb-ft, peaking as before at 3,200 rpm. Audi claims that the new car is nearly a second faster to 60 mph than the old 2.8, slipping through the traps in 7.9 seconds when just the front wheels are doing the acceleration deed.
On the road, the A6 still doesn't feel quite as fast as its primary competition, at least when saddled with quattro all-wheel drive and the standard five-speed Tiptronic automanual transmission. Nonetheless, the 3.0-liter is a step in the right direction. The A6 3.0 feels adequate, whereas the previous version was definitely anemic. While trying to accelerate the previous 2.8 version required much downshifting and a flurry of revs to get anything remotely resembling meaningful acceleration, the 3.0 is able to move the A6 without so much drama.
Adding to its power advantage is that in completely redesigning the engine, Audi's engineers cast the new block in aluminum, saving some 44 pounds of unwanted weight. While they were at it, they slipped a balancer shaft into the V6, to better quell vibration caused by its unusual 90-degree V layout. Audi says that increasing the displacement by lengthening the stroke (rather than adding larger pistons) made it crucial to add the balance shaft. And indeed, the new motor is admirably vibration-free, though no 90-degree V6 is ever going to match BMW's inline six for smoothness.
As worthwhile as the new engine is to the A6's performance, it pales in comparison to its new multitronic transmission. Multitronic is one of the new continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) that promise to render the current crop of automatics obsolete. The Audi's tranny uses a set of pulleys and a "belt" (Audi's system actually uses a linked chain) to offer an almost infinite number of ratios, completely eliminating internal gears.
Multitronic's feel has been tailored for easy acceptance by North American drivers without compromising the CVT's advances in efficiency. When accelerating, traditional CVTs immediately increase rpm to a steady point and then increase speed by continuously varying their gear ratios. Because the engine's rpm is held close to its torque peak, a CVT is actually more efficient than a manual transmission. Indeed, Audi says that an A6 3.0 with multitronic is slightly faster to 60 mph than a Euro-spec car equipped with a manual transmission.
The downside is that since the motor is held at a constant rpm, there's less sensation of acceleration, something, says Audi, which has prevented universal acclaim for CVTs amongst focus groups that have tested the cars. Audi gets around the problem by engineering in a few attributes of a traditional automatic. Key is that, unlike a pure CVT, Audi's multitronic system increases engine rpm as speed increases, only there's no sensation of the gears shifting. Another feature engineered with the goal of consumer acceptance is "creep." Unlike traditional automatics, a CVT will not move forward at idle when you release the brake. Because they were adamant about gaining acceptance in our conservative market, Audi's engineers actually built some "creep" into the multitronic CVT so that it would feel more like a normal automatic.
Whatever the compromises made in the name of addressing the conservative tastes of the American consumer, the multitronic transmission is an absolute revelation, indeed, a revolution. For example, an A6 3.0 with multitronic actually accelerates better and gets superior fuel economy in comparison to its manual counterpart. It even feels sportier, responding to matting of the throttle with an almost immediate increase in rpm and instantaneous acceleration. And because a CVT can offer a much wider spread of "gears" than a regular transmission, the multitronic's top ratio is much taller, revving the engine 1,700 rpm at 60 mph compared with the manual version's 2,600 rpm. That's why the multitronic gets better fuel economy than the manual. It also means the multitronic-equipped A6 feels much smoother and is significantly quieter at cruising speeds.
Additionally, the multitronic CVT is superior to the A6's current Tiptronic automanual tranny. Since there are no gears, there are no harsh shifts. It also "kicks down" more quickly for better acceleration. Most of all, it feels "normal," which means it's likely to gain mainstream acceptance. The only bummer is that enthusiast drivers can't choose their own gears, but who needs that when multitronic runs quicker than a true manual gearbox?
In fact, the only downside to the multitronic CVT is that, for the foreseeable future, it's only available on the front-wheel-drive A6 (multitronic will also be available on the upcoming redesigned 2002 A4, but again only with front-wheel drive). Quattro versions of the A6 3.0 will soldier on with the five-speed Tiptronic automanual. In comparison to multitronic, Tiptronic feels crude and slow (it's nearly 1 second slower to 60 mph).
Other changes to the A6 for 2002 include stiffer dampers and additional aluminum suspension components. Despite these modifications, the A6 3.0 doesn't feel quite as composed as a BMW 3 Series at higher speeds. Those looking for better road-holding will find it in the form of the A6 2.7T or 4.2, which offer 17-inch wheels and a lowered sport-tuned suspension. There's also revised steering that gives the A6 3.0's wheel a firmer feel. Audi has also installed ESP (Electronic Stability Program) on all A6s.
Slight modifications have been made to the front fascia and different lighting clusters debut, front and rear. But differences in appearance are slight. Inside, altered color schemes and different leather are available as well as new gauges with aluminum accents. Thicker side windows with better seals reduce wind noise.
Which brings us to the radio.
Not that it has more power. Or even better sound reproduction. Nope, Audi has made an improvement of far greater importance. It has finally rid the center console of the daunting array of buttons that have confused thousands (before and sometimes even after they waded through countless pages of the owner's manual). Now fewer buttons and improved ergonomics make the new radio one of the A6's most significant improvements.
For years, Audi's claim to excellence has, deservedly, been its groundbreaking quattro AWD system. For 2002, there's another advantage to owning an Audi and a good reason to opt for the formerly inferior front-drive A6, other than price. It's called CVT.
Is the 2002 Audi A6 a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2002 Audi A6 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2002 A6 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2002 Audi A6? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2002 Audi A6 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2002 A6 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2002 A6.
Review Bought it at 102000 miles. The body is in excellent condition. Huge trunk. Nice leather. Quiet ride. Great handling. Mileage is great for this class. Big 6 engine allows for awesome speed on the highway. I like the dash- and the the red lights are sweet at night. Acceleration is quick. I love the tiptronic feature-I use it on the highway and fuel mileage gets better. This is my first experience with an Audi and I am impressed. Wipers are quiet. Bose system is loud and booming. Two cigarette lighters- perfect for charging multiple phones/laptop use. I had already expected high maintenance costs (c'mon..it's an Audi, not a Chevy). I replaced the air filter (w/K&N), timing belt and tires.
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What options are available on the 2002 Audi A6?
Available Audi A6 2002 Submodel Types: Sedan, Wagon, Diesel
Available Trims: 2.0T Premium Plus quattro, 3.0T Premium quattro, 3.0T Premium Plus quattro, 3.2 quattro, 2.0 TFSI Premium Plus quattro, 3.0 TFSI Premium Plus quattro, 2.0T Premium quattro, 3.0T Prestige quattro, 4.2 quattro, 2.0T Premium, 2.7T quattro, 2.7T S-Line quattro, 3.0 TFSI Prestige quattro, 3.0T quattro, 2.8 quattro, 3.0 quattro, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.2, 3.2 Avant quattro, 4.2 Prestige quattro, 3.0, 3.2 Premium, TDI Premium Plus quattro
Exterior Colors: Brilliant Black, Moonlight Blue Metallic, Glacier White Metallic, Ibis White, Mythos Black Metallic, Ice Silver Metallic, Phantom Black Pearl Effect, Oolong Gray Metallic, Light Silver Metallic, Quartz Gray Metallic, Aviator Blue Metallic, Florett Silver Metallic, Night Blue Pearl Effect, Oyster Gray Metallic, Tornado Gray Metallic, Havanna Black Metallic, Aventurine Blue Pearl Effect, Arctic White, Dakota Gray Metallic, Daytona Gray Pearl Effect, Garnet Red Pearl Effect, Matador Red Metallic, Condor Gray Metallic, Dakar Beige Metallic, Santorin Blue PL Effect, Atlas Gray Metallic, Brilliant Black Clearcoat, Burgundy Red Pearl Effect, Casablanca White, Cashmere Gray PL Effect, Dolphin Gray Metallic, Ebony PL Effect, Ebony Pearl, Glacier White, Java Brown Metallic, Ming Blue Pearl, Royal Grey Metallic - Audi Exclusive
Interior Colors: Black leather, Nougat Brown leather, Velvet Beige leather, Black premium leather, Atlas Beige leather, Ebony premium leather, Amaretto premium leather, Cardamom Beige leather, Ebony, Light Gray leather, Beige, Flint Gray leather, Atlas Beige premium leather, Titanium Gray leather, Black w/Korso Red Stitching premium leather, Cardamom Beige premium leather, Amaretto/Black leather, Beige premium leather, Havana Brown premium leather, Havanna Brown premium leather, Light Gray premium leather, Amaretto, Black w/Black Stitching premium leather, Nougat Brown premium leather, Platinum, Platinum premium leather, Tungsten Gray
Popular Features: Alarm, Auto Climate Control, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Leather Seats, AWD/4WD, Bluetooth, Tire Pressure Warning, Sunroof/Moonroof, Trip Computer, Heated seats, Post-collision safety system, Pre-collision safety system, Navigation, Upgraded Headlights, Parking sensors, Back-up camera, USB Inputs, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Blind Spot Monitoring, Keyless Entry/Start, Mobile Internet, Upgraded Stereo, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Cooled Seats, Heads up display, Power Liftgate/Trunk, 360-degree camera