2017 Audi A6 Review
Edmunds expert review
Midsize sedan shoppers, including those at the luxury end of the spectrum, are spoiled for choice. This class of car, with its four doors, large trunks, and purpose-built design for carrying families, friends and clients, is simply one of the auto industry's most ruthlessly competitive.
Impressive then that the 2017 Audi A6 manages to remain competitive even though it hasn't had a full redesign since 2012. The A6's appeal lies in its blend of efficient power, ride refinement, modern interior design, and classic styling. The sedan's four- and six-cylinder engines deliver seamless thrust at almost any speed while the taut suspension keeps the car glued to the road and filters out most imperfections. It's no surprise that the A6 earns our Edmunds "A" rating for overall excellence.
For 2017, the A6 largely carries over the successful formula of last year's model. There are subtle new styling treatments, expanded wheel choices, and upgraded smartphone and entertainment interfaces. More notable is the new 3.0T Competition trim level, offering a more powerful engine, sharper handling, and unique leather upholstery.
But even though it's one of our favorites in this class, the A6 isn't for everyone. Some shoppers may find its technology a little too complicated. The BMW 5 Series is a more restrained choice, not as hip or sporty, but with power, features and build quality that stack up with the Audi. More elegant still is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, with a redesigned look and features for 2017 and plenty of sport and aggression when called upon.
The Cadillac CTS, with its own distinct style and sports car handling, is Detroit's answer to the A6, while the Lexus GS 350 (and hybrid GS 450h) also offers impressive dynamics and a high-standard of luxury appointment.
Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Audi A6 includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags, rearview and top-view cameras, front and rear parking sensors, lane keeping assist, a blind-spot warning system and a night-vision camera system are optional.
The standard Audi Pre Sense system can sense when a collision is imminent and warn the driver, tension the seatbelts and close the windows, while Pre Sense Rear flashes the brake lights as a warning to rearward traffic. The optional Pre Sense Plus system (available via the Driver Assistance package) will also fully tighten the seatbelts and automatically apply the brakes full force to avoid a forward collision or mitigate crash damage if one is unavoidable.
In Edmunds brake testing, an A6 3.0T with the Sport package's summer performance tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 111 feet, while an A6 TDI Sport with summer tires did it in 114 feet. These are average distances among comparably equipped midsize luxury sedans. Expect longer distances from A6s with all-season tires.
In government crash tests, the A6 received five out of five stars overall, with five stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side-impact protection. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the A6 its highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side impact and roof-strength tests, while the A6's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Audi A6 is a midsize luxury sedan available in five trim levels: 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Prestige, and 3.0T Competition Prestige. The 2.0T and 3.0T denote the engine fitted (a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, respectively). The high-performance S6 variant is reviewed separately.
Of note, Audi has discontinued sales of its TDI diesel engine-equipped models pending review of its emissions certification.
Standard equipment for the 2.0T Premium includes 18-inch wheels, Audi Drive Select (providing adjustable modes for steering, gas pedal and transmission response), automatic xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, a sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats (includes driver four-way lumbar adjustments), driver memory settings, leather upholstery, Bluetooth phone connectivity, Audi's MMI electronics interface, a 6.5-inch display screen and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and Audi's proprietary music interface with an iPhone Lightning adapter cable. Also standard is Audi's PreSense Basic safety system.
The 2.0T Premium Plus adds a blind-spot monitoring system, Pre Sense Rear, power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, four-zone climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, an 8-inch display screen, a voice-activated navigation system, Bluetooth audio connectivity, a Bose surround sound audio system, an upgraded version of MMI with an enhanced controller, USB connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Audi Connect (featuring Google Earth integration, Google-powered search functions, smartphone app integration and AT&T-based 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability).
The 3.0T Premium Plus is equipped similarly to the 2.0T Premium Plus but adds a six-cylinder engine, chrome exterior accents (window frames, exhaust outlet) and a fuel-saving engine stop-start system.
Going with the 3.0T Prestige gets you adaptive LED headlights, ambient LED cabin lighting, power trunk opening and closing, a head-up display, ventilated front seats with front passenger seat power lumbar support, a power rear sunshade and manual rear side window sunshades.
New for 2017 is the 3.0T Competition Prestige trim, which features 20-inch titanium-finish wheels, a sport suspension, a high-performance rear differential, sport seats, upgraded leather upholstery, a flat-bottom steering wheel, black cloth headliner, and various styling flourishes like high-gloss black trim pieces, red brake calipers, and brushed metal inlays.
Optional packages, depending on trim, include the the Cold Weather package (heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel), the Sport package (19-inch wheels and a sport-tuned suspension), the Driver Assistance package (adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlight control, a top-view camera system with front and rear corner views, lane keeping assist and Pre Sense Plus collision mitigation with automatic braking), the Comfort Seating package (individually contoured and ventilated front seats with passenger memory settings and massage function) and the Black Optic package (available with 19-inch, titanium-finished wheels, or 20-inch black-polished wheels with summer tires).
Other notable options include rear side airbags and three items limited to the 3.0T Prestige: a night-vision camera system with pedestrian detection, ventilated multicontour front seats with driver and passenger memory settings, massage function, and upgraded leather upholstery, and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The 2017 Audi A6 2.0T is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a seven-speed automated manual transmission are standard, but you're more likely to find most A6s fitted with "Quattro" all-wheel drive which comes with an eight-speed conventional automatic. The EPA says you can expect 28 mpg combined (24 mpg city/35 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive and 26 mpg combined (22 mpg city/32 mpg highway) with all-wheel drive.
The Audi A6 3.0T gets a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 333 hp (340 hp in the Competition model) and 325 lb-ft of torque. The eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are standard, as is automatic engine stop-start technology. EPA fuel economy estimates come in at 24 mpg combined (20 mpg city/30 mpg highway). In Edmunds.com testing, a 2016 A6 3.0T sprinted from zero to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, a quick time for a car in this class.
Of note, Audi has discontinued sales of its TDI diesel engine-equipped models until it can sort out certain emissions issues.
The 2017 Audi A6 is a fun car to drive, especially considering its size and heft. Not many midsize luxury sedans forge such a gratifying connection with the driver. One demerit is the car's overly light and numb steering feel under normal circumstances, but we've found that the effort level in the Sport mode is much more to our liking.
The 2.0T and 3.0T provide spirited acceleration in almost any driving situation and both transmissions deliver quick and unobtrusive shifts. Although the A6 has a composed ride that's never harsh, it's definitely firm, and there are sometimes more jolts than we'd like on rough pavement. For this reason, we recommend skipping the Sport package with its stiffer suspension tuning. We haven't driven the new Competition model yet, but we'd expect the same to hold true; this one is best left for those who like to drive on twisty roads.
The 2017 Audi A6 has one of the best cabins in its class, with an attractive dash layout, excellent materials quality and solid fit and finish. The infotainment system controls a dizzying array of functions, utilizing a dash-mounted pop-up screen and a knob and buttons on the center console. The system boasts logical menus and crisp graphics, and the "MMI navigation plus" upgrade (standard on all except the base 2.0T Premium) includes USB integration and a touchpad that can recognize fingertip scrawls. It's sophisticated, but we still prefer BMW's iDrive or Mercedes' COMAND for overall ease of use.
The upgraded MMI system can also serve as a 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices, and adds Google Earth data to the navigation system while providing a simplified Google search for POIs. The Google Earth feature is essentially form over function, however, as it can make the map more difficult to comprehend at a glance.
The A6's front seats are supportive and comfortable, remaining so even on long trips. The spacious backseat offers more real-world legroom than most rivals. The A6's 14.1-cubic-foot trunk is slightly below average for the segment, but we've found it generous in real-world testing, and the rear seatbacks fold and offer a pass-through when more space is needed.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.