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2016 Audi A6 REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/3/2017

Con: Sporty performance character makes the ride too firm and bumpy for some drivers, although skipping some of the sportier add-ons alleviates this; some tech and navigation features can be a little too clever, to the point of distraction.

Interior: The 2016 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 familiar MMI 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 WiFi hotspot for up to eight devices, and it 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.

An upgraded MMI interface is one of the upgrades to the 2016 Audi A6.

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.

Body: The 2016 Audi A6 is a midsize luxury sedan available in six trim levels: 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Prestige, TDI Premium Plus and TDI Prestige. The 2.0T, 3.0T and TDI designations denote the engine fitted (a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6, respectively). The high-performance S6 variant is reviewed separately.

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, 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 digital music interface. Also standard is Audi's Pre-Sense Basic safety system.

The 2.0T Premium Plus adds front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a blind spot monitoring system, Pre-Sense Rear, power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, an 8-inch display screen, a voice-activated navigation system, Bluetooth audio connectivity, an upgraded version of MMI with an enhanced controller, USB connectivity and Audi Connect (featuring Google Earth integration, Google-powered search functions, smartphone app integration and AT&T-based 4G LTE WiFi hotspot capability).

The 3.0T Premium Plus is equipped similarly to the 2.0T Premium Plus but adds chrome exterior accents (window frames, exhaust outlet), a fuel-saving engine stop-start system and a power-adjustable steering wheel.

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, power lumbar support for the front passenger seat, a 14-speaker Bose audio system and the Warm Weather package (including four-zone climate control, a power rear sunshade and manual rear side window sunshades).

The TDI Premium Plus is equipped similarly to the 3.0T Premium Plus, while the TDI Prestige has the same equipment as the 3.0T Prestige.

Optional packages, depending on trim, include the Warm Weather package (see above), the Cold Weather package (heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel), the Sport package (19- or 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and a three-spoke sport steering wheel with shift paddles), 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) and the Black Optic package (high-gloss black trim and unique 20-inch wheels with summer tires).

Some of the higher trims' standard features are optional on lower trims, such as the Prestige's Bose audio system and LED headlights. Other notable options include rear side airbags and three items that are limited to the Prestige: a night-vision camera system with pedestrian detection, multicontour front seats and upgraded rear seats, and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Also available by special order through the "Audi Exclusive" program is a large array of custom exterior colors and finishes as well as interior colors and materials. Note that these special orders can add two months or more to the normal post-ordering delivery time.

Driving: The 2016 Audi A6 is a fun car to drive, especially considering its size and heft. It changes directions eagerly, with plenty of grip from all four corners. Not many midsize luxury sedans forge such a gratifying connection with the driver. One demerit is overly light and numb steering under normal circumstances, but we've found that the effort level tends to firm up as your enthusiasm increases so it's still relatively sporty.

The 2.0T and 3.0T provide spirited acceleration as well as quick and unobtrusive shifts from either the eight-speed automatic or new automated manual in the front-drive 2.0T. Cost no object, the TDI is the pick of the litter, as it provides a mountain of torque and by far the best fuel economy.

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, especially if you're eyeing the 20-inch wheels. The regular A6 handles just fine, and it rides noticeably better and more quietly with the standard 18-inch wheels and tires.

What’s New: For 2016, the Audi A6 gets slightly refreshed styling in the front and rear as well as more powerful engine choices. Although they were already respectable performers, the four- and six-cylinder gasoline engines boast considerable increases in output. The front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder A6 also gets a new automated manual transmission (S tronic) that replaces the previous continuously variable transmission (CVT). Inside, Audi has updated the infotainment system with a faster processor, new 3D animated graphics, USB connectivity (except on the base 2.0T Premium) and 4G LTE connectivity for the in-car WiFi functionality (previously 3G).

The 2016 Audi A6 2.0T is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 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 encounter the "Quattro" all-wheel-drive version, which comes with an eight-speed conventional automatic. The EPA says you can expect 28 mpg combined (24 city/35 highway) with front-wheel drive and 26 mpg combined (22/32) with all-wheel drive.

Audi offers the A6 with one of three available engines. The diesel-fueled TDI is our favorite

The Audi A6 3.0T gets a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 333 hp 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 city/30 highway). In Edmunds.com testing, a 2016 A6 3.0T sprinted from zero to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds.

The A6 TDI has a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 that cranks out 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. It is also teamed up with the eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive. At our test track, the A6 TDI hit 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds. Yet fuel economy is a stellar 29 mpg combined (24/38), ranking right up there with frugal compact sedans. In an Edmunds test covering more than 400 miles with varying driving conditions, we averaged 27.8 mpg.

Safety: Standard safety equipment on the 2016 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 warn the driver, tension the seatbelts and close the windows if a potential collision is detected, while Pre-Sense Rear flashes the brake lights as a warning to rearward traffic if you're in danger of being rear-ended. The optional Pre-Sense Plus system (available via the Driver Assistance package) can do all that, plus fully tighten the seatbelts and automatically apply the brakes full force to avoid a seemingly impending 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 2016 Audi 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.

Pro: Roomy interior finished in high-quality materials and trim; powerful engines that also achieve good fuel economy; reflexes like an athlete; top crash-test scores.

Edmunds Say: With some of the sharpest lines in the business, the 2016 Audi A6 could get by on looks alone. But dig deeper and you'll find a midsize luxury sedan that excels at almost everything. The interior feels like an upscale hotel lounge, the entertainment and safety tech is cutting-edge and it's a blast to drive hard when the road gets tight and winding. The A6 is among the best in the class. Read on to see why.

Introduction: If the 2016 Audi A6 were a baseball player, it would be a player in the mold of a young Derek Jeter, the sort of celebrity athlete who does everything except sell the hot dogs and beer to adoring fans. Indeed, with its finely crafted cabin, roomy accommodations, athletic handling and strong yet fuel-efficient engine lineup, this Audi treats its occupants very well, and like Jeter, looks pretty dang sharp while doing so.

The 2016 Audi A6 is one of our top recommended midsize luxury sedans.

An overall sense of refinement is perhaps the 2016 Audi A6's most notable trait. Underway, the engines are smooth and provide performance that seems stronger than even their solid output numbers would suggest. The diesel-fueled TDI version in particular strikes us as one of the best "have your cake and eat it, too" cars in the automotive universe given its ability to propel this substantial luxury sedan to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds while still earning an EPA combined fuel economy estimate of 29 mpg. Little wonder that the A6 earned an Edmunds "A" rating. But regardless of what's under the hood, the Audi A6 impresses with its upscale ambience, high-tech features and agile handling.

Although the 2016 Audi A6 is obviously one of our favorites in this segment, there is no shortage of other strong choices. The BMW 5 Series isn't as sporty as the A6, but its engines, features and build quality stack up very well. Much the same can be said of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, though its available diesel engine is not as powerful as those offered by Audi and BMW. The distinctive style and sports-car handling of the Cadillac CTS make it a worthy alternative to the Germans, while the Lexus GS 350 and the hybrid-powered Lexus GS 450h offer impressive driving dynamics and interior decor of their own. For a midsize luxury sedan that's good at everything, though, it's hard to beat the 2016 Audi A6.

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