What is it?
The Audi A6 is one of the more revered models in the Audi range, having descended from the Audi 100 saloon that helped thrust the German carmaker into the modern era.
The large executive sedan (Audi calls it a Sportback) has long been one of the brand’s technological flagships with each generation introducing technology that’s new to Audi if not the motoring world. The new-generation A6 manages to continue that tradition and, like its predecessors, is spacious, comfortable and a delight to drive.
The new A6 initially arrived Down Under in July with the ballsy 55 TSFI quattro S Line that retails for $116,000. The range has now grown to three with the new entry-level 45 TFSI quattro ($95,500) and the up-specced 45 TFSI quattro S Line ($105,200) that we’re testing here.
The trio will be joined by the more affordable front-wheel drive and lesser-powered A6 40 TFSI during the second half of 2020, along with high-performance S6 and RS6 Avante (wagon) versions.
What’s it like to live with?
The A6 is a large and spacious sedan, so much so it’s hard to believe there are two bigger passenger cars in the Audi range. It will carry four adults in comfort over long distances, with ample space to fit a third person if needed, and has a cavernous 530-litre boot space.
The new model adopts the same interior design as its A7 and A8 big sisters and the Q8 large SUV, featuring sharp horizontal lines, elegant bright points and a clutter-free dashboard featuring two touch screens and Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster.
It’s a soothing aesthetic backed up by comfortable leather-appointed seats and the virtual elimination of outside noise when you close the door.
The two touchscreens rising up from the centre console control most functions with haptic touch controls that feel like you’re pushing a button. You can even use your finger to scrawl a command into the bottom screen, like an address for the satellite navigation, or make a pinching motion to sync the driver and passenger climate control settings.
It all takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do you’ll find it very intuitive and useful.
As mentioned above, the A6 often brings Audi’s latest technology to the fore and the 2020 model is no different, bringing Audi Connect Plus infotainment that brings some clever features. One of these is the ability to continue listening to a digital radio station when you lose signal thanks to an embedded 5G signal that instantly links to that station's web stream.
Other features include wireless Apple CarPlay that, unlike BMW’s system, does not require a paid subscription, and Google Earth and Google Street View images incorporated in the navigation displays to provide a better idea of your surroundings.
These are just part of the extensive standard features list that brings about $13,000 worth of extra kit over the previous model’s 2.0 TFSI quattro, but a $3000 lower retail price. These include heated front seats, wireless phone charging, loose wheel detection, handy illuminated seat belt buckles, LED headlights, and 19-inch alloy wheels
All three variants also come with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, front and rear parking sensors, lane assist, rear cross-traffic alert, 360-degree parking camera and front- and rear-cross traffic alert with auto braking.
The A6 TFSI S Line we drove costs an additional $9700 over the entry-level retail price, which brings adaptive dampers ($4800) that further improves ride comfort and dynamic handling, plus Valcona leather upholstery, bolstered sports front seats, flat-bottomed leather sports steering wheel, head-up display, illuminated door sills and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The A6 45 TFSI’s 2.0-litre turbocharged engine’s official combined fuel consumption rating is 7.2L/100km which is a little thirsty considering the bigger 3.0-litre 55 TFSI drinks the same amount.
The Audi A6 is covered by a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty that’s still the standard for premium European cars.
What’s it like to drive?
The A6 is powered by a 180kW/370Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine mated to an eight-speed ‘S tronic’ dual-clutch auto that drives all four wheels more fluidly than it does with the bigger engine.
This powertrain naturally doesn’t produce as much vim as the 55 TFSI’s 250 kW/500Nm 3.0-litre V6, however its 6.0-second 0-100km acceleration is still pretty quick and you won’t be wanting for more power when you get there.
Like the bigger engine it features mild-hybrid technology (MHEV), that utilises 48-and 12-volt systems respectively. The 48-volt system functions as the car’s main electrical system and contributes up to 14kW to the engine's peak power.
Driving though the undulating roads of South Australia’s McLaren Vale felt effortless in the A6. The all-wheel-drive grip, well-weighted steering and low centre of gravity makes it feel planted to the road.
The standard suspension provides a good balance between ride comfort and handling thanks to the car’s broad footprint and low centre of gravity, but there is a bit of lean through bends. The adaptive suspension that comes with the S Line pack significantly reduces lateral movement, thanks to a dynamic drive mode that stiffens the dampers as well as the steering.
Selecting comfort mode offers a well-settled smooth ride, even on the bigger 20-inch rims, which makes for a graceful, even relaxing, driving experience.
Is it worth it?
It’s not often the word ‘value’ is used in the sell for luxury cars, but it's foremost in Audi’s sales pitch for the all-new A6. And it’s fair to say it has certainly succeeded in providing a lot of premium German car for under $100,000 without any apparent compromises.
That said, you could do worse than spend another $9700 on the A6 45 TFSI S Line, with the adaptive dampers and all the other features it brings combing to make a very good car a great one.
PROS: Serene interior, all-round driveability looks great
CONS: Initially complex multi-media, relatively thirsty 2.0-litre engine