5 0 5
Plus & Minus
Effortless performance; luxurious cabin; ride quality with air suspension
Options can be expensive; BMW 5 Series is slightly more dynamic
The Wheels Verdict: It’s been a long time coming, but the wait was worth it. As a large luxury sedan, the A6 55TFSI is exemplary. And in comparison to its six-cylinder German rivals, the A6 is a ‘bargain’. Effortless, luxurious and potent is what a premium sedan should be – and the 55TFSI ticks all of those boxes and more.
WHAT IS IT?
The A6 55TFSI is the current flagship of the A6 range. It’s bigger than an A4, but smaller than an A8. It’s priced from $116,000 which makes it far cheaper than comparative rivals.
WHY WE'RE TESTING IT
After more than a year of waiting (we first drove the A6 in Europe in 2018), one of Audi’s prominent Q cars is here. We’ve driven the four-cylinder turbo 45TFSI down under and came away impressed, so now it’s time to get behind the wheel of the range-topping V6 turbo petrol.
2020 AUDI A6 55TFSI REVIEW
The air is thick with acrid smoke, yet the sun still manages to cut through to the scorched earth. It’s oppressively hot, with the futuristic Audi virtual cockpit revealing the temperature has escalated to 44 degrees. Traversing a section of the Hume Highway with myriad Christmas travellers in country Victoria, I’m hundreds of kilometres away from any fire’s epicentre, but the threat still feels all too real.
Without the visual cues rolling through the windscreen like a newsreel I’d be none the wiser to the horror conditions outside from within the A6 55 TFSI’s opulence. With the four-zone climate control automatically keeping the interior cool, the Bang & Olufsen sounds system providing an orchestral delight and the air suspension wafting over the baking-hot tarmac, it’s easy to feel guilty. The A6’s cabin has become a veritable cocoon away from the immediate environmental disaster.
Sinking into the plush Rotor Grey leather driver’s pew at 110km/h, with a low-slung seating position, it’s not hard to appreciate the design language Audi is deploying throughout its range. The proportions seem to fit the large sedan well and the sleek, minimalist sense of style is modern chic.
With time on my side for familiarity, the almost solely touchscreen-based infotainment and HVAC setup begins to make more sense, too. The former is displayed on a 10.1-inch display and features Audi’s latest Connect Plus systems (flush with Google Earth sat-nav) as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Audio – both making long-distance travel easier. The optional four-zone climate control ($2500 and includes rear-seat heating) keeps the cabin cool, juxtaposing the fury outside the tinted glass. The panoramic glass sunroof remains closed.
The high level of sound deadening and minimal NVH creates a serene ambience. Setting the radar-guided cruise control (blind-sport and lane-departure warning are also present) and relaxing is all too easy. The car, too, seems to be cruising, with the 3.0-litre V6 turbo gliding along using as little as 6.6L/100km thanks to the assistance of the 48v mild-hybrid system aiding consumption. There’s ample room front-to-rear (head and legroom) and the boot is positively commodious at 530 litres.
For a car weighing 1760kg it’s no slouch, either. With 250kW and 500Nm on tap, overtaking on single-lane carriageways is calm and effective. With the immense grip gained from the all-wheel-drive system and Pirelli P Zero rubber, the 55TFSI rockets off the line and will reach 100km/h in a claimed 5.1 seconds. On the run, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is also quick-shifting and intuitive, slipping into the right ratio for just about every occasion.
Dusk descends by the time I reach my destination just over the border into NSW. The sunburnt country finally gains a slight reprieve as the sun falls, triggering the excellent Matrix LED headlights into life. The way in which certain diodes, and resulting light beams, can be blanked out as to not dazzle on-coming traffic is pure genius. The vision they afford at night is unbelievable, and they are potentially life-saving with the amount of activity from the dehydrated wildlife. The A6 55TFSI is also brimming with active and passive safety tech like AEB, so should something go wrong, you’re in a safe space.
Road presence isn’t lacking with the A6 – especially with the oversized alloy wheels. And this is made even more apparent in a country town. The LED lights, both front and back, put on a show every time you lock and unlock the car, while the overall large four-door-sedan silhouette is handsome.
The journey back to heavy population includes a detour off the main highway. Twisty roads beckon. Despite the chassis’ unitary steel and aluminium construction, the A6 is still a big and relatively heavy car. And without the optional rear-wheel steering, the 55TFSI lacks mid-corner turn when the apexes become tight.
However, in all other situations the A6 feels planted with abundant surefooted traction. On more flowing roads, the four-ringed four-door can cover ground at an alarming rate with a surprising level of dexterity. The superb, wafting air suspension ($2000 option) returns impeccable ride quality at speed in Comfort mode, while Dynamic (the suspension lowers) won’t rattle your fillings out.
Returning to the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s often congested thoroughfares, a final test faces the seemingly infallible A6 – city streets. The Victorian capital throws up tram lines and myriad potholes. The 21-inch 10-Y spoke alloys and supermodel thin rubber struggle to quell the aftershock of big hits, even with the cosseting air suspension. It isn’t an absolute blight on the A6’s copybook, you’re just aware that you’ve returned to the well-used tarmac of a busy CBD.
Reversing into my garage is a reminder of just how big the A6 is. The trip computer shows some 30 hours of driving time in eight days, yet it hasn’t been remotely taxing despite Australia’s harsh climate throwing everything at it bar a blizzard. This is the A6 55TFSI’s sweet spot. Audi has created a haven away from the elements, one packed with leading-edge tech, pleasing luxury and rewarding performance, for a price its rivals can’t match.
AUDI A6 55TFSI PRICE AND SPECS
Model: Audi A6 55TFSI
Engine: 2995cc V6, dohc, 24v, turbo
Power: 250kW @ 5000-6400rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 1370-4500rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
0-100km/h: 5.1 seconds
On sale: Now