The new Audi A6 Saloon is a premium executive car that is luxurious, cheap to run, and which continues to be a front-runner in exec saloon sector.
Often, it’s hard to settle on an executive saloon. Out of the BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes E-Class and this A6, buyers usually base their final choice on small differences. Sometimes, though, it’s allegiance to a particular brand that sways us one way or another.
On The Road
The A6 is not the most inspiring saloon to drive. However, it is quick and capable on the motorway thanks to a suspension setup that deals with some of our poorer road surfaces with ease, as well as light steering. Not all models are available with the brand’s Quattro four-wheel-drive system, but most are. This not only ensures more grip, but it also turns the car into a very competent towing machine.
Audi’s are renowned for their firm suspension setups, so to get as much comfort as possible out of this saloon you’ll need to opt for the Dynamic suspension and combine it with the 17” alloys. If you decide to go for the sporty suspension and the larger wheels, you’ll experience a typically bumpy ride from an Audi.
There are no petrol engines in the range, so your choice is limited to a handful of diesels. The base-level 2.0-litre TDI Ultra delivers up to 187bhp, and offers a good blend of performance and efficiency. It’s actually cheaper to run if you mate it to the S tronic automatic transmission, as opposed to the manual, and this ‘box is also smoother and more refined. The engine can get you from rest to 62mph in 8.2 seconds.
There are also a pair of 3.0-litre TDI diesel units on offer, which comes in either 215 or 268bhp guise. Both get the brand’s Quattro four-wheel-drive setup, and both promise solid performance. A twin-turbo BiTDI diesel is another option, and this power plant delivers up to 316bhp and can rocket you from a standstill to 62mph in just 5.0 seconds.
The high-performance S and RS models round the range off, with the latter covering the 0-62mp dash in 3.9 seconds.
Interior, Design & Build
It’s not all that exciting to look at from the outside, but it’s still as elegant as ever. Stylish touches and shape lines remind you that this is a premium machine, though some of you might be wishing for a tad more imagination.
It’s easy for you to get comfortable inside the A6 Saloon, thanks to a steering wheel and driver’s seat that are both fully adjustable. All models benefit from rear and front parking sensors, too.
The interior is brilliant, with our only criticism being an MMI scroll wheel which will take some getting used to. It’s not as simple as it would seem at first glance.
Each model is well protected from exterior noises, and the Dynamic suspension setting ensures comfort. The interior, on the whole, is very well built, and the brand spared no expenses when it came to kitting it out in soft-touch plastics and top quality surfaces. The controls are all easy to spot and use.
Interior space is good, and there should be enough room for everyone. Big windows create an airier atmosphere, while rear leg and shoulder room is better than it was last time. There are lots of storage spaces dotted around the cabin, including a good-sized glovebox, door bins and cup holders, while the boot measures 530-litres. You can fold the rear seats to extend the luggage space to just shy of 1,000-litres.
Standard equipment is good across the range, with entry level models benefiting from bright xenon headlamps, heated front seats, alloys, and a powerful stereo. The S line adds 18” alloys, a three-spoke steering wheel and sports suspension, while the SE Executive trim throws in a de-chromed exterior and 20” alloys.
The optional extras list is extensive and expensive, but our picks include a panoramic sunroof for £1,250 and a top quality Bang and Olufsen stereo for a further £6,300.
Costs Of The Audi A6 Saloon
Prices for the new car start out from £33,000 and rise to £57,200. If you’re thinking of leasing, you can pick up a deal from as little as £250 + VAT per month. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, this large saloon fares very well. The 2.0-litre Ultra diesel engine is our top pick, as it offers the best blend of performance and economy. It can achieve fuel economy returns of 67.3mpg. However, to get these figures you’ll need to specify the right things, such as small wheels.
The 3.0-litre diesel offers more power and pace, but the 316bhp variant knocks fuel economy returns down to 47.1mpg.
Insurance groups are TBC, but we expect them to be the same as last time, which means the cheapest A6 will occupy group 27 and the most expensive will sit in 43.
Pros and Cons Of The Audi A6 Saloon
Very Cheap To Run
As well as being a good choice for individual buyers, the saloon is also a solid choice for company’s on the lookout for a new fleet as it offers a super low BiK rate – just 19%.
The interior is class-leading and is only closely rivalled by another Audi, the A7. A lot of its inspiration was taken from the pricier A8, and you get all kinds of upmarket instruments, fully adjustable seat and wheel, and the brand’s excellent MMI infotainment system.
Very Competent Diesel
There are no petrol engines in the range, but you don’t need them. The ones here benefit from the car’s new use of lightweight materials to power you effortlessly through corners with agility and confidence.
Bland To Look At
It’s elegant, but it’s just a bit too uninspiring. Audi has either purposely kept things conservative, or they just didn’t have the imagination to make a car that stands out from the range-topping A8.
Not Massively Fun To Drive
The exterior looks already suggest that this car isn’t going to be hugely thrilling to drive, and one go behind the wheel confirms it.
Audi A6 Saloon vs BMW 5 Series Saloon vs Mercedes E-Class Saloon
Let’s see how the car measures up against its rivals in the comparisons section of our Audi A6 Saloon review.
Audi A6 Saloon vs BMW 5 Series Saloon
The BMW 5 Series Saloon has a fantastic reputation. But does the new one keep that reputation in place?
The BMW is better than the A6 Saloon when it comes to handling, which is very well balanced. The steering is also positive and well-weighted, and it’s better suited to the manual ‘box, which the Audi struggles somewhat with. In fact, this 5 Series is the best handler in the class, and once you give it a test drive you’ll soon believe they hype.
The car is also more comfortable than last time around, yet retains its sharp handling.
The diesel, meanwhile, suffers from morning voice when you first fire them up, but once you’re in the swing of things they soon liven up. The 535d is the smart choice if you want to combine speed with decent fuel economy, and it sounds almost like a petrol engine.
Speaking of economy, the BMW 5 Series does rather well. The 520d and the 518d are both capable of achieving fuel economy returns of 65.7mpg while emitting just 114g/km of CO2, but whether you get these numbers or not will depend on how you specify the car. The 520d has a BiK rate of 22%. The BMW, though, is more expensive to insure than the Audi.
BMW has made a few mistakes in the past when putting together cabins, but they’ve used all of their experience to put together a very plush interior here. It looks excellent and benefits from the cutting-edge tech that is really user-friendly. Build quality is what you’d expect from a premium car, but the A6 can boast even better materials.
The A6 is also a bit more practical. While the 5 Series is not impractical by any stretch of the imagination – enough room for five adults, reasonable amount of storage space and a 520-litre boot – Audi’s rear seats split 60:40 as standard, but to get this in the BMW you have to pay an extra £400. Moreover, the 5 Series Saloon has a small boot lid.
Audi – £33,000 – £57,300
BMW – £31,000 – £58,000
Audi A6 Saloon vs Mercedes E-Class Saloon
The new Mercedes E-Class Saloon is bursting with quality, space and comfort. It’s also efficient and boasts plenty of advanced tech.
Mercedes have added numerous driving modes to the E-Class Saloon in a bid to make it more entertaining to drive, but even in Sport+ mode it just can’t match the 5 Series when it comes to out-and-out driving fun. The steering always feels lifeless and inert, making the Sport+ mode largely redundant.
But although the steering lacks feel, but is at least well-weighted.
Like the A6, the E-Class doesn’t offer us any petrol engines, but there is a hybrid model available. This E350e variant can get you from rest to 62mph in 6.2 seconds and delivers up to 282bhp.
We like the new 2.0-litre 191bhp diesel unit. It’s taken the place of a gruff 2.1-litre diesel unit, and covers the 0-62mph dash in 7.3 seconds. It’s paired with a very fluid nine-speed automatic ‘box, which keeps things quiet and serene – just what you want from a car such as this.
The E350d is even quicker. Powered by a V6 3.0-litre 254bhp engine, it can rocket you from rest to 62mph in 5.9 seconds before maxing out at 155mph.
Of course, fuel economy numbers matter, too, and the good news is that the new Mercedes E-Class Saloon is super reasonable to run. The 2.0-litre 191bhp diesel is the cheapest in the range, and can return 72.4mpg, which makes it significantly cheaper than the most frugal engine in the A6’s range. The E350d costs a whopping £9,000 more, and averages returns of 54.3mpg. The hybrid, meanwhile, is good for 134.5mpg.
The interior cannot match the class-leading one found in the Audi A6, but it’s still very good. The sheer quality of its design is hard for any other rival to beat, while the fit and finish exceeds all standards previously set by the brand.
But what we like best is how contemporary the interior feels. While rivals such as the Jaguar XF and even the Audi A6 look great, they’re very traditional. The E-Class’ cabin, by contrast, is setting new trends. The flowing dash comes with a quarter of central air vents, while a dual 12.3” widescreen display system is as hi-tech as they come.
The E-Class scores well on practicality. Rear seat passengers get plenty of room, the wealth of storage areas includes a huge glovebox, access to the rear is easy thanks to wide opening doors, and the 540-litre boot is ideally shaped. It comes with a big tailgate, although a small lip will make loading larger items awkward.
Mercedes – £34,500 – £59,000
Verdict Of Our Audi A6 Saloon Review
A now-firmly established car in the exec saloon sector, the A6 is well-appointed, smart, and boasts a strong engine line-up under its bonnet.
Its looks are more elegant than exciting, and the BMW is more fun to drive. But in terms of value for money, comfort and practicality, the Audi A6 Saloon is finally a proper alternative to its two German rivals.
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