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In-depth reviews

Audi A6 review

The Audi A6 blends sleek styling with cutting-edge tech and unimpeachable build quality

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£39,140 to £77,240
  • Better to drive than ever
  • Top class interior build
  • Elegant styling
  • Touchscreens can irritate
  • 50 TDI feels slightly heavy
  • Steering lacks feedback

The Audi A6 offers a masterclass in the art of the executive saloon. Its elegant, sophisticated styling carries just the right amount of gravitas without being austere, while impeccable motorway manners will ensure even those covering serious miles can do so in the utmost comfort. 

There’s more space than ever inside, while the trio of infotainment displays provide a futuristic environment. The absence of a rotary controller for those screens takes some getting used to, but they’re emblematic of the A6’s hi-tech nature, as are the state-of-the-art driver assistance systems. 

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Audi offers the A6 with two diesel engines, with a V6 petrol following later, and all feature a mild-hybrid setup that helps improve economy and optimise power delivery. And while previous generations of A6 have underwhelmed from behind the wheel, the latest model is impressively sharp to drive - making it a closer rival to the BMW 5 Series than ever before.

The new Audi A6 arrived in 2018 and is currently available in saloon and Avant estate guises. The range is bolstered by a toughened-up Allroad Avant and go-faster S6 and RS6 versions, with the former limited to diesel power and the latter available only as an Avant estate. As usual, the standard A6 comes in Sport, S line, Vorsprung and Black Edition trims, and all offer the kind of hi-tech luxury that executive car buyers are accustomed to when upgrading to a new model.

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We're used to the Audi A6 challenging its German rivals, the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, for class honours, but these days it's not just these two that the A6 has to contend with. The Jaguar XF is an alternative choice, as is the Volvo S90 and the Maserati Ghibli. Another car worth considering is the Lexus ES, which offers petrol-electric drive across the board.

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• Best executive cars on sale

That's something the new A6 also offers, but not quite in the same vein. All cars get a 48-volt electrical system that delivers 'mild hybrid' tech that allows coasting at speed to help boost fuel economy, and also offers a power boost when getting off the line. A plug-in hybrid 55 TFSI e version will arrive in due course with 362bhp, aimed squarely at plug-in rivals from BMW, Volvo and Mercedes.

Something else that boosts fuel economy is the A6's slippery shape. The traditional three-box design has evolved to incorporate styling cues from the larger A8 limo, but the A6 is still its own distinct design, and can't be easily confused with its executive class rivals.

The standard range features two TDI diesels and two TFSI petrol engines. These are badged 40 TDI, 50 TDI, 45 TFSI and 55 TFSI respectively under Audi's latest nomenclature. The 50 TDI is a 282bhp V6 and the 40 TDI is a 204bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder, while petrol engines are a four-cylinder with 242bhp and a 3.0-litre V6 with 335bhp. All engines come with an automatic gearbox: the 50 TDI gets a conventional eight-speed Tiptronic torque converter, while the 40 TDI, 45 TFSI and 55 TFSI come with Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic unit. Audi also offers four suspension options, including plush air suspension as found on the larger Audi A8, while quattro four-wheel drive is standard with the 50 TDI diesel and both perols, but optional on the 40 TDI.

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In the cabin, there's even more inspiration from the A8, with a plush interior packed with hi-tech treats. There's the latest version of Audi's MMI interface that controls all the cabin functions. This comprises a pair of touchscreens with haptic feedback, which means they mimic physical buttons by clicking and vibrating when a function is pressed.

There's a raft of driving aids that put the A6 at the cutting edge of assisted driving technology, too. Add all the safety options available, and you'll get five radar sensors, five cameras, twelve ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner. These combine to equip the A6 with adaptive cruise control, active lane assistance and self-parking, while an advanced city braking system is designed to scans for obstacles crossing the car’s path in urban environments.

Interior space is greater than you'll find in the past A6. In addition, a stiffer bodyshell, extra sound deadening and a sharper driving experience mean the A6 is still a strong contender in the class. It's a flawless motorway companion, delivering a near-silent cruise, but on smaller roads it offers an agility that was missing from previous generations of A6 - and this allows it to compete more closely with the BMW 5 Series than ever.

For an alternative review of the latest Audi A6 Saloon visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    55 TFSI e Quattro Competition 4dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £0

Most Economical

  • Name
    55 TFSI e Quattro Competition Vorsprung 4dr S Tron
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £0

Fastest

  • Name
    S6 TDI 349 Quattro 4dr Tip Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £59,340
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