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In-depth reviews

Audi A6 - Engines, performance and drive

The A6 is better suited to long-distance motorists than those seeking white-knuckle thrills

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.3 out of 5

Price
£44,495 to £61,370
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Audi has a reputation for building large saloon cars that will cruise along in perfect comfort, but then disappoint on open roads due to a firm ride and heavy feel. Fortunately, the current Audi A6 has consigned that reputation largely to the history books.

Ride quality is one area where the A6 is particularly worthy of praise. The previous model felt almost wooden and uncomfortable over bumps, jarring occupants over potholes. Audi has obviously taken this criticism on board when building this model, because it rides with far more elegance and refinement. 

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One area where compliments are harder to find is the A6’s steering. It’s accurate enough, but its synthetic character is almost entirely devoid of feel. Here, the Audi loses out to the BMW 5 Series, which provides far greater levels of feedback through the wheel.

Elsewhere, almost all the news is positive. The brakes are effective, the automatic transmission shifts seamlessly, and wind noise is all but absent; it’s here that Audi’s work with aerodynamics and sound insulation pays dividends.

The latest A6 is closer than ever to providing the sportier handling characteristics that are often associated with BMW’s executive car offerings. The high standard of build-quality, refined ride and plush materials bring it closer in line with the equivalent Mercedes models, too. While each brand still offers its own benefits, the A6 is a strong contender in this sector of the market.

Engines, 0-62mph acceleration and top speed

The current A6 has been offered with a broad range of engines throughout its lifespan but, now in its later years, the line-up has been trimmed down to just four options. 

Kicking off the A6 range is a front-wheel drive 2.0-litre 40 TFSI producing 201bhp and 320Nm of torque. This engine propels the A6 from 0-62mph in a respectable 7.3 seconds and onto a top speed of 152mph. While it can’t quite match the effortless surge of the Audi’s six-cylinder rivals, the weight advantage this four-cylinder block brings means it delivers a purer, lighter-feeling driving experience. 

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If you wish to stick with petrol but desire a bit more power, the alternative option is the 45 TFSI unit. This is also a four-cylinder engine, but it boasts an increased power output of 262bhp and 370Nm of torque. These figures bring the 0-62mph time down to exactly six seconds, while top speed is limited to 155mph. All A6s fitted with this engine come with quattro four-wheel drive as standard. 

Those who prefer the black fuel pump will be pleased to know that diesel power is still an option, and this comes in the form of the 40 TDI engine. With 201bhp and 400Nm on tap, this oil-burner is also a pretty impressive performer. It’ll launch the A6 from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, and then onto a top speed of 153mph. All 40 TDI-powered A6s are also fitted with quattro as standard.

If you’re covering plenty of miles but are looking to lower your emissions, the 50 TFSI e plug-in hybrid will be the A6 for you. Not only does this variant offer strong performance thanks to its combined 295bhp and 450NM power output, but it also has a claimed range of up to 42 miles of pure-electric driving. The PHEV is no slouch, either. From a standstill, plant your right foot and you’ll reach 62mph in 6.2 seconds, and then proceed onto a limited top speed of 155mph.

Those who desire all-out performance have two options: the S6 and RS 6. The former is available in saloon or Avant form and is powered by a muscular turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with 340bhp and 700Nm of torque – enough for a five-second sprint to 62mph and effortless motorway performance. It’s not quite as fun as previous petrol-powered models, however.

The RS 6, meanwhile, is available exclusively in Avant estate guise, but it boasts performance that’s more befitting of a supercar. Its 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol engine boasts 621bhp and 850Nm of torque, meaning 0-62mph takes just 3.4 seconds.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    40 TFSI Sport 4dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £38,230

Most Economical

  • Name
    40 TDI Sport 4dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £40,655

Fastest

  • Name
    55 TFSI Quattro Sport 4dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £50,415

Shane is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2021, he worked as a radio producer and presenter for outlets such as the BBC.

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