Click past the jump for the full review of the Audi A6 2.0T and 3.0T with highlights on new-for-2014 features and options.
Updated 07/02/2014: Audi today announced priced and a series of updates for the 2015 A6 luxury sedan which is now available at dealers. Updates include a new Warm Weather package offered as standard on Prestige models, plus head-up display and full LED headlights.
Do the A6’s luxury cockpit, advanced engines and sophisticated design offer enough incentive to lure conquest sales from other German brands? The company sure hopes so and even offers a $1,500 bonus to Mercedes and BMW drivers when they buy an A6 (or many other Audi models).
That is not how we operate, however, so the A6 comes to our shores ready for a knock-down, drag-out brawl with two of the most competent luxury sedans on the market, the Mercedes-Benz E350 and the BMW 535i .
Once these factors are considering, the option of a luxury shuttle for about $20 a week sounds great. Many Americans would jump at the chance to do the same thing.
The lengthened A6L is China’s most popular limousine by far. Everyone knows Chinese businessmen like the ride in the back seat. There’s much more to that preference than image and prestige.
The Audi A6 includes some new features and options for 2014 to invigorate sales of the aluminum-bodied luxury sedan. The U.S. market has been a bit of a dud for the new-shape design since its arrival as a 2012 model. That is not stopping its prospects elsewhere in the world.
The A6 is a nice-looking sedan but needs some serious options before it starts looking visibly different from the previous two generations of cars. The original 1998 A6’s fastback profile and arcing window-line inspired a thousand copies. The flowing organic surfaces of the body recalled the TT so effectively that the normal A6 sedan became a design icon in its own right.
Audi seems stuck in a rut with the A6 but the vehicle is still very handsome and now more lithe via better proportions and a shorter front overhang.
In 2.0T trim, the A6 is now available with the full-LED headlights and driving lights that were previously a 3.0T exclusive. The smaller engine model is also upgradable with sports suspensions and giant wheels to match the S-line style that is still a V-6 exclusive.
In S-Line 3.0T trim as in these photos, the A6 really comes alive. The LED headlights are stunning even when they’re off because of the gorgeous driving LEDs that line the bottom of the pinched lens graphic. When illuminated, the seven LED pods form a check mark of light that is unlike anything else on American roads.
The car certainly looks dramatic from the front via Audi’s single-frame grille trimmed in optional gloss black. The A6 sedans’ noses also include huge faux air ducts in the outside lower bumpers to recall the range-topping S6 model’s functional vents.
The car also packs some gorgeous wheel options for the 3.0T including the titanium-colored five-claw design best know from the previous V-10 S6.
In profile and in the rear the car has some new creasing and subtle curves but overall is very, very similar to the previous two generations. The taillights are boxier and slimmer than before but overall the car does not look as fresh as the competition.
New for 2015
- Full LED headlights
2014-2015 Audi A6 Exterior Dimensions:
3,891 pounds (Quattro), 3726 pounds (Multitronic)
0.28 (Quattro), 0.26 (Multitronic)
2014 Audi A6 Exterior Standard Features:
- Audi Singleframe grille with horizontal bars in chrome finish with/without license plate holder
- Heated windshield washer nozzles
- Dual exhaust pipes, chrome tips (one on each side)
- Body-color heated power folding auto dimming exterior mirrors with passenger tilt, memory and LED turn indicator
- Rain/light sensors for automatic windshield wipers and headlights
- LED taillight technology with rear fog lights and white reverse lights
- LED indicator light technology integrated in the side mirrors
- Audi ultra-lightweight construction – aluminum body panels with a steel frame
- Three Blink touch-to-pass lane change feature in turn signal
- Automatic light switch controlled by light sensor, coming home/leaving home function
- 8.0J x 17 / Ten-spoke design wheels with 225/55 all-season tires
2014 Audi A6 Exterior Options:
- Metallic/pearl/crystal effect paint
- S Line exterior: unique S Line front bumper, valance and rear bumper with diffuser (3.0T Only)
- LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, user programmable
- 8.0J x 18 / Five-V-spoke design wheels with 245/45 all-season tires
- 8.5J x 19 / 15-spoke design wheels with 255/40 summer performance tires
- 8.5J x 20 / Ten-V-spoke design wheels with 255/35 summer performance tires
- Black optics package (3.0T only)
The interior of the A6 is a totally different story. None of the original 1996 designs are visible inside. The A6’s cockpit is a gorgeous leather fest and even offers a no-cost black headliner.
Many of the other good features are the opposite of no-cost, however, including the MMI Touch 8-inch nav screen that rises up from behind the center vents when needed. The effect of it whirring out is something imaginable only in science fiction until recently and is not recreated on any BMW or Mercedes models.
The slim MMI display is still not a touchscreen on the A6 but does offer an MMI touch knob that can recognize letters for spelling out a city destination, for example. It’s clunky and rarely works on the move without full concentration.
Paired with MMI navigation are some ridiculously cool stereo and infotainment systems. The optional stereos are barely needed over the base nine-speaker plus subwoofer but are offered in 630-watt Bose and 1,300-watt Bang & Olufsen setups nonetheless.
Four leather choices are offered as well as a few different wood or aluminum trims. The standard dark Walnut looks nice but is not as unique as some of the other choices. The layered light Oak looks the newest and most expensive.
Dimensionally, the A6 is roomy inside and offers a big back seat even enhanced by a low floor and carved-out front seatbacks.
All A6’s come standard with dual 12-way power chairs up front that are stunning. They include a slide-out thigh rest to help accommodate tall drivers with extra leg support.
The A6 is generally a technophile’s dream inside. There are even four 12V sockets in the cabin and an extra one in the trunk. AudiConnect is paired with the nav system to create an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot that also runs the web-enabled Google Earth maps and about a dozen other features as well.
Adaptive cruise control with traffic-following stop and start functionality comes paired with proximity parking sensors and blind-spot alert for an extra $2,500. The 3.0T trumps this by offering a top-view camera system that creates a full video of the car’s surroundings front, side and rear.
The 3.0T also offers an optional heads-up display (HUD) for critical driver information projected onto the windshield and a night-vision camera system to detect pedestrians or animals in the car’s path at night. While not new technologies, they are both relatively new to Audi.
New for 2015
- Warm Weather package featuring four-zone automatic climate control, manual rear-side window and power rear window sunshades
- Audi side assist and Audi pre sense rear standard on A6 3.0T and TDI clean diesel models
2014-2015 Audi A6 Interior Dimensions
Headroom With Sun Shade (Front/Rear)
Shoulder Room (Front/Rear)
EPA Cargo Volume
2014 Audi A6 Interior Standard Features:
- Leather seating surfaces
- 40:60 split folding rear seat
- Three-step heated front seats (standard on Quattro models)
- Twelve-way power front comfort seats including four-way power lumbar adjustment and front & rear comfort headrests
- Rain/light sensors for automatic windshield wipers and headlights
- Audi music interface with iPod integration includes one cable for iPod connection
- Audi sound system with: Ten speakers including front center speaker and subwoofer in rear, 180 watts, six-channel amplifier, AM/FM radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio
- BLUETOOTH wireless technology preparation for mobile phone
- SD card slot with 32GB capacity (dual slots)
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 90-day trial subscription
- SiriusXM Traffic with four-year subscription
- Trunk mounted battery with positive battery post in engine
- Voice control system (controls cellular phone, CD, radio and navigation), includes speech-to-text engine
- Audi Drive Select: adjustable steering and throttle response
- Genuine Walnut dark brown decorative inlays
- Aluminum-optic surrounding of air vents, window & seating switchgear and vent controls
- Tilt and telescopic manually adjustable steering column
- Four-spoke multifunction leather wrapped steering wheel
- Five 12V power outlets (two in front / two in backseat / one in trunk)
- Power glass sunroof with slide/tilt function, sunshade and pinch protection
- Automatic three-zone climate control system
- LED Interior lights in front and rear headliner with fade-in & fade-out feature, time delay and automatic switch on when key is withdrawn from ignition
2014 Audi A6 Interior Options:
- Advanced key: Doors can be locked and unlocked without active use of the car’s ignition key; the engine is started with a button on the center console next to the gear shift knob, without the need to insert ignition key
- Topview camera system (3.0T Only)
- Head-up display: Optical system of mirrors projects driving-related information directly into the driver’s field of vision (3.0T Only)
- MMI Nav Plus – eight-inch touchscreen screen
- Bose Premium Surround Sound system with AudioPilot®: 14 speakers including center speaker and subwoofer with total output of 630 watts ($850)
- Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 15 speakers and 1,300 watts (includes Dolby Digital 5.1, noise compensation,
- Brushed aluminum decorative inlays
- Layered Oak decorative inlays
- Fine grain natural Ash brown decorative inlays
- Driver Assistance Package: adaptive cruise control with stop and go, audi side assist, parking proximity sensors ($2,500)
- Black headliner (No cost)
- Heated rear seats ($450)
- Rear sun shades ($550)
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The A6 is available in front-drive 2.0T, quattro 2.0T or quattro 3.0T specifications. All the cars are pretty rapid and the 2.0-liter gets a horsepower bump for 2014 up to 220. Paired with the low-rpm 258 pound-feet of torque, the base model reaches 60 in just 7.2 seconds as a front-drive CVT.
With the Quattro all-wheel-drive system comes the excellent eight-speed Tiptronic automatic and paddle shifters just behind the wheel. The 2.0T quattro hits 60 in just 6.5 seconds.
The most interesting model is the 3.0T model, which runs a supercharged V-6 making 325 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. This car is seriously fast and comes just with the eight-speed for a 5.3-second 0-to-60 mph dash. All models top out at 130 mph and the 3.0T is offered with automatic stop/start to lessen fuel consumption in city driving.
Overall, the A6 line is pretty efficient on the road. None beats the front-drive CVT for eco-friendliness. This model has just a 0.26 cD for a 33 mpg rating on the highway and 28 mpg overall. Very good scores.
The V-6 is less slippery and less economical but still near the top of the class.
Engine Size and Type
2.0-liter Turbocharged 16-valve I-4 with TFSI Direct Injection and Chain-driven DOHC
3.0-liter Supercharged 24-valve V-6 with TFSI Direct Injection and Chain-driven DOHC
8-Speed Automatic (Quattro), CVT Multitronic (Front-Drive)
6.5 seconds (Quattro), 7.2 seconds (FWD)
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)
The A6 is a Top Safety Pick from IIHS with “Good” scores across the board. The car has not yet gone through the full NHTSA testing program but is expected to perform very well. The car comes with six standard airbags with two extra optional bags in the rear doors.
A comprehensive safety package includes all the required electronic systems to keep passengers safe, including power-operated child locks for the rear doors and rear windows. These options are selected from the driver’s seat and can be operated on the move.
Lastly, the A6 includes a good anti-whiplash technology in its front seats that minimizes injury in a rear collision. This is a good feature for the Audi as many automakers are starting to drop it from their specification on cost grounds.
2014 Audi A6 Safety Features:
- Backguard anti-whiplash system in front seats
- Double pull on all interior door handles to unlock (deactivated with child safety lock engaged)
- Driver and front passenger advanced dual-stage airbag supplemental restraints
- Driver and front passenger seat-mounted side thorax airbag supplemental restraints
- Driver and front passenger knee airbags
- Electromechanical parking brake
- Emergency release handle in trunk interior (glow in the dark)
- ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system with Brake Assist, EBD and ABS
- Front passenger occupant detection – for airbags
- Front three-point safety belts with automatic pretensioning and force limiters
- Hydraulic brake assist
The A6 range starts just above $42,000 and runs up to $57,000 for a 3.0T in Prestige trim. Most buyers will be extremely happy with the Premium Plus package that includes many options as standard, including the LED headlights for both models.
2014 Audi A6 Pricing:
A6 2.0T Premium
A6 2.0T Premium Plus
A6 3.0T Premium
A6 3.0T Premium Plus
A6 3.0T Prestige
2015 Audi A6 – prices
Model Premium Premium Plus Prestige
A6 2.0T FWD Multitronic
A6 2.0T quattro Tiptronic
A6 3.0T quattro Tiptronic
A6 TDI quattro Tiptronic
2014 Mercedes-Benz E350
The 2014 E-Class gets a new nose that is far better looking than the previous design. A new LED daytime running light graphic sets the E350 apart from the A6 but the car is more expensive and does not offer a four-cylinder option. 4Matic AWD is available on the E350 as well as an upgrade to a turbo V-8 even without the AMG body kit and suspension.
2014 BMW 535i
The new BMW 5 series comes very close to the A6 in drivetrain and cabin refinement, while also offering two engine options and available AWD. A big difference in the base models is that the BMW 528i uses a conventional eight-speed auto through the rear wheels versus a CVT through the front like the A6 Multitronic.
The BMW arguably looks fresher than some low-level A6 sedans but neither is shockingly beautiful.
So the Audi A6 is a luxury sedan that is both efficient and pretty fast in all engine and drivetrain configurations. It is not a scintillating car to drive because the focus overall is on long-range comfort. In this regard the A6 is excellent with a hushed cabin, refined drivetrains and the stability of the AWD system as piece of mind.
The base CVT option delivers excellent fuel economy but overall is less exciting on the road and seems busier thanks to the droning of the engine while the CVT winds out extra speed.
Among drivers seeking a really tight sport sedan, the 3.0T delivers in spades. The car actually has pretty good balance via a 54:46 front to rear weight distribution and longitudinally-mounted engines. With equipped with performance wheels and suspension via the S-line kit, observers will be hard-pressed to notice any changes between the top A6 and the far pricier S6 model.
Overall, the A6 is a solid and elegant luxury sedan with a spectacular cabin and engines that can deliver real performance driving thrills on the weekend.
Great Controls, Confidence-Inspiring Handling, Quiet Ride Gets Harder With Big Wheels
Extremely Quick And Responsive With Either Engine; Quattro Tiptronic Much Better Than CVT
Very Dependent On Specification; LED Headlights Option A Must
Good Value At Bottom And Middle Of Range; Optional Stereos Are Overkill
Looks And Feels More Expensive Than It Is In S-Line Trim