The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2016 AUDI A6 2.0T Quattro Sedan Review By Steve Purdy

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Review By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

The freshened 2016 Audi A6 just came to spend a week with us. While we review just about all cars and small trucks, from the most basic to the high-end, we get particularly excited when any of the luxury German brands come to visit. This week’s Audi did not disappoint.

The mid-size A6 competes directly with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-Series; all are pricey, full of technology and reflect the best of German engineering. They all place a high priority on tight, agile and gratifying driving dynamics as well. The Lexus GS is another competitor and it, too, fits well into this genre.

So, what sets the Audi apart from the others?

First, the disclaimer: I’ve not recently reviewed the current generation of the M-B or BMW entries in this class but have limited seat time in both. I have reviewed the GS and it is one of my favorites. So you may take these comments with a grain of salt and I promise to update them as I review the others.

Style and design, I’ll acknowledge, are subjective. I like all the German sedans but Audi’s grace and simplicity appeal to me most. The others have become a bit garish in some design details, but Audi continues to revise and update styling, both inside and out, while maintaining a certain simple and sophistication aesthetic. The A6 just got a styling update without a departure from the easily recognizable Audi look. A big, gaping grille, black lower cheek vents, squinty headlight bezels and new design for the LED DRLs provide a bold, stylish, but not over-done, front view. Side view shows a mostly simple, but carefully sculpted, profile of a balanced 4-door sedan. The rear, as well, is nicely sculpted but conservative with more LEDs, chrome exhaust outlets, and a high-end look. Our tester came to us in a very dark blue metallic – not the best color for this car, in my not-so-authoritative opinion.

Sliding into the A6 cabin we find an environment of fine materials, simple and functional elements and way too much technology, for me at least. Readers younger and/or more tech-savvy than I will love all the connectivity, infotainment and other functions as well as the sophisticated controls. For those of my generation let me assure you that the Audi approach to things is much more manageable than in the early days as this brand led the way into the world of ever-higher tech features in our cars. This new user interface, an update of Audi’s MMI modular infotainment platform is worlds more intuitive than the Audi system I first used, and was confused by, in the early 2000s. While I did not explore deeply into the all these systems I fooled around with it enough to be confident giving it good marks.

Back to the aesthetic and tactile quality of the interior; we give it more high grades. The fine leather seats are well designed with plenty of adjustment and lateral support. The classy leather and aluminum shifter is surrounded by a few knobs, a lot of buttons that control most of the car’s functions, partly through the multi-function screen at the top of the dash where it is easy to see and read. The MMI control system rates well in ease of management and it can even become a WiFi hot spot if you like. Real wood accents and high-end metal and plastics surround us confirming the luxury character of the A6. We have no analog clock, however, which I think of as a luxury car necessity.

The rear seat will accommodate three regular sized people though bigger folks will have to get cozy. The rear seat backs fold 60/40 to add functionality to the modest 14.1 cubic-foot trunk. Total interior volume matches or exceeds most of its competition. At speed on any kind of surface the cabin remains dead quiet.

The quick 2.0-liter turbo in our test car is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s trusty quattro all-wheel drive – a charming combination to be sure. The small engine is good for 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque powering this fairly heavy sedan and it feels like even more. At full throttle to red line is virtually sings with sophistication. The Audi folks say it will do zero to 60 mph in a mighty quick 5.8 seconds, and we have no reason to doubt that number. The EPA says we can expect around 32 mpg on the highway, 22 in the city and 26 combined using the required premium (91 octane) fuel.

The sticker shows a starting price of $48,400 for this A6, 2.0T, quattro (full-time all-wheel drive) Tiptronic automatic transmission with manual mode, 18-inch wheels, power sunroof, leather seats, walnut trim and all the other power and luxury stuff you would expect. We have a $3,700 premium package that includes driver assistance features, navigation upgrades, special audio and convenience stuff. Along with the 19-inch wheel option and a couple other extras our bottom line shows $55,775.

The A6 model range includes higher trim levels and four other powertrains including a 4.0-liter turbo in the high-performance S6. The low-end (still mighty nice) 2.0T without quattro starts at $46,200 and the S6 starts at $70,900.

This A6 with the smallest engine and all-wheel drive makes for a gratifying driving experience whether one drives sedately or with enthusiasm, on the freeway or a mountain road. The 2-liter turbo has plenty of power and the well-calibrated Tiptronic transmission adjusts itself to our needs. This review took place in nice spring weather but past experience with the quatto all-wheel drive system in snow, ice a slush left me impressed and confident on any surface. Suspension and handling, as we expect from the Germans, are European style, meaning firm, crisp and agile. We can drive it as aggressively as we like with full confidence.

While a bit pricey the A6 is still a lot of car for the money. Between the advanced design, extensive technology, sophisticated styling, and all around performance we would recommend you put it on your shopping list if you’re in this lofty part of the market.

©Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

The Most Audi Research Information Anywhere!