The Audi A6 is a global role player. Here in North America, it’s an executive sports sedan, celebrated for its blend of luxury and driveability. In Europe, it’s a business-class cruiser, where customers know that it’s loaded with technology to make the drive more productive. In Asia, it’s a limousine handled by chauffeurs who whisk wealthy clients to and fro.
For the 2019 model year, the car borrows a lot from the flagship A8 sedan, which enables the mid-range A6 to truly excel.
It’s impressive how Audi always manages to make the A6 the perfect all-rounder. The design represents this fact well. It’s not a flashy show-off, with wild angles or swoopy effects. It looks the part of a car built to satisfy just about any purpose. Hardly a far cry from the last generation models in style, the new design language fits in well with the rest of the new faces in the brand’s lineup.
Certainly, the A8, A7, and A6 all look like they’re cut from the same cloth, but that fact is more than just superficial. The car uses a similar platform, features a similar cabin layout and even the powertrain is familiar.
Under the hood and to all four wheels
Audi is going all in with electrifying its vehicles, and like the A8 and A7, this car boasts a mild-hybrid system, enabled by the use of a 48-volt electrical system. Paired to a turbocharged V6 engine, the car has smooth acceleration as well as improved efficiency. Power gets sent to all four wheels in typical quattro fashion, but by a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which is extremely smooth and refined. The transmission, in particular, should be considered the benchmark for all dual clutch transmissions. Audi says a less powerful, four-cylinder turbo is on the way a few months after the car launches, which should help to add appeal to those looking to save a few bucks in a new car.
On the road, the car is extremely capable, with gaps in traffic being dealt with without hesitation. With 340-horsepower on tap, the car can close distances in no time, but the vehicle can be extremely agile, too, especially when equipped with the four-wheel steering setup. Indeed, the four wheels aren’t just powered but steer too, with the rear wheels working opposite the front wheels at low speeds, and in tandem with the front wheels at higher speeds. This allows for exceptional maneuverability through the cityscape and smooth lane changes while on the highway.
I’ll admit the steering feel takes getting used to. The variable ratio rack means that the wheel feels unnaturally light at low speeds, but gains heft and needs effort at higher speeds. It makes sense in practice but needs some time to become familiar with it. There are different drive modes that allow the car to switch between its various roles. It can be efficient, sporty, comfortable or any combination of these traits thanks to a custom setting.
Tech filled, luxury appointed cabin
The A6 also inherits the driver assistance and safety features of the flagship A8. This car has an adaptive cruise control system that’s easy to use and inspires confidence. The lane keeping assistance is very natural feeling and is able to redirect the car in a way that isn’t jarring. These two systems can even work in construction zones with narrow lanes, and the car can also handle uncommitted lane changers in traffic; the system recognizes traffic even if it’s not directly in front of the car. The blind spot monitoring lights are bright and easy to see. Even parking the car is easy with high-resolution cameras and well-behaved sensors.
The cabin is also loaded with technology. You’ll immediately notice the three displays. One big digital dash is the virtual cockpit that not only showcases vital information like speed and RPMs but can also display map and navigation information as well. There are two touch screens that make up the infotainment system. The whole dashboard has an interesting two-layer design, allowing the screens to blend in nicely. The infotainment system is designed to be as similar to a smart-phone as possible, with haptic feedback, gesture controls and the ability to move app shortcuts around. A smaller screen handles duties like HVAC control and will display a keyboard for input. The first impressions of this system are that it’s plenty capable, but like the steering, takes some getting used to, with certain actions requiring too much attention that should be on the road. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to interact with the system, including voice commands. In case there aren’t enough displays, you can also get a head-up display as well.
The design of the cabin mixes a modern layout with lavish, high-end trim. The open pore, wood-grain trim was especially attractive, although more basic models feature metallic accents throughout the cabin. There are some piano black panels, which are always fingerprint and dust magnets. Audi has squeezed out a few extra increments of space in the car, and the A6 is as comfortable to be in than ever before. There is an available dual-zone climate control system for rear seats. To help entertain or keep passengers busy, the A6 can be had with an onboard internet connection and has wifi hotspot capabilities. There isn’t any improvement in trunk space, but the opening is wider. It’s also worth pointing out that the brand didn’t lose any space despite packing more technology, like that mild-hybrid electrical system into the vehicle.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but expect it to be in line with the past A6, which starts at around $50,000 for a base, four-cylinder model. That means it should be quite competitive with the likes of the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E Class, and we look forward to comparing it to those long-time rivals, as well as some new options in the segment like the Genesis G80.
The Verdict: 2019 Audi A6 Review
Simply put, the A6 offers something for everyone. It’s a powerful and agile performer as well as being comfortable and high-tech. The elements that make the car so good continue for yet another generation.
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