Displaying items by tag: Audi
The Audi Q3 is an upmarket compact SUV that delivers owners loads of high-tech features and lots of cabin space. It’s not that enjoyable to drive, however
The Audi Q3 is a spacious and stylish family SUV with a great interior and lots of hi-tech features. It’s an alternative to the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 and sits between the Q2 and Q5 in the enormous range of SUVs available in Audi’s line-up.
That line-up can be a bit like watching Eastenders and trying to decide which Mitchell brother is on the screen – they do look very similar. That’s good in some cases and bad in others, depending on the price they’re charging. The Q3 is, thankfully, in the sweet spot.
The Audi Q3’s grille looks like a smaller version of the Q8’s, for example, while the exterior design is similar to the Q5’s, but smaller. This kind of Russian-doll styling is common in a lot of car manufacturers, so we can’t hold too much of a grudge.
All Audi Q3s get a set of digital dials with sat-nav functionality and more, which is great to see – and the standard infotainment screen is sharp and easy to use. The Q3 scores highly for tech, as it feels like a more expensive model in that regard.
It’s a similar story when it comes to upholstery and interior materials, as the Q3 is well-built, looks smart and has some customisation options including an Alcantara trim that looks and feels great.
It has a typically high-up SUV driving position with plenty of adjustment, which means you can get comfortable quite easily. Plus there’s lots of room in the front seats and no headroom issues at all.
There’s no doubt the Audi Q3 has been inspired by the vast Q8 SUV – that giant grille, for example, makes it look just like a toddler that’s trying on its Grandparent’s dentures
Mat Watson, carwow expert
Plus, in the rear seats the Q3 has more room than you’ll find in many other cars of this size, and you can slide the rear seats forwards and backwards to prioritise either passenger legroom or boot space.
Impressively, even with the back seats in their most rearward position, there’s more space in the boot than you get in a BMW X1. With them set forward, the boot is really big and practical. Fold the back seats down and there’s easily enough room to carry a bicycle.
There are a few engines to choose from, starting with a 150hp petrol engine in the 35 TFSI model going right up to a 233hp petrol in the 45 TFSI, with 150hp and 190hp diesels in the mix as well. The entry point makes the most sense for most people as it’s better value for money.
A seven-speed automatic is available, but as it’s a bit slow to respond when you put your foot down, the manual model is absolutely fine. Some models have four-wheel drive (Audi calls it quattro) for extra grip, but it’s not necessary and adds to the cost.
Though the Audi Q3 is comfortable and composed, it’s more suited to motorways than country roads. It has a slightly stiff edge to the ride in versions with larger wheels and stiffer sports suspension, but at higher speeds, it’s smooth enough.
Light steering means it’s easy to drive, but it’s not particularly fun – a BMW X1 or Mini Countryman is a better choice for those who love driving. You get plenty of active safety kit as standard, but you’ll have to pay extra for adaptive cruise control.
The Audi Q3 is a great all-around family SUV, with strengths in the key areas buyers of these cars want. It’s spacious and has a great interior with loads of tech included, even if it’s on the expensive side. Still, you should be able to find a good deal by heading over to our deals page.
How practical is it?
The Audi Q3 might be a fairly compact SUV, but there’s loads of space inside for tall adults – the only real criticism is that there’s a large lump in the floor that cuts into a middle passenger’s foot space.
Audi Q3 interior
The Audi Q3’s interior looks far more futuristic than in most small SUVs. It gets lots of kit as standard, too, but the most eye-catching trims and colours are reserved for top-spec cars.
The Audi Q3’s interior looks very similar to what you find in the range-topping Q8 SUV. There’s a large ring of metal-effect plastic on the dashboard that’s supposed to mimic the shape of the Audi Q3’s grille and a vast slab of glossy black plastic that sits flush with the central touchscreen.
You also get a second digital display in front the steering in place of conventional dials but, unlike in the Q8, the Q3 comes with intuitive physical knobs and dials for the climate control instead of a third (and rather fiddly) touchscreen.
As standard, the Audi Q3 comes with a fairly staid selection of black, grey and silver interior trims – all of which feel suitably soft and sturdy. Under the cool hook-shaped door handles you’ll find a few hard brittle surfaces, but these are tucked down far enough that you won’t notice unless you reach down to adjust your seat. On the subject of seats, pick a sporty S-Line model and you get upgraded front seats with more supportive padding and electric adjustment.
You can spruce up the Audi Q3’s interior with 30-colour mood lighting or upgrade the dashboard trims with some embossed aluminium or unvarnished wood. Go for a top-spec Edition One model and you can also get the dashboard, doors and seat edges trimmed in suede-like Alcantara in a range of colours.
Every Audi Q3 comes with a dual-screen infotainment system consisting of a 10.1-inch central touchscreen and a second 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display as standard. Through these, you’ll access all of the Audi Q3’s onboard features – besides the climate control which is operated using a simple row of buttons by the gear lever.
The central display – which fits almost seamlessly into the Q3’s glossy black dashboard trim – is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight. It responds quickly to your inputs and all the menus are simply and logically laid out. You don’t get a physical scroll wheel like in a BMW X1, however, so flicking through settings while you’re driving isn’t quite so easy.
That being said, you can access plenty of the system’s features through the digital driver’s display instead, using handy buttons on the steering wheel. These let you customise the dial graphics, change the radio station or view upcoming sat-nav directions.
It’s easy to input an address into the Audi Q3’s standard navigation system using the on-screen keyboard and it gives clear and concise directions. The 3D google maps feature is a nice touch, too – allowing you to see whether there’s a particularly nasty hill approaching over the horizon. But, it can be difficult to read place names on particularly dark sections of the map.
It’s even easier to follow directions if you upgrade the standard 10.25-inch digital driver’s display to a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit system. This allows you to minimise the digital dials in favour of a huge widescreen map instead.
Unlike in the BMW X1, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard so you can use your phone’s navigation apps through the Q3’s built-in screens if you aren’t a fan of Audi’s own system. These features also let you play music from your phone through the Audi Q3’s stereo without resorting to using a Bluetooth connection.
You’ll want to upgrade to the optional Bang & Olufsen stereo – even if you’re only a casual listener. This optional 15-speaker unit sounds absolutely fantastic and it’s easily loud enough to drown out any comments your passengers might have about your music tastes.
Audi has updated the style and available technology of its SQ2 crossover, which should be available in early 2021, as pre-sales have already started in Germany and other European countries.
The price of the Audi SQ2 for 2021 starts at 45,700 euros in Germany, while buyers from Great Britain will have to spend 38,700 pounds. Neither SQ2 nor Q2 are available in North America.
The 2.0 TFSI engine is the same as before, generating 300 hp and 400 Nm of torque with a standard seven-speed S tronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. The SQ2 accelerates to 100 km / h in just 4.9 seconds, while its maximum acceleration is limited to 250 km / h.
The redesigned look is immediately visible as soon as you take a look at the car. The octagonal Singleframe grille is now slightly lower, and the bumpers and air intakes have been redesigned and more aggressive. Although LED headlights are available as standard, Audi will now offer new Matrix LED units as optional accessories. The SQ2 also comes with LED rear lights, paired with dynamic indicators.
On the sides, the redesigned SQ2 features aluminum-looking mirror housings, aluminum sill inserts and a spoiler on the roof edge.
As for the interior, the 2021 SQ2 has automatic air conditioning as standard, along with a sporty multi-purpose steering wheel and sports seats. As for the information and entertainment program technology, it has been maximally improved and refreshed with the latest programs and maps.
Finally, Audi also left up advanced safety systems. The SQ2 not only comes standard with Audi's pre-designed front safety system, but also adaptive cruise control, which is a new addition to the optional equipment. Adaptive driving assistance allows the driver to relinquish control of the car during acceleration, deceleration and steering.
Audi's best-selling model is the Q5 SUV. It was thoroughly redesigned in July, so that in September we could see its first ever "sportback" version. However, in Eastern Europe, a diesel with the prefix "S" was the most awaited. And not because of the purchase, but mostly because of mere enthusiasm. Well, here are the sweet numbers: 3.0, V6 TDI, 350 hp and 700 Nm; from 0-100 km / h in 5.1 seconds. But here are a few bitters: the starting price is almost 70,000 euros.
In addition to the powerful engine, the new "SQ5" got a more sporty look compared to the standard model: the front has a large octagonal grille and larger air intakes. And this version, at an additional cost, can be equipped with new OLED headlights and taillights.
These are digital diodes arranged in three parts, with six segments each, the display of which can be personalized, changed depending on the driving mode, and also reacts to dangerous traffic situations. By the way, LED matrix headlights come with the "SQ5" as standard.
At the rear, the changes are slight, while the four oval ends of the exhaust pipes stand out the most.
The cabin can be black, gray or red. The new Napa leather sports seats are adorned with the “S” logo, and also offer a massage option. The premium cab is enriched with brushed aluminum trim, while the top-of-the-line "SQ5 Vorsprung" offers carbon details.
A novelty is the latest generation of MMI infotainment system (MIB3), which is displayed on a 10.1-inch screen. In front of the driver is a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel (Virtual Cockpit), and there is a "head-up" display. The functions in the vehicle are controlled in three ways: with the buttons on the steering wheel, via the touch screen or by voice.
As in the standard "Q5", there is plenty of space in the rear, and the practicality is emphasized by the option of moving the seat of the rear bench back and forth, while the backrests can be adjusted. The trunk has 520-1,520 liters.
As for the engine, it is a lighter and more efficient V6 TDI engine, with a volume of three liters, which uses advanced 48-volt mild hybrid technology.
Power is 350 hp, while 700 Nm of torque is now available at lower revs, between 1,750 and 3,250 rpm.
This 4.7-meter-long SUV reaches the "cattle" in just 5.1 seconds, while the top speed is 250 km / h.
As before, the "SQ5" is 30 mm lower than standard and is equipped with sports suspension, as well as six different driving modes: Auto, Comfort, Efficiency, Dynamic, Off-road and Individual. With the "Vorsprung" version comes a sports differential on the rear axle.
The starting price for the "SQ5" in Germany is 68,138 euros.
Audi's new RS6 Avant wagon is even more special than its 591-hp twin-turbo V-8 and 3.1-second 60-mph time implies.
Ever hear of left-digit bias? It's the reason ShamWows cost $19.95 instead of $20 and why people say they're 39 instead of 40. We focus on that first digit and assign it undeserved importance because our cave-dweller brains are easily tricked. This is why the 2021 Audi RS6 Avant's certifiably ballistic 60-mph time of 3.1 seconds seems, in a bizarre way, mundane. If that time were two-tenths of a second quicker, we'd be petitioning for National RS6 Day, a time to celebrate and reflect on the RS6's righteous and scarcely believable acceleration. Instead, we're like, "Yeah, about what we expected." Can you really even feel the difference between a 2.9-second and 3.1-second run? Sure, to the same extent you notice that five-cent difference in the pretax price of ShamWows and a $20 bill, which is to say barely at all. But thanks to left-digit bias, the RS6 Avant puts us in the unusual position of apologizing for numbers that should require no apologies.
HIGHS: Mind-melting, brain-rattling V-8; light-footed dynamics; fun for the whole family.
Those numbers include the output from the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8—591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque—and the quarter-mile run of 11.5 seconds at 120 mph. These are impeccable performance bona fides, though maybe not what we consider supercar numbers these days. Then again, this is a station wagon. That's easy to forget when you're behind the wheel, looking out over those flared front fenders (2.5 inches wider than a standard A6's) and listening to the turbos and sport exhaust carry on a lively banter of chuffs and thunder. The cargo area is capacious and practical and hidden by a slick motorized cover, but you'll want to lash down those groceries because what's behind you tends to slip your mind when your skull is crushed into the headrest with the force of gravity (and then some). Activate launch control and you might see the gauge-cluster accelerometer spike at 1.19 g's, as we did. That'll scramble your eggs and your inner ear.
The Avant isn't just a drag-strip specialist, though. Like many of Audi's RS forebears, the RS6 is seemingly handicapped by a front-loaded weight bias, that V-8 overbite saddling the nose with 55.0 percent of the car's heft. But in practice, the RS6 feels perfectly balanced and even a little tail-happy thanks to the magic of torque vectoring and four-wheel steering. The rear sport differential can send almost all the torque to one side or the other, collaborating with the rear steering to endow the big Audi with instant turn-in. Add some throttle with your steering lock—which in a nose-heavy all-wheel-drive car would normally result in tragic understeer—and the rear end will start to swing wide while the front holds the line. The RS6 Avant is the unlikely 5031-pound car that can dance. Again, don't get too obsessed with the at-the-limit numbers (in this case, a middling 0.94 g on the skidpad). It feels plenty grippy when you're bombing down your favorite off-ramp.
LOWS: Thirstier than a salmon in the Sahara, exotic price.
So Audi nailed the essentials, and—here's the tricky part, sometimes—it did it with panache. Just look at this thing. Is this not the meanest wagon yet conceived by humankind? After an initial 10-minute drive, we had two text messages from neighbors who'd seen the car on the road. Sample: "Was that an RS6? Is Audi finally bringing that back to the U.S.? Woooowww." The basic shape and stance are so perfect that you recognize this car from 100 paces, but it's also interesting when you zoom in on the details. Check out the yellow decals inside the headlights, warning you not to stare because there are lasers in there. Or the Audi Sport puddle lights when you open the front doors at night. Or the optional blacked-out Audi logos on the grille and hatch. All of it works to reinforce the message that this isn't the Allroad. Maybe the AllRoadCourse.
The RS6 Avant can pretend it's reasonable family transportation if you relax the adaptive suspension and ignore the button on the steering wheel labeled "RS Mode." But that's a difficult button to ignore. The RS modes (two of them, in ascending order of depravity) are customizable, but both of them sharpen the Avant's responses and generally serve to amplify the fun, even jacking up the idle so the car feels like it's straining the leash when it's stopped. You can, of course, make the exhaust louder by selecting either of the RS modes, but in this car, the rumble out back is always rivaled by the soundtrack from the intake. Turbos normally whoosh. The RS6 Avant's sound like Lord Gorg just exited the airlock of his starship to announce an important revision to the food chain and your new position therein.
The RS6 drawbacks, such as they are, tend to fall into the category of self-owns. For instance, the RS6's sleek interior touchscreens on the center stack (a 10.1-inch upper display and an 8.6-inch lower one) look minimalist, which is appropriate since they're minimally functional. Why did Audi kill the scroll knob? If you want to change a radio station, you can use the touchscreen, steering wheel buttons, or volume knob toggle, all of which work equally badly. Try to jump more than two or three stations and the system has a CPU fart and freezes where it is. At first we just thought the car really loved Ozzy's Boneyard.
And there's a lot of hardware crammed into that nose. (That's not unprecedented: The 2003 RS6 engine bay was so cramped you had to drop the front anti-roll bar to do an oil change.) Cooling fans tend to run for a long time after you shut down the engine. The fuel economy stinks—17 mpg combined, per the EPA. And top speed is restricted to 156 mph instead of a claimed 190 unless you ante up for the carbon-ceramic brakes, which cost $8500. You're telling us that the standard 16.5-inch front and 14.6-inch rear rotors can't handle 190? That's so unfair we're going to our room and slamming the door.
But we won't stay mad, because the RS6 Avant validates enthusiasts with its very existence. In a world lousy with 600-hp SUVs, we don't have nearly enough 600-hp wagons. Note that we didn't say "affordable 600-hp wagons." Audi says it builds a two-digit number of RS6 Avants per day at its Neckarsulm plant in Germany, but it'd surely make more if it could find a bigger crowd of buyers willing and able to trade tall stacks of hundred-dollar bills for a rally family sport wagon.
Greatness doesn't come cheap. And left-digit bias, pervasive as it is, has its limits, as exemplified by the RS6's $110,045 base price. It's not like $110,050 is some talismanic psychological threshold for financial responsibility. And in any case, adding a few options quickly bumped our as-tested price to $119,840. But that price looks pretty good when you compare the RS6 with its corporate cousin, the Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo, which is similarly rapid but costs $158,350 before you so much as color in those crests.
Normally when we argue that there's more to a car than its numbers, we're talking about something like a Mazda Miata, which doesn't look quick on paper but is a joy to drive. The RS6 Avant actually does put up some monster numbers. But the experience is even better.
The Audi SQ8 is a high-performance SUV that slots into the Q8 range beneath the incredibly powerful and expensive flagship RS Q8. The SQ8 is typical of Audi’s large, luxury models, with a powerful engine, array of technology and high-quality materials making it both quick and comfortable.
Until late 2020, the SQ8 was fitted with a 4.0-litre V8 diesel engine producing 429bhp but this has now been swapped for a twin-turbocharged petrol V8 of the same size with 500bhp. It's likely a move to help the SQ8 appeal in the US and Chinese markets, and the engine suits the SQ8's character. The SQ8 is fast enough to keep up with most sports cars away from the lights but it's now even less economical.
Helping keep the car’s considerable mass in check, active roll bars use motors powered by the SQ8's 48-volt mild-hybrid system to reduce body roll. These slacken off when you aren't throwing the SQ8 into a bend, resulting in surprisingly good ride comfort, with air suspension able to filter out most imperfections, even when fitted with huge 22-inch alloy wheels. It's a good deal more comfortable than the RS Q8, which is fitted with a more powerful version of the same engine.
The interior is as classy as you’d expect in an Audi SUV costing around £80,000, with three digital screens blending seamlessly with high-quality materials including wood, metal and leather. The infotainment system is easy to use too, making the SQ8 just as easy to operate as an Audi A3. Upgrade to the top Vorsprung trim and the already lavish spec is bolstered with a heads-up display, Bang & Olufsen stereo, panoramic roof and four-wheel steering system to boost agility.
The Audi SQ8 has a huge amount of technology under its bodywork, all designed to deliver the most performance possible while also fighting to keep fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in check. This includes a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that uses a small generator to harvest energy under deceleration. This can be used to power the car's electrics when the engine is off and to give acceleration a small boost.
Audi claims the SQ8 can return up to 23.5mpg, a figure that's down on the 31mpg of the prior diesel but one that isn't likely to shock prospective owners of a 500bhp SUV too much. CO2 emissions are quoted at around 270g/km, which comfortably puts the car in the top BiK bracket for company-car drivers. Car tax will cost £475 in years two to six, then £150 a year thereafter.
All versions of the SQ8 are in group 50, so it’s an expensive car to insure. Maintenance bills are likely to be similarly steep but Audi’s three-year warranty does at least allow for unlimited mileage in the first two years of ownership, with the third year limited to 60,000 miles. Four and five year warranty extensions are available, too.
Engines, drive & performance
Turbocharged mild-hybrid V8 powertrain is mightily impressive
In place of the 4.0-litre V8 TDI diesel engine, which delivered a prodigious 429bhp and 900Nm of torque, Audi has seen fit to draft in a petrol V8 of the same size. This produces 500bhp and should appeal to US and Chinese buyers, where diesels have never been as popular.
The SQ8 surges forwards with every brush of the accelerator pedal, with a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive helping build momentum. The engine sounds good, arguably suiting the SQ8's character better than the diesel. It's the same unit as the one fitted in the Audi RS Q8 but with 92bhp less and a £20,000 lower price tag, which some will view as a bargain. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 4.1 seconds and the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
Despite the performance, it's the composure of SQ8 models fitted with an active roll control system that's most impressive. Fitted as standard in the top Vorsprung trim, it seamlessly reduces body lean without ruining ride comfort, and the result makes the SQ8 feel like it's shrunk around you on certain roads. It's just a shame the accurate steering is lacking in feel.
Despite its size and weight, the SQ8 handles deftly for a high-riding SUV. Switching it into the ‘Dynamic’ drive mode sharpens the suspension, steering and throttle, making it feel more agile in corners. Its lower and wider stance means it feels quite a bit more engaging and enjoyable to drive than the closely related Audi SQ7.
At lower speeds, the steering is accurate thanks to its rear-wheel steering setup, with the quattro all-wheel-drive system and huge tyres working together to provide considerable cornering grip. You can turn into bends quicker than you’d think and then use the torque of the V8 engine to fire you out the other side.
The car’s sizable power output is also beneficial at motorway speeds, too, with 70mph possible with little effort from the engine, making the SQ8 a very refined and relaxed long-distance cruiser.
One of the best attributes of the SQ8 is that it remains comfortable, despite its sporting upgrades and massive 22-inch alloy wheels. The standard air suspension system does an excellent job of soaking up bumps, even in its firmest mode, with the typical sharp ridges and potholes found on UK roads only occasionally making it into the cabin. It has a more comfy, laid-back feel than the Audi RS Q8, which some buyers may prefer.
Most of the Q8's excellent interior design is carried over, including a touchscreen MMI infotainment system with clear and intuitive menus. Sports seats with diamond-stitched leather add to the sense of occasion, while aluminium or carbon trim can be fitted depending on your taste and the car's specification. It all adds up to a model that feels as sturdy and luxurious as you'd hope.
It might be less practical than the massive Audi Q7 on which it’s based but the SQ8 still offers lots of room for front and backseat passengers. You'll also be able to carry a lot more with you than in any sports car, with 605 litres of space behind the rear seats. Folding them forwards extends this to 1,755 litres, a figure that's competitive with a lot of performance estates.
There's also slightly more space than you'll find in the back of the BMW X6, with 580 litres of boot space, while the Mercedes GLE Coupe matches the Audi for luggage room.
The SQ8 is one of Audi's flagship models, so it's as full of technology and safety kit as you'd expect. This should make it very reassuring to drive with family and friends onboard, but reliability is less well known.
The car is based on the same underpinnings as the Q7 but a lot of its technology, including its 48-volt mild-hybrid system and electric compressor are too new for us to judge their reliability. Big, fast SUVs are also very complicated and tend to put lots of strain on their components, so some teething problems should probably be expected.
Long-distance drivers will find that the SQ8 can ease the strain of hours spent behind the wheel, with enough sensors and systems to practically drive itself in traffic on the motorway when the Tour Assistance Package is fitted. In fact, a tablet-sized computer is required 'behind the scenes' to interpret all the data from the car's five radar sensors, five cameras and 12 ultrasound sensors.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its all-wheel-drive system, Audi has created a special edition of the Audi TT RS. And it's appropriately, if not imaginatively, called the TT RS 40 Years of Quattro (or 40 Jahre Quattro in the original German). It takes the already extreme sports coupe and adds wilder visuals and an extremely limited production run to make a very special car.
The most obvious change to the outside is the color scheme. The car and its wheels are painted white with red, black and silver hash marks, "Quattro" logos and black rocker panels that echo the Audi Quattro Coupe rally cars of the 1980s. A new hood vent, front splitter, front canards, side skirts, rear diffuser and larger rear wing add more visual punch and provide a bit more downforce.
The interior is spruced up with black leather and Alcantara with white stitching and some embroidery in the seatbacks. The shifter surround is painted to match the exterior. A rear seat delete option is available, which also adds a big carbon fiber chassis brace. This option reduces weight by 35 pounds and provides more chassis rigidity.
Mechanically, this TT RS is unchanged. It has the same turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder that makes 394 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. But it does drop its standard top-speed limiter, so now it can reach 174 mph.
In keeping with the "40" theme, only 40 examples of this TT RS will be built. They'll carry a high price, too, at 114,040 Euros, which converts to $133,649.
Clean styling, a beautiful interior, and smart tech abound in the new A6.
Competition among luxury car makers has ratcheted up to a fever pitch over the past several years. But while the primary battlegrounds in this particular war are among crossovers and SUVs, the fight for supremacy in the luxury sedan segment remains fierce with the usual combatants from Germany mingling with an upstart brand from South Korea and still pesky rivals from Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Among these vehicles sits the new 2019 Audi A6. Fresh off a comprehensive redesign that sees it successfully marry traditional luxury car qualities with the sort of smart, understandable tech implementation that's set the company apart over the past several years. You have a huge amount of choice when shopping for a vehicle in this class, but it's hard to ignore a vehicle that ticks as many boxes as the A6.
Audi styled the A6 in the same language as the bigger A8, but it's like the smaller car is speaking a different dialect of said language, at least in terms of exterior design. The A6 gets more assertive, less conservative lines throughout, more emotive headlights and taillights, and a generally more stylish character. A big part of that added character comes from the car’s massive grille and flat-ish hood – this is a clean attractive piece of design.
Out back, a strip of chrome that runs between the taillights gives a sense of width, although the fake exhaust outlets that sit in the lower bumper aren’t exactly stylish. Please delete these silly things, Audi. No one is going to lose their hair over the absence of visible exhausts, but they'll probably be confused as hell about fake ones.
Where the A6's exterior has dialectical differences with its big sibling, the cabins of the two cars are pretty much identical. Three displays dominate the interior, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster running Audi's Virtual Cockpit, and a pair of touchscreen displays – 10.1 inches up top and 8.6 inches on the bottom – resting on the center stack.
It's a thoroughly modern look that, along with the real metal accents, contrasts classically with the warmth of the matte wood trim and soft leather upholstery. We really like the strip of metal that runs across the dash, bisecting the climate-control vents and making the cabin feel even more spacious than it already is. There are less successful touches here, though, particularly with the electric shift lever, which is cumbersome and unlikable when changing gears. But that's a minor flaw in an otherwise handsome place.
The A6 matches up neatly against its rivals in the comfort department, offering comfortable, supportive front seats, ample legroom on the pleasant rear bench, a quiet, smooth ride, and plenty of space for stuff. That's enough for a near perfect score.
Up front, the Valcona leather-upholstered seats are easy to spend hours in, with our tester’s offering heating and ventilation. The range of adjustment is impressive, while fans of sitting on the floor – your author is raising his hand – will love the A6's seating position. Visibility from the driver's seat is excellent fore, aft, and laterally.
Climb in back, and the bench is a fine place to hang out. Headroom is ample, although we aren't so sure about stuffing people in three abreast (in fairness, that's true of the competition, too). The A6 offers more legroom – 37.4 inches – than any of its competitors aside from the odd-duck Infiniti Q70L, a vehicle that essentially dates back to 2011. This Audi does a fine impression of an executive sedan, even with the front seats setup for your six-foot, one-inch author.
Ride quality is adequate, although our tester's optional 21-inch wheels and 35-series tires wouldn't be our first choice. They look good and contribute to the A6's sharp handling (more on that in a bit), but the A6's available 19- and 20-inch wheels would unquestionably provide a smoother ride.
As part of its redesign, the A6 (and its sexier sibling, the A7) adopted the screen-intensive layout of the A8 and Q8. That means a digital instrument cluster running Audi's excellent Virtual Cockpit software. The 12.3-inch display essentially relegates the primary 10.1-inch display atop the center stack to backup status with its reconfigurability and the dearth of information it offers. Aside from the climate controls, you can easily operate the A6's primary systems via the instrument cluster and the controls on the steering wheel.
The lower 8.6-inch touchscreen is home to the climate controls and also doubles as a screen for native handwriting inputs. Interacting with the lower screen is a pleasure, particularly compared to other twin-screen setups like those found on Jaguar Land Rover's newest products.
The screens respond quickly to inputs and with a reassuring pulse from a haptic feedback motor. The native handwriting software is an enjoyable and intuitive way of searching for destinations in the nav system, too. Just swipe and flick each letter or number and the main display actively responds as the driver adds additional characters. It's one of the rare cases where touch controls feel not just equal to a physical knob, but vastly superior.
The only point the A6 fails to earn is for its audio system. The 15-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system packs 705 watts of power, but it simply doesn't have the presence of the competitive Burmester sets found in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5-Series. The pop-up tweeters are a neat touch, but the plastic speaker grilles lack the overall panache of the metal grilles of the Audi’s German rivals.
Audi offers the A6 with either a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. The four-pot packs 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, while the V6 is good for 335 hp and 369 lb-ft – go for the former if you just want a comfortable, relaxed ride. The latter, meanwhile, is a delight, with ample low- and mid-range torque. It feels like the engine this car was meant to have.
Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the 3.0-liter V6 neatly bridges the gap between the base model and the 444-hp S6. Acceleration is smooth in most circumstances, although kicking the car into Dynamic mode brings about more aggressive transmission behavior and a sharper throttle response.
The pairing gets the A6 to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 130 mph. That's a smidge behind the Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic, which has 362 hp and 369 lb-ft and can hit 60 in five seconds flat. The speedster's choice, though, is the BMW 540i. With 335 hp and 331 lb-ft, it can scamper to 60 in 4.6 seconds. The Jaguar XF is also moderately quicker with its range-topping S trim scooting to 60 in 5.0 seconds thanks to its 380-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6.
Our only real complaint with Audi's engine is that it doesn't sound very nice relative to the sonorous and smooth-sounding straight-six from BMW or as serious as the Jag's V6. That's a minor quibble, though. This is a very likable powertrain.
Every A6 features a multi-link suspension while an optional sport suspension reduces the ride height by three-quarters of an inch. The Prestige trim offers adaptive dampers (the former is a $1,050 option and comes with 20-inch wheels, while the latter carries a $2,500 premium and includes four-wheel steering). The impressively composed ride while cruising firms up neatly in Dynamic mode. This is an agile, fun-to-drive sedan that limits body roll without feeling uncomfortable. Feedback through the nicely weighted steering is suitable for the A6's purpose as a sporty luxury sedan, although the chassis is more isolated than the equivalent 5 Series or E-Class.
Our 2019 A6 Prestige carries the $2,750 Driver Assistance package, although that setup comes standard on the 2020 A6 Prestige. It includes full-speed adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assistance, full-speed automatic emergency braking, an advanced lane-keeping system with lane centering, traffic sign recognition, and a surround-view camera system. That's a decent roster of equipment, especially as the Prestige trim includes Audi's advanced Matrix LED headlights.
These advanced headlights shine brighter without blinding oncoming traffic, although that particular bit of tech isn't active in the U.S. Still, the technology is there once the federal government approves the tech.
With the 3.0-liter V6, the A6 returns 22 miles per gallon city, 29 highway, and 25 combined, although premium fuel is a requirement. That's true of most of the A6's rivals, though, as well.
The 2019 BMW 540i xDrive nets 21 city, 29 highway, and 24 combined, while the Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic and Jaguar XF S are down a bit more, with 20 mpg city, 28 highway, and 23 combined from their respective V6 engines. But while each of these cars requires premium fuel, they return better fuel economy than the V6-powered Genesis G80, which runs on 87 octane but will only net 18 city, 24 highway, and 20 combined.
Prices for the 2019 A6 start at $58,900, although the range-topping Prestige demands $67,100. For 2020, a four-cylinder engine drives the A6's starting price down to $54,900 and the Prestige's to $64,800.
Add the $595 Firmament Blue paint, $3,200 Individual Contour seats (heating, ventilation, and a massage function), $2,750 Driver Assistance package, $1,050 Sport package, $1,000 21-inch wheels, and the $600 Cold Weather package, and the price climbs to our tester's $77,290.
The BMW 5 Series is slightly more affordable to start ($53,900), although a six-cylinder all-wheel-drive model begins at $61,750. Build one to match the A6 and the price is closer to the $80,000 mark. The Mercedes E-Class starts at $54,050 but going for the six-cylinder model with all-wheel drive requires $61,550. Again, though, the Audi comes in ahead – a similarly equipped E450 costs just over $79,000.