Audi A6 Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
2012 Luxury Car Buyer's Guide - Top 10 Picks
If you're going to make changes, don't do it half way. That must be the philosophy at Audi with the redesign of the Audi A6 for 2012. Nothing from the ground up was left untouched in the 2012 Audi A6, and the result is a midsize luxury sedan aimed at catching one's attention both inside and out. Perhaps a bemusing assessment from Audi's own crew about the new interior says it best. It should be considered "truly a respite from mediocrity."
Somehow we find it hard to accept that any auto starting in the $50,000 range before options could be classified as mediocre inside or out, or under the hood for that matter. But it sure got us thinking about what the A6 does have that will keep our interest intact.
An initial point is the exterior where an extended wheelbase shortens the overhangs at front and rear for a tauter, more dynamic appearance. It retains a classic four-door A6 look, but with a more streamlined, contemporary feel. The requisite bib grille, squinting headlamps and low mounted air intakes announce its authority. You just want to get inside and learn if its dominant look will part traffic.
The interior has its own story. The A6 is so laden with high technology almost to the point of confusion, that it takes a thorough and thoughtful layout to make it all function as intended. Like its big brothers, five-door A7 and A8 sedans, the A6 has the centered navigation screen that when in use emerges from the console and tips upward upon ignition. Tiny tweeter speakers rise from the corners of the instrument panel. Dials function through a mixture of coordinated actions that make it best to learn ahead of time and not experiment in traffic. That gives a clue this isn't your ordinary auto interior. Need more? An optional premium sound Bang & Olufsen audio system can be added for true wraparound sound. And the CD changer hides safely in the glove box.
With Audi a global trend setter in auto internet, one can expect to find the latest and greatest technological advances and won't be disappointed. Besides "Audi connect" that creates an on-the-go internet hot spot to bring real time weather, traffic conditions and fuel prices as they change, it displays 3-D look Google Earth images. A touch pad feature recognizes fingertip handwriting in several different languages. Night vision assist and head-up display that displays a speed posting at eye level at the windshield keep potential interior distractions at bay.
And Audi Pre sense is one of the numerous high tech safety technologies designed for accident prevention.
Visually the interior sports a cool, collected mixture of luxury trim elements including some wood and chrome that span the IP in straight, broad strokes for a cool, contemporary feel.
But "gotta have" strength comes in depth in two drive trains. Audi considers the all-wheel-drive A6 quattro sedan with the 3.0-liter, 310-horsepower V-6 the model of choice for most American buyers. That engine, combined with an eight speed ZF automatic, is the bread and butter version that earns 19 city and 28 miles to a gallon. For 2012 there's an available 2.0-liter, four cylinder turbocharged front-drive version that generates 211-horsepower, with 24/33 MPG ratings. Those engines expand the trim levels to five, both as Premium and Premium Plus and a Prestige version of the V-6.
A relocation of mechanicals that accommodate the wheelbase resizing also improves handling in the 2012 A6, making it more sure footed and exciting on any road surface. Our Road & Travel crew thinks spring construction would be a great excuse to check its driver's capability on winding back roads without having to apologize for taking the long route to work.
For more info on the Audi A6, click here.