The midsize 2010 Audi A6 is the ideal vehicle for the socially mobile family in need of generous interior space and all-wheel-drive capability, but not at all interested in an SUV. Offered in both Sedan and Wagon (known as the Avant) forms, the A6 combines traditional Audi styling, luxury and performance with the sure-footedness of quattro all-wheel drive. Larger than the A4, but not as bulky (or expensive) as the A8, the A6 offers a range of models and features with broad appeal to the premium midsize luxury sedan buyer.
YOU'LL LIKE THIS CAR IF...
If you're in the market for a premium sedan whose road manners are as smart as its styling and price, the 2010 Audi A6 should be on your list. Those who live in foul-weather regions will appreciate the impressive capabilities afforded by the A6's available quattro all-wheel drive.
YOU MAY NOT LIKE THIS CAR IF...
If you prefer simple controls and easy-to-understand components, the A6's high-tech interior may be a bit overwhelming. If you're a driving enthusiast, the lack of a manual transmission option could be a turn-off.
WHAT'S SIGNIFICANT ABOUT THIS CAR
A more powerful 3.2-liter V6 engine is added, as are new Sport Packages that include 18-inch wheels with all-season tires or 19-inchers with performance tires, a sport steering wheel and a lowered sport suspension. Daytime running lights are made standard on halogen lamp-equipped cars, while the Cold Weather Package gains a heated steering wheel with shift paddles.
In the 2010 Audi A6, supreme confidence on both expressways and winding roads is markedly enhanced by the sure-footed feel of quattro all-wheel drive. Acceleration is quite satisfying with the V6 and the automatic transmission responds effectively. No, it's not a powerhouse, but few drivers really need the V8's extra horses. A nice compromise between the two is the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that develops 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, as well as comes with standard quattro all-wheel drive. Only if you get a thrill from lunging, full-throttle takeoffs would the V8 be a better bet. Overall, the A6 experience falls just a little short of serene – mainly because the ride can get bouncy on washboard-stiff surfaces and through harsher bumps, though the suspension reacts rapidly.
OUR FAVORITE FEATURES
Quattro All-Wheel Drive
For negotiating curvy canyons or snowy streets, Audi's famed quattro all-wheel-drive system (available on 3.0 and 4.2 trims only) gives the A6 a real advantage.
Multi Media Interface
Although it subjects its operator to a learning curve, Audi's MMI system is a sleek solution for the control of in-cabin technology.
From the driver's seat, the A6 comes across as one serious sedan. Leather surfaces are inviting, though seats are on the firm side. They're satisfying for long-term touring, however, with helpful but not intrusive support and bolstering. Backseat riders get plenty of headroom and knee space, but the center passenger must suffer the indignity of a stiff perch and a high floor hump. Fully calibrated gauges are especially easy to read, though the MMI (Multi Media Interface) control can be a handful. Don't expect an unobstructed view over the left shoulder, but visibility is good otherwise. An electronic dashboard button opens a glove box that is short on space.
The new look of Audi is evident across the A6 body. Up front, a bold trapezoidal grille – tall and split into two elements – is flanked by available xenon headlamps and cool LED daytime running lights; LEDs also comprise the rear taillights. Designer Achim Badstubner says it's the kind of dramatic front end that promises "overtaking prestige on the Autobahn," informing drivers who see it coming in the rearview mirror that a serious machine is on its way.
NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
Even in its most basic form, the A6 feels loaded to the brim. Standard features include anti-lock brakes (ABS), front and rear fog lights, front and rear head-curtain airbags, 8-way power driver and passenger seats with four-way power lumbar, leather seating, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with touch controls, one touch up/down windows, cruise control, power trunk release, 10-speaker sound system with six-disc CD/MP3 changer and iPod integration system. Also standard is a power sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels. The A6 3.0 adds a supercharged engine, quattro all-wheel drive and 18-inch wheels, while the V8 models get heated front seats, Bose audio, power adjustable steering column and bi-xenon adaptive head lamps.
Options vary by trim and include such fine features as bi-xenon headlamps, Bose audio, Audi Side Assist lane change assist and 18-or 19-inch wheels. The Cold Weather Package includes heated seats (front and rear) and a heated steering wheel with shift paddles. DVD navigation, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera are also available.
UNDER THE HOOD
While the newly improved 3.2-liter V6 is more than sufficient to move the A6, the few extra dollars spent on the 3.0-liter supercharged engine is probably well worth it. It's simply a matter of how quickly you wish to be moved, and how important it is to have quattro all-wheel drive underfoot. The 3.2-liter V6 is smooth, quiet and refined, delivering excellent low-end torque for quick starts, as well as respectable highway fuel economy, but it's only offered with front-wheel drive. The V8 turns the A6 from quick to remarkably quick, but you'll pay a premium at both the dealership and the gas pump.
265 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
243 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28
3.0-liter V6, supercharged
300 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
310 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26
350 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23
The front-wheel-drive A6 3.2's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $46,000, while the A6 3.0 quattro model starts closer to $51,000. The V8-powered A6 4.2 lists for around $62,000, and fully loaded tops out under $65,000, leaving the A6 in a more affordable position than a loaded Mercedes-Benz E550 and close to the same price as a similarly-equipped Lexus GS 460. A look at the New Car Blue Book Value page will show you the typical transaction price paid at the dealer, so be sure to check it out before you begin negotiations. As for resale, the A6 3.2 falls behind the Mercedes-Benz E350, as does the V8 4.2 model when compared to the E550. The A6 bests the Cadillac STS, but falls short of the Lexus GS 460. The Avant Wagon holds slightly better resale values than its Sedan counterpart.