Review: Audi A6 (2004 – 2011)
High quality and refined cabin. Good engines including frugal TDI diesels. Maximum five-star crash test rating. Classy image.
Earlier 2.0 TDI PD engine not especially refined and had some problems. Originally shown as a 4 seater and rear seat not very roomy.
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Audi A6 (2004 – 2011): At A Glance
The Audi A6 of 2004 is a very good looking, refined and comfortable cruiser with a high-class cabin and was one of the best all-round executive saloons available. It may not have the most daring design, but the understated looks are part of the appeal and echo the classy image of the car. Inside it's very impressive with an easy to use but upmarket cabin that is well finished with a durable and hardwearing feel.
It's no surprise that comfort and refinement are the overriding features that truly stand out. On the road the A6 doesn't quite deliver the same level of driver involvement as a BMW 5 Series, but it's still keen enough in corners with good roadholding and a forgiving ride, only the rather artifical steering lets it down. But on the motorway the A6 effortlessly cruises along with minimal noise levels.
There's a good choice of engines in the range too, from the frugal 2.0 TDIe that averages 53.3mpg to a wonderful 3.0T FSI with 290bhp. The Audi A6 is really at its best with the larger engines and an automatic gearbox, allowing you to enjoy its relaxed nature and comfort.
In 2008 the Audi A6 was significantly revised with a new exterior - most notable at the back where there are fresh LED tail lights - while new engines were introduced too, making it an even better car all round.
What does a Audi A6 (2004 – 2011) cost?
Audi A6 (2004 – 2011): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 546 litres
It may not have the dramatic style of the Jaguar XF, but when it comes to quality and user-friendliness, the cabin of the Audi A6 is one of the best. There's a genuine feeling of solidity about everything, from the reassuring clunk of the doors as they close, to the substantial central console, it's a great blend of style and substance.
As with all cars at this level, there's a range of interior trim materials and colours, which not only allow you to personalise the cabin if the A6, but can be combined to give it a very different feel - from traditional wood and brown leather, to more modern gloss black and aluminium detailing. But whatever you opt for, you can be assured that the fit and finish will be first class. It's a cabin which feels every inch a luxury car.
Details such as the electric handbrake and colour screen built into the dash reinforce this feeling. The main controls, such as the stereo and sat nav (if fitted) are controlled via a dial just behind the gear lever - what Audi calls the MMI (or multi media interface). It's like the BMW iDrive system, but a little easier to get to grips with. The climate control is operated separately but can be a little tricky to get used to as it's not particularly intuitive. However, once you've worked it out, it's quick to use.
Facelifted models 2008 come with a new version of the MMI system which is easier to operate thanks to a new joystick controller, plus there's an optional 40GB music hard drive. Annoyingly though, the off-clutch foot rest is still very narrow and too upright to be comfortable on long journeys.
The dials are easy to read and are separated by a digital display which shows - among other things - an excellent trip computer which is ideal for keeping an eye on your average fuel economy or range. Elsewhere the driving position is very good with lots of adjustment so even the tallest of drivers can get comfortable. Those in the back get well looked after too with plenty of legroom and head space too, although the large central transmission tunnel means you can't really get three people across the back.
Child seats that fit a Audi A6 (2004 – 2011)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi A6 (2004 – 2011) like to drive?
The inevitable comparison whenever driving an executive saloon is with the BMW 5 Series and on very demanding or twisting roads, you will notice quite a difference. As the standard Audi A6 is front-wheel drive as oppose to the rear-wheel drive set-up of the BMW, it doesn't have the same poise when accelerating out of bends. However, the A6 is available with Audi's quattro four-wheel drive - something which isn't offered by BMW - and this gives it amazing surefootedness, especially in the wet.
But the steering of the A6 tends to be more of an issue. It's usefully light for parking and does weight-up nicely to give a decent feel of control on the move, but it feels strangely artificial at times, which means the A6 isn't as enjoyable to drive as it perhaps could be. However, the use of aluminium in the body means it's a light car for its size and surprisingly nimble, dealing exceptionally well with quick changes in direction.
It's certainly a nice car to drive and really excells when cruising on the motorway where it's quiet and relaxed. Visibility is pretty good too, so although it's no small hatchback, it's still fairly easy to squeeze it into parallel parking spaces. On most models the ride is forgiving, if always on the firmer side. However, sportier S line models with larger wheel and lower, sports suspension can be a little too stiff for many and tend to become quite crashy on bumpy and rough roads.
The A6 is really at its best with the larger engines - the best being the superb 3.0-litre V6 TDI which comes with quattro as standard. With 233bhp and 450Nm of torque, giving it effortless pulling power from low down. This engine works superbly well with the optinonal six-speed S tronic automatic gearbox and is our pick of the range.
The smaller 2.0 TDI with 140bhp doesn't really suit the A6 as it's rather noisy and not especially refined, but it is punchy and gives surprisingly good pace. However, when revved it can get a little clattery and lacks the smooth nature of the other engines. It's efficient, emitting 159g/km of CO2 and averaging 46mpg, but when the A6 was facelifted in 2008 a new 2.0 TDI replaced this engine and it's a huge improvement.
Unlike the older TDI PD engine, the newer unit is a common rail engine (so is usually seen as a TDI CR) which means it's far quieter and smoother, with a more predictable power delivery. With 170bhp on tap it performs very well, helped by plenty of torque. A lower powered version (with 136bhp) was also introduced as an economy version. Called the 2.0 TDIe it emits 139g/km of CO2 and averages 53mpg, but is still decent to drive with good in-gear punch. It sometimes struggles if you indulge in enthusiastic driving, but for motorway and town routes, it's more than good enough.
When the Audi A6 was launched there was a 2.4-litre petrol with 177bhp but this was dropped at the end of 2008 in favour of a silky-smooth 2.8 FSI with 220bhp. It doesn't feel particularly quick, but is great for gently wafting along. There was also a 256bhp 3.2-litre V6 which was replaced (at the same time) by a superb 3.0 T FSI with a supercharger, which means instant acceleration and a great engine sound. It boasts an impressive 290bhp along with 420Nm of torque.
|2.0 FSI||36 mpg||8.4 s||187 g/km|
|2.0 TDI||46–50 mpg||8.9–10.3 s||149–159 g/km|
|2.0 TDI multitronic||49 mpg||8.9 s||153 g/km|
|2.0 TDIe||53 mpg||10.3 s||139 g/km|
|2.0 TDIe multitronic||49 mpg||9.9 s||151 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI||38 mpg||8.2 s||174 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI multitronic||37 mpg||8.5 s||179 g/km|
|2.4||29 mpg||8.9 s||231 g/km|
|2.4 quattro||26 mpg||9.1 s||257 g/km|
|2.7 TDI||41–46 mpg||7.9–8.1 s||164–184 g/km|
|2.7 TDI multitronic||44 mpg||7.9 s||169 g/km|
|2.7 TDI quattro||40 mpg||8.2 s||189 g/km|
|2.8 FSI||33–34 mpg||7.3–7.9 s||196–207 g/km|
|2.8 FSI quattro||31 mpg||7.7 s||212 g/km|
|3.0 TDI quattro||35–42 mpg||6.6–6.9 s||179–213 g/km|
|3.0 TDI quattro tiptronic||40 mpg||6.8 s||189 g/km|
|3.0 TFSI quattro||30 mpg||5.9 s||219 g/km|
|3.2 FSI quattro||26 mpg||6.8 s||255 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi A6 (2004 – 2011)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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