Review: Audi A6 (2011 – 2018)
Impressive cabin with a straightforward layout. Very quiet and refined on the move. Navigation and leather seats as standard. Efficient 2.0 TDI provides good performance.
Less standard equipment than previous model and optional extras can very quickly push the price up.
Audi A6 (2011 – 2018): At A Glance
Audi's new A6 saloon of 2011 was completely revamped to present an up to the minute alternative to other premium saloons such as the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Jaguar XF.
It certainly looks good and has a far sleeker and sharper design than before. It doesn't break too many boundaries but then most people who buy these posh saloons don't necessarily want to be noticed. Discreet but stylish is where it's at.
There's a hint of A8 in the styling and this continues inside, where the layout has a modern and minimalist design with great attention to detail and a quality feel throughout. It's a car that you could happily spend many an hour in.
It's just as impressive on the road with superb refinement, ride comfort and very little noise. And then there's economy.
The 2.0 TDI model can average more than 64mpg in some versions. That's according to the claimed figures of course, but in real life you'll probably see 50mpg which isn't at all bad for a big saloon. It doesn't hang around either and has plenty of torque giving a great turn of pace.
It's so good, it's right up there alongside the BMW 5 Series and while it may not quite match the BMW on some fronts, it trumps it on specification thanks to a very high level of standard equipment that includes leather upholstery, cruise control, Bluetooth and navigation.
What does a Audi A6 (2011 – 2018) cost?
Audi A6 (2011 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
The interior of the A6 draws on the design of the luxury A8 and A7 Sportback with similar switches, controls and instrument dials which give it a more upmarket feel than the previous A6 and helps lift it above the A4. As you'd expect from a car at this level, there's a very solid and well engineered feel to the interior while the high centre console and slightly angled dash make it feel like it's wrapped around you.
Thanks to a neat design and tactile materials the A6 is far more inviting than the austere E-Class although it doesn't have the charm of a Jaguar XF. It's very simple to get on with though and isn't cluttered with too many buttons, despite all the onboard systems - that's because most are controlled through the MMI (multi media interface) system via the dial next to the gear lever. It's very intuitive and straightforward to use.
Impressively the A6 comes with sat nav as standard. It's a good system and as it works off an SD card is quick at working out routes and has a nice easy-to-understand display. It comes with dynamic route guidance which will take you around traffic and includes Bluetooth so you can take calls on the move.
MMI Navigation Plus is available as an optional extra and gets a larger 8-inch higher resolution screen along with a DVD drive, two card readers and a 20GB of music storage. It also gets Audi's MMI touch with black panel technology - one of Audi's neatest features.
It's a clever touchpad that allows you to actually write out letters and numbers with your finger which the sat nav will recognise, so you can spell out your destination without taking your eyes off the road.
Other new innovations include an optional head-up display similar to the system BMW introduced a few years ago which is available on the latest 5 Series among others.
This projects key data (such as fuel economy and speed) onto the windscreen so that it cleverly appears as if it's floating around 2.5 metres ahead of the driver. However, in a touch of one-upmanship, Audi has developed a full colour display that also lets you know what the speed limit is thanks to a video camera in the rear-view mirror that detects speed limit signs.
Practicality is a strong point for the A6 too. It has a large boot with a wide opening and with 530 litres of space is slightly bigger (by 10 litres) than the 5 Series plus there's a split-folding rear seat as standard so you can carry longer items. Passenger space in the back is good with plenty of headroom and knee space, even for taller people, although the large central transmission tunnel mean it's a real squeeze with three in the back.
Standard equipment from launch (April 2011):
SE models have an engine start-stop system with energy recuperation, 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 R17 tyres, an electric parking brake, dynamic suspension, Audi drive select with four pre-configured modes, a spacesaver spare wheel, Driver's Information System (DIS), cruise control, light and rain sensor, Audi Parking System Plus, tyre pressure monitoring display, ESP, keyless go, split-folding rear seat back, Milano leather upholstery, MMI Navigation (SD card) with a 6.5-inch retractable colour display, 2 SDHC memory card readers (up to 32GB) and single CD player, 10 loudspeakers including subwoofer, Bluetooth, dual-zone electronic climate control, a four-spoke leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel (with paddles for automatic transmissions), auto-dimming rear-view mirror, inlays in aluminium trigon, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, halogen headlights.
S line models add 18-inch '5-twin-spoke' design alloy wheels with 245/45 R18 tyres, sports suspension lowered by 20mm, front Sports seats, black Valcona leather with embossed S line logo in the front seat backrests, S line three-spoke leather multi-function Sports steering wheel, gear lever in black perforated leather, headlining in black cloth, S line badges on the front wings, S line front and rear bumpers, side ventilation grilles and side skirts, chrome-plated trims for exhaust tailpipe, platinum grey front spoiler lip and diffuser insert, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED rear lights and headlight washers
Options include comfort seats with heating, cooling and massaging functions, acoustic glazing, supple leather trimming for the centre console, a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system with 1200 watts of power, TV reception and various connectivity upgrades for the MMI system.
Child seats that fit a Audi A6 (2011 – 2018)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 (2011 – 2018) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.8 TFSI 190 S tronic to 3.0 TFSI quattro
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 18–58 mpg
You'll probably read it in every single review of the A6 but the obvious comparison has to be with the BMW 5 Series. The big difference is that the 5 Series is rear-wheel drive whereas the standard A6 is only front-wheel drive.
However, with such smooth power deliveries the A6 engines, the difference is not as pronounced as you'd expect.
Most models come with a quattro version, which helps with traction in the wet, handy when pulling out of a wet junction, plus of course it's handy when it snows - as long as you have the right tyres on. But on many occassions, knowing that all four wheels have traction gives you confidence in situations where a rear-wheel drive car would struggle.
In fact the A6 handles well, very well considering this is a sizeable saloon that's not far off five metres long. Much of that is down to its low weight. At 1575kg (for the 2.0 TDI) it is considerably lighter than diesel alternatives like the 5 Series and E-Class which tip the scales at more than 1700kg. That difference is the equivalent of carrying around two grown men in the back.
This helps it feel nimble and precise on the road with impressive body control in bends or when accelerating and braking hard. The slight disappointment is the steering. Audi has made much about this A6 having more driver involvement but the new electromechanical steering feels detached and could do with more weight.
It's still direct and responsive, but doesn't feel as involving as a 5 Series. However, in normal everyday driving it's really not that much of an issue, so most drivers are unlikely to notice.
What does stand out is the supremely comfortable ride. It's been a criticism of Audi models in the past, especially the sporty S line models, but this A6 has no such issues. It's quiet, forgiving and is just as happy over potholed city streets as it is on bumpy and uneven country roads. This makes the interior a very serene place to be, whether you're driving or being passengered.
The standard suspension set-up is a good balance between handling and ride. Sports suspension which is 20mm lower comes as standard on S line models (it's an option on SE versions) and while it's noticeably firmer in corners, manages not to detract from the overall ride comfort which is an impressive feat. You can also choose the optional adaptive air suspension which continually monitors the road conditions and adjusts the dampers to suit.
The engine line-up is very straightforward. Most people will go for the 2.0 TDI which accounts for three quarters of all models sold. And it's easy to see why. This may be the smallest engine in the range but it's no poor relation and provides more than enough performance.
It's quiet too and while it's never going to be welcome in your local library, it's certainly more than acceptable. That's especially true inside where impressive sound insulation means it only gets loud when you really rev it and there's no need to do that as peak torque is available from just 1750rpm.
The standard six-speed manual gearbox has been much improved with a more positive and less springy action, so driving quickly and smoothly is easier than in the old A6.
The 3.0 TDI is a smooth V6 diesel that's available in two different outputs. The standard front-wheel drive version has 204PS and is available with the Multitronic automatic gearbox while the top quattro version has 245PS and gets a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch gearbox as standard.
Both models offer impressive performance but it's the more powerful quattro that really stands out thanks to 500Nm of torque - 100Nm more than the front-wheel drive model.
It's amazingly effortless when you ask it to accelerate and yet wonderfully refined too, making it an ideal engine for the A6. There's a typical V6 character to it, with a nice low thrum when you press the accelerator.
|1.8 TFSI 190 S tronic||48–50 mpg||7.9 s||130–138 g/km|
|2.0 TDI||58 mpg||8.7 s||129 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 190 quattro S tronic||57–58 mpg||7.7 s||128–133 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 190 Ultra||66 mpg||8.4 s||113 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 190 Ultra S tronic||67 mpg||8.2 s||109 g/km|
|2.0 TDI multitronic||57 mpg||8.2 s||132 g/km|
|2.0 TDI Ultra||63–66 mpg||8.4 s||113–119 g/km|
|2.0 TDI Ultra S tronic||64–67 mpg||8.2 s||109–116 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI 252 quattro S tronic||41–42 mpg||6.5 s||153–158 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI Hybrid||46 mpg||7.5 s||145 g/km|
|3.0 BiTDI 320 quattro Tiptronic||46–47 mpg||5.0 s||159–164 g/km|
|3.0 BiTDI quattro||45 mpg||5.1 s||166 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 204||53 mpg||7.6 s||139 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 204 multitronic||55 mpg||7.2 s||133 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 204 quattro S tronic||50 mpg||7.0 s||149 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 218 quattro S tronic||55–58 mpg||6.6–7.7 s||128–138 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 218 S tronic||60–64 mpg||7.1 s||114–127 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 245 quattro||48 mpg||6.1 s||156 g/km|
|3.0 TDI 272 quattro S tronic||54–55 mpg||5.5 s||133–138 g/km|
|3.0 TFSI quattro||34 mpg||5.5 s||190 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi A6 (2011 – 2018)
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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