Automobile Magazine had a Four Seasons A6 when this current-generation car first came out, and I have to say that I like this version a lot better. I remember our long-term example having a brittle ride over broken pavement, for which I figured the optional eighteen-inch wheels were at least partly culpable. Well, this car rides on nineteens, and I was impressed with the suspension’s ability to stoically absorb a bad-road assault and yet transmit none of the shock to the cabin. At appears that, as far as the A6 is concerned, Audi chassis engineers didn’t just launch it and leave it.
Of course, the biggest mechanical difference between then and now is the supercharged V-6, which arrived last year. This engine is just so sweet, much more refined than most supercharged units. It casts a glow wherever it appears. The power almost feels like overkill, but with gas mileage this reasonable, I say “Why not?” Consider it the thinking man’s alternative to the V-8 (which now has been rendered totally superfluous).
There still are a few items that I’m not totally sold on. For all the talk praising Audi interiors, I find the A6 cabin a little wanting. Yes, everything feels solidly put together, but the design is a bit . . . bland. And the variable-assist steering has light-but-alright efforts when you’re moving along, but it switches to absurdly overboosted when you slow to parking-lot speeds, which is unnecessary and somewhat annoying.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor
Like Mr. Lorio, I gauged this A6 in the context of our long-departed long-term A6, and I was impressed. Audi’s new 300-hp, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 clearly has no problem propelling the A6 through town or on the interstate. As in the bodacious new Audi S4, which uses a more powerful blown 3.0-liter V-6, the supercharger isn’t noisy or distracting but creates plenty of power without killing fuel economy.
Despite the extra urge, the A6 is no sports car. Handling is OK but not as precise as BMW’s 5-series, and the steering is very light (it should be perfectly fine for the typical A6 owner, however). As Lorio mentioned, the earlier A6’s harsh ride has been improved significantly.
Like every Audi in recent memory, this A6’s cabin is wonderfully nice. Still, I must share two niggles: the front seats don’t raise high enough in the front of the cushion to comfortably support my thighs, and the door armrests feel as though they’re several miles from my torso. Hopefully Audi will correct these concerns with the next-generation A6, which is reportedly due in early 2011.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
I still am not sold on Audi’s technology-infested cabin. Just because technology allows designers to do certain things, like pair the fan speed and temperature and HVAC to one knob, doesn’t mean they should. Other quirks, like the center-console-mounted volume knob make no sense at all. Yes, there is a redundant control on the steering wheel, but, silly me, I still reach for the radio unit, since that’s how every other car I’ve ever been in is designed. Of course, other automakers are pulling similar foolishness these days, but I somehow always expect everything to work better in an Audi just because it all looks so good.
My other complaint is with the steering. Variable resistance is fine, but not when you’re in the middle of a turn, which happened to me a few times in just in the parking garage.
These complaints aside, the A6 remains a very fetching vehicle. As Rusty noted, it’s not as sporting as the 5-series, but I’d add that the Audi’s torquey 3.0-liter definitely feels stronger than BMW’s twin-turbo unit when it comes to these heavy cars.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
It’s interesting to read David Zenlea’s complaint about the location of the volume knob, because in our Four Seasons review of the 2005 Audi A6, we declared that placement to be a brilliant piece of ergonomic design. Sure, if you don’t drive an Audi every day you might have a hard time finding the control, but with familiarity you’ll see that its placement is exactly where your right hand naturally falls. For me, the placement if perfect, but to each his own, I suppose.
As with all Audis, the rest of the A6’s cabin is very well screwed together. There are no squeaks or rattles, the materials appear first-rate, and the seats are quite comfortable. My only complaint is that it’s a too monochromatic.
As for the ride quality, others have noted that this A6 absorbs the bumps better than our Four Seasons car, which seems counterintuitive when you consider that this car has larger wheels and a sport suspension. The sport suspension also helps correct the suspension floatiness that we noted in our Four Seasons car. As others have noted, the 300-hp supercharged V-6 in this car delivers power flawlessly – not that we have many complaints with the 265-hp naturally aspirated V-6 that is also available in the A6.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
2010 Audi A6 3.0 TFSI quattro
Base price (with destination): $51,025
Price as tested: $57,525
Servotronic speed sensitive power steering
Full-size spare tire
Sirius satellite radio with 3-month subscription
Dual-zone automatic climate control
12-way power adjustable front seats
Heated front seats
Front and rear fog lights
Rain sensing wipers
Front side airbags
Side curtain airbags
Heated sideview mirrors
Tire pressure monitoring system
Options on this vehicle:
Prestige model – $5000
-Bose sound system
-18 in. wheels
-Xenon plus headlights
-LED daytime running lights
-Adaptive self-leveling headlights
-Audi advanced key
-Driver side seat memory
-Power adjustable steering column
-Auto-dimmer rearview mirror
19 in. sport package – $1500
-19 in. sport wheels
-3-spoke multi-function sport steering wheel
Key options not on vehicle:
Cold weather package – $450
-Heated steering wheel
-Heated front and rear seats
Rear side airbags – $350
18 / 26 / 21 mpg
Size: 3.0L supercharged V-6
Horsepower: 300 hp @ 5100-6800 rpm
Torque: 310 lb-ft @ 2500-5100 rpm
Weight: 4123 lb
19 in. wheels
255/35 performance tires