I enjoyed the smooth, instant power of the supercharged 3.0-liter. I'd need some more seat time to say it's better than BMW's silky six, but it's definitely up to the task of moving this 4000-pound vehicle with authority. The ride/handling balance was spot on, but the steering wheel is lifeless, more in line with a Buick Century than with the A6's German competitors.
It is indeed surprising that a company whose motto is "Progress through technology" doesn't include more features on a sedan costing $52,425. To get a backup camera, you need to upgrade to the "Prestige." Want rear-side air bags? That's a $350 option. I should note, however, that the BMW 5-series and even the new Mercedes-Benz E-class are just as stingy on standard equipment, and neither offers standard all-wheel drive.
Concerns over what you don't get melt away when you take in the A6's cabin. There's a reason that Audi is the benchmark for interior design, and this model is no exception. The combination of high quality materials, beautiful shapes, and unusual colors (especially the cocoa headliner) make for a high-class experience.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor