2005 Audi A6 Four Seasons Test

Tim Andrew Tyson Sadlo

Mechanical problems with the A6 were of the annoying and inconvenient --rather than the expensive--variety. At least all eight (!) of our trips to the dealer for repairs were covered by Audi's four-year/50,000-mile warranty. Twice we had to replace the switch for the keyless start, and the software also had to be updated. The driver's window opened and closed on its own schedule, not ours, so we replaced the switch. The gas-filler door wouldn't open when the remote release button was pushed, necessitating another trip to the service department. Plus, faulty service reminders popped up intermittently throughout the year.

If those constant reminders of the problems that seem to be inherent with high-tech German engineering were highly aggravating, we at least were pleasantly surprised by the A6's relatively frugal fuel economy. Over the year we averaged 22 mpg, which is about what we expected considering its 19/26 mpg city/highway EPA rating. However, more than one driver averaged between 28 and 30 mpg during extended highway trips, and with gasoline tipping the $3.00 per gallon mark, that's reason enough to celebrate. Still, our A6 cost $51,420 as tested and ran on premium fuel, so that better-than-expected fuel consumption didn't come cheap.

Even with all its positive attributes, in the end, the A6 left us strangely unmoved. If looks alone could thrill, it would be a great car. The A6 is beautifully designed, and it has ample room for four adults, a smooth V-6 engine, and impressive fuel economy. For some people, that would be enough. But it had far too many quality problems, and its chief competitors, the BMW 5-series and the Mercedes-Benz E-class, are a step up in both performance and prestige. Until the A6 becomes a true driver's car, it is destined to remain a nice car for people who want to buy into the sport sedan club without actually knowing what a sport sedan can be.

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