2014 Audi A6 review

16 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2014 Audi A6 review отключены
Audi A6 Electric Cars

2012 Audi A6

For all the platinum-level hits Audi seems to have cranked out over the last decade or two, the German automaker hasn t yet mastered the ultra-competitive midsize premium segment dominated by those dastardly rivals at BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

With a new emphasis on both emotion and technology, Audi thinks it finally has the right recipe in its new-for-2012 A6 sedan. Forgoing the V8 sedans that anchor the top end of BMW and Mercedes-Benz s lineup of 5-Series and E-Class sedans, the A6 3.0 TFSI seen here offers a supercharged and remarkably fuel-thrifty take on luxury for the well-heeled.

Premium midsize sedans represent a huge portion of the global luxury segment, but they re sort of the industry whipping post. Not as accessible as compacts like the A4 and 3-Series, this class isn t as overtly luxurious as the big uns like S-Class and 7-Series.

In fact, cars like the A6 are workhorses in Europe and Asia, where they serve as taxis and limousines. But in this market, the A6 is aimed at upper-crust types who want a feel-good premium tweener.

This latest A6 is hardly Audi s first effort at tackling this market; its bloodline stretches back into the late 1960s, passing through Audi s tumultuous unintended acceleration scare (thanks 60 Minutes! ).

For various reasons, A6s have always played third fiddle to the E-Class and 5-Series in terms of sales figures, but the 2012 might just change that. For starters, it s an all-new design that s much more emotionally captivating than its dapper but staid predecessor. It also draws heavily on big brother A8 for much of its driver assistance technology.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder serves as the base engine, while our tester was optioned up with the available supercharged 3.0.

Our tester was no base model thanks to its loaded up Prestige package with an S Line (think sporty-looking) trim package. Still, hedonists can take an astounding $10,000 more in additional options like full-LED headlamps and a $5,800 audio system.

What s it up against?

Its natural foes are, of course, the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Equivalent power can be found with either a 535i or an E350. Then there s the hot-to-trot Lexus GS 350, which is similarly new for 2012, while the Infiniti M37 and even the Cadillac CTS are probably worth a showroom visit for conscientious shoppers.

How does it look?

Audi s ever-growing lineup is perhaps most stylistically centered around its A7 five-door hatchback, a model very closely related to the A6. As a result, it should come as little surprise that the A6 shares much of the A7 s design.

From the front, Audi s signature shield-like grille is its most prominent feature, but bird-like headlamps help give it a somewhat sinister look.

Oddly, the blackout panels below the headlamps on our tester looked a bit downscale — as though they were covers for where fog lamps should be installed. A6 s relatively long 114.6-inch wheelbase gives it a lengthy profile that s thankfully light on the stylistic accouterments seen on some rivals.

A small window behind the rear doors has become an Audi hallmark, and while it makes the car s greenhouse a bit busy, it definitely aids visibility. Compared to the more sensuous A7, the rear of the A6 is a bit of a letdown. Elongated tail lamps and a simple ducktail design integrated into the deck lid are joined by a somewhat tacked-on-looking rear diffuser between the exhaust pipes that might aid aerodynamics but looks like an afterthought.

Our tester s Aviator Blue metallic paint was uniformly applied, but the color seems to be about the blandest interpretation of blue we ve ever seen.

And on the inside?

Audi has long set the standard for well-built and elegant interiors, but it is only recently that the company s design studios have begun to try out more emotionally engaging designs. Their efforts have certainly paid off.

Clad in velvet beige leather with traditional glossy burled wood trim, our tester was about as conservatively optioned an A6 as you can order; unique trims and colors are on hand for more adventurous buyers. A three-spoke wheel wrapped in buttery smooth leather affronts the driver ahead of a low dashboard that s light on buttons. But don t be dismayed; the A6 is about as high-tech as they come.

A plethora of switches and knobs take center stage in the console on three sides of the automatic gear lever, while a big LCD screen whirs to life from the top of the dashboard. This screen features everything one might expect from a premium sedan like navigation and Bose audio, but it ups the game with Google Maps satellite imagery and an innovative touch-sensitive cursor like that on a laptop computer for certain menu inputs. Looking for a Chinese restaurant?

Audi s new Audi Connect system (which is included for six months but costs a few bucks a month afterward) can be fired up by spelling out Chinese with your finger in the touch pad.

The good and bad news is that the system can be fairly safely used while the vehicle is being driven.

Back seat passengers are treated to exceptional room and, in our Prestige package tester, their own climate control. Further back, the trunk features a wide opening but its 14.1 cubic foot space is unimpressive. Materials selection remains an Audi forte; our tester s leather seats were among the nicest we ve ever sampled, while every material touched felt better than the last.

Audi A6 Electric Cars

But does it go?

At our tester s heart was a 3.0-liter V6 engine with a supercharger and Audi s FSI direct injection. All that tech brings forth 310 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque spread between 2,900 and 4,500 rpm.

A6s with the 3.0-liter are exclusively all-wheel-drive (2.0Ts come standard with front-wheel-drive), while an eight-speed automatic with a manual shift gate puts the power to the ground. Though it might tip the scales at a hair over 4,000 lbs. the A6 is quite peppy.

At idle, the engine is imperceptibly smooth, but a light tap at the throttle awakens the beast that lies within. At all speeds, the A6 is quick, but it really awakens for high-speed passing. Since there s little wind or road noise, it s not hard to accidentally tickle triple digits.

Perhaps our tester s blah paint color was a good choice after all.

Fuel economy is rated at an impressive 19/28 mpg according to the EPA; we averaged 23 mpg combined and saw a solid 29 mpg on a highway jaunt. quattro — as Audi calls its all-wheel-drive system — means that grip is seemingly endless; push the A6 beyond its limits and its stability control system will gently intervene.

Despite its performance credentials, however, the A6 seemed to come up just a bit short as a true driver s car compared to either the 535i or the Lexus GS 350. Its steering weight can be adjusted to increase effort, but that doesn t make a change in feel. Meanwhile, the suspension is sport-oriented firm, but the certain sense of isolation that we found appealing on highway treks remains when the road turns twisty even with the Sport Package installed on our test car.

Body lean is negligible and the car confidently motored its way through the esses, but it went through the motions with a vague sense of detachment.

Leftlane s bottom line

We wanted to fall in love with the A6 since we re smitten with its A7 sibling, but we wrapped up our evaluation with a high level of respect an enthusiasm and not love. Still, this is a highly competent sedan that will perform admirably the way most drivers enjoy their premium midsize sedans. We have no doubt that it will go a long way toward solidifying Audi as a legitimate competitor in the premium midsize segment.

2012 Audi A6 3.0T FSI quattro base price, $49,900. As tested, $61,530.

Metallic paint, $475; Prestige Package, $6,880; Sport Package, $1,500; LED headlights, $1,400; Audi side assist, $500; Destination, $875.

Words and photos by Andrew Ganz.

Audi A6 Electric Cars
Audi A6 Electric Cars
Audi A6 Electric Cars

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