2008 Audi A6 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 8, 2008

The 2008 Audi A6 has plenty of competition, but its graceful look and feel set it apart from more brutal German and more clinical Japanese iron.

The editors of TheCarConnection.com read the latest reviews and researched federal data on the new 2008 Audi A6 to put together this conclusive review. TheCarConnection.com’s car experts also drove the 2008 Audi A6 to bring you more details on the mid-size Audi, to explain why some reviewers rated it as they did, and to help you decide if the A6 is the right car for you.

Available in both sedan and Avant wagon forms, the 2008 Audi A6 sports a svelte shape fronted by Audi's new wide-frame grille, which TheCarConnection.com's team of car experts thinks is a big distraction from the otherwise clean lines of either the wagon or four-door. For the current model year, Audi has made new exterior trim standard, including "S-line" badges, 18-inch wheels, and new front and rear bumpers.

The Avant wagon has some specific styling cues other than its handsomely rounded haunches, and includes a cargo-securing rail system behind the seats; it can transport 20 cubic feet of cargo with the seats in place and 58.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. A power-operated tailgate is optional.

The 2008 Audi A6's interior isn't as handsome as the previous generation's, but it's still a functional and cleanly designed place to work, with wood and metallic accents livening up the typically dark trim. It's also stocked with safety gear, earning top safety ratings from the government and the insurance industry.

Review continues below

A choice of powertrains across sedan and wagon lines includes a 3.2-liter V-6 that generates 255 horsepower, as well as a 4.2-liter V-8 rated at 350 horsepower and available only in a sedan body. Power is transferred in front-drive models by a gearless Multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), which has been programmed so that it can be "shifted" like a manual transmission in seven stages. Models with standard quattro all-wheel drive, including the V-8 sedan, use a six-speed automatic transmission. There's also a high-performance S6 powered by a V-10 engine, which TheCarConnection.com covers separately.

With any of the engines, the A6 lineup has a distinctly light touch to its controls, far from the hefty responses you'd get from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5-Series. The steering is deft and quick, the brakes responsive, and even with the less powerful V-6 engine, the A6 feels lighter on its feet than most of the cars in this class.

All A6 audio systems get MP3 capability, and a trip computer/driver information center is standard on all models. There's also a new overhead console, and a rearview camera system has been added to the Technology Package. A wealth of high-tech options includes optional adaptive xenon headlamps, which automatically pivot to illuminate the road through corners, and a Multi-Media Interface (MMI), which incorporates navigation, audio, climate control, and other operations into a single system operated by a joystick-like center console control and dashboard-mounted video display.

8

2008 Audi A6

Styling

The Audi A6 2008 is a sleek and sophisticated vehicle that also delivers supreme functionality.

Available in both sedan and Avant wagon forms, the 2008 Audi A6 sports a svelte shape fronted by Audi's new wide-frame grille, which TheCarConnection.com's team of car experts thinks is a big distraction from the otherwise clean lines of either the wagon or four-door. For the current model year, Audi has made new exterior trim standard, including "S-line" badges, 18-inch wheels, and new front and rear bumpers.

From the outside, The Auto Channel calls the 2008 A6 Audi "a lovely thing to look at," with a silhouette that "projects an image of quiet competence.” Kelley Blue Book explains the "bold trapezoidal grille--tall and split into two elements--is flanked by sleek xenon headlamps," while ConsumerGuide describes the sedan's trunk as "long and fairly wide." From the back, The Auto Channel notes "dual exhaust outlets and a subtle lip on the trunk's top ridge (they call it a spoiler) add to an authoritative appearance." Car and Driver simply refers to its “attractive interior and exterior,” while Cars.com says, “aside from its large snoutlike grille, Audi hasn't taken many gambles with the A6's exterior styling, which has a reserved but classy look to it from many angles.” ForbesAutos likes the “understated but refined design.”

In regard to the 2008 Audi A6 Avant Wagon, Edmunds says the "A6 Avant wagon is an excellent choice, providing arguably more style than the other wagons in its class can muster."

The 2008 Audi A6's interior isn't as handsome as the previous generation's, but it's still a functional and cleanly designed place to work, with wood and metallic accents livening up the typically dark trim. “If you bought one based on its luxurious cabin alone, you wouldn't be disappointed,” Edmunds says. ConsumerGuide finds the layout "handy and intuitive," with the exception of the CD changer, which "resides in the glovebox out of easy driver reach." Kelley Blue Book thinks the "leather surfaces are inviting" and deems the overall interior design "satisfying for long term touring." Cars.com observes, “Everywhere you look in the A6 there's unexpected detailing…It's these details—along with Audi's characteristically good materials and tight-fitting trim pieces—that make the A6's cabin so inviting.” Even the stalwarts at Consumer Reports note “the interior is well-finished and filled with nice details.” Edmunds attests, “for those looking for a more sporting look inside, a new S line interior package is now available that includes front sport seats, a three-spoke steering wheel and various decorative additions.”

8

2008 Audi A6

Performance

The 2008 Audi A6 is especially entertaining with a V-8 and quattro, but all versions ride extremely well.

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com were enthusiastic about the overall great performance of the 2008 Audi A6.

A choice of powertrains across sedan and wagon lines includes a 3.2-liter V-6 that generates 255 horsepower, as well as a 4.2-liter V-8 rated at 350 horsepower and available only in a sedan body. Power is transferred in front-drive models by a gearless Multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), which has been programmed so that it can be "shifted" like a manual transmission in seven stages. Models with standard quattro all-wheel drive, including the V-8 sedan, use a six-speed automatic transmission. There's also a high-performance S6 powered by a V-10 engine, which TheCarConnection.com covers separately.

As The Auto Channel explains, "two engines are available in the A6, a 350-hp V8" and a "255-hp, direct injected 3.2-liter V6." The Los Angeles Times recommends upgrading to the V-8, calling it "as state-of-the-art as a V-8 can currently get," with "equal parts power, composure, comfort and excitement." In terms of acceleration, Edmunds finds the V-6 a "little short on low-end torque," which is listed at "243 pound-feet." In contrast, the V-8 delivers "325 lb-ft of torque," enough for Edmunds to call the Audi A6 2008 "as smooth and potent as any eight-cylinder in the class." They conclude “neither will set the world ablaze with their acceleration, but these world-class engines manage to propel the A6 with more than enough gusto for most luxury buyers.” ForbesAutos says the A6 “is equally happy cruising on the highway as it is taking spirited turns on back roads. It's especially fun to drive with the optional V8 engine.”

Transmission gets the thumbs-up from reviewers as well. Edmunds says, “The 3.2 front-wheel-drive sedan has a continuously variable transmission (with driver-selectable shift points), while all other A6s come with a six-speed automatic transmission and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system.” The Los Angeles Times finds the six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission "so well geared that the engine is barely turning 2000rpm at 65 mph." Cars.com remarks, “The six-speed automatic's shifts are almost imperceptible during leisurely driving, but become appropriately firm when the car is driven hard.” Kelley Blue Book notes that a "lack of a manual transmission option could be a turn-off."

According the Kelley Blue Book, the "Audi's famed quattro all-wheel-drive system gives the A6 a real advantage." ConsumerGuide agrees, declaring "AWD versions are near the top of the class for agility, grip, and poise," and adding that "the brakes deliver smooth, short stops." For performance, “We timed a 3.2 Quattro sedan at 7.9 seconds from zero to 60 mph,” Edmunds says. “As expected, the V8 is as smooth and potent as any eight-cylinder in the class and posts a 0-60-mph time of 7.1 seconds.”

“Quattro's downside, as with any all-wheel-drive system, is reduced fuel economy,” ForbesAutos reports. The Los Angeles Times notes "fuel consumption on the freeway can be as impressive as 26 mpg." ConsumerGuide points out "Audi recommends premium-grade gas for the V6 and requires it for the V8." The EPA rates the A6 at 18/27 mpg as a front-drive V-6 with the CVT, which no reviews seemed to encounter, and at 16/23 mpg for the sedan with all-wheel drive and the V-8 engine.

With any of the engines, the A6 lineup has a distinctly light touch to its controls, far from the hefty responses you'd get from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5-Series. The steering is deft and quick, the brakes responsive, and even with the less powerful V-6 engine, the A6 feels lighter on its feet than most of the cars in this class. “While the 2008 Audi A6's handling is softer than that of other top midsize luxury cars, it provides an excellent ride around town, along with predictable reflexes and precise steering through turns,” Edmunds says. "During high-speed cruising, the A6 provides a serene cabin and a confident feel at the wheel.” ForbesAutos observes the A6 “excels at isolating occupants from road irregularities while offering ample agility for more-aggressive driving.” “Handling is responsive and secure,” Consumer Reports finds, and “the ride is firm yet comfortable.” However, Car and Driver says, “Ride gets harsh with larger wheel options,” and it contradicts other sources when it reports “overly sensitive throttle and brakes as well as numb steering will annoy the enthusiast.”

9

2008 Audi A6

Comfort & Quality

A few minor quibbles aside, the 2008 Audi A6 delivers comfort and class fit for well-to-do families.

With premium finishes and attention to detail, 2008 Audi A6’s comfort and quality impress most reviewers, including those at TheCarConnection.com.

Driver comfort in the A6 Audi is exquisite, according to The Auto Channel, which states the "sporty seats adjust infinitely, it seems, with plenty of bolster and just the right degree of firmness." ConsumerGuide continues the accolades, noting that "vast legroom with ample headroom combine for great overall comfort." Consumer Reports calls the seats “excellent.” Cars.com reports “the optional front sport seats are comfortable and supportive.”

In the backseat, Kelley Blue Book rejoices over "plenty of headroom and knee space," but warns, "the center passenger must suffer the indignity of a stiff perch and a high floor hump." ConsumerGuide applauds the 2008 Audi A6's "contoured, not overly firm seat." ForbesAutos counters the compliments: “the steeply raked windshield, high beltline and low roofline create a sense of claustrophobia because the side windows are relatively small.” Cars.com adds, “the rear seats have firm cushioning and the backrest is relatively upright, but there's adequate room for two.”

Edmunds reports “all A6s are particularly roomy, while the Avant wagon offers a spacious 34 cubic feet behind its rear seats and 59 cubes with them folded.”

Audi has built its reputation on well-crafted interiors, and ConsumerGuide enjoys the 2008 Audi A6's expected "smart, modern appearance." Edmunds elaborates, describing the interior as filled with "exquisite materials, meticulous fit and finish and an overall attractive design."  Cars.com points out that it's the "details" that "make the A6's cabin so inviting." The Los Angeles Times hints at a few of these details by listing "heated front seats and a cool Bose audio system" as highlights of the Audi A6 experience.

In terms of quietness, ConsumerGuide notes the Audi A6 "cabin is impressively free of wind noise, even at high speed," and when discussing cargo space, likes the "nonintrusive strut hinges and handy grocery-bag hooks."

A plain-Jane endorsement from Consumer Reports includes the nugget that “reliability has been above average of late.”

9

2008 Audi A6

Safety

The Audi A6 2008 raises the bar in terms of safety, but the feds haven’t tested it yet.

A healthy dose of standard safety features and strong crash-test scores for the A6 Audi 2008 impressed reviewers and TheCarConnection.com.

Edmunds points out that the "A6 performed admirably in crash testing done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, earning the top rating of 'Good' in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests." In fact, the 2008 Audi A6 did so well that the IIHS handed the sedan a Top Safety Pick award for "good performance in front, side, and rear tests and standard electronic stability control."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not tested the A6.

The admirable list of standard safety features available on the 2008 Audi A6 includes "Antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags, an electronic stability system, a tire pressure monitoring system and a first-aid kit," according to Cars.com.

Edmunds notes "rear-seat side airbags are optional," and Audi offers safety options like a lane-departure warning system and adaptive cruise control for an additional measure of safety.

9

2008 Audi A6

Features

From performance enhancement to safety and comfort, the 2008 Audi A6 2008 has features galore.

Reviewers had fun tinkering with all the bells and whistles available in the 2008 Audi A6, even though a few features have a bit of a learning curve.

Kelley Blue Book put together a list of stand-out standard features, which includes "front and rear fog lights...leather seating, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with touch controls, one touch up/down windows, cruise control, power trunk release, 10-speaker sound system with six-disc CD/MP3 changer and 18-inch alloy wheels."

Technology reigns with a transistorized fist inside the A6. Kelley Blue Book concedes that the "high-tech interior may be a bit overwhelming" for some. Edmunds agrees, saying "there is a steep learning curve involved" when it comes to using the MMI vehicle management system. The 2008 Audi A6 MMI was a point of contention with many reviewers. ConsumerGuide calls the feature a "distraction versus conventional switchgear," but admits it is "easier to use than BMW's iDrive." Cars.com says “too many features that are needed on a frequent basis — like the air conditioning settings — are controlled by MMI when a simple switch would suffice.” ForbesAutos adds, “The number of switches in the cabin is staggering. The dash and instrument panel resemble a jet plane's cockpit, especially when they light up at night.”

The Auto Channel enjoyed driving their test Audi A6 2008 with the Premium Package, which includes "power tilt and slide sunroof, heated front seats, Bi-Xenon headlights, Bose sound system, auto-dimming mirror with compass, auto-dimming and electric outside folding mirrors, and memory function for driver's seat." The total bill for the Premium Package is $3,550.

The Technology Package is another popular 2008 Audi A6 upgrade. The package retails for $3,350, according to ConsumerGuide, and includes "rear-obstacle-detection system, navigation system w/voice recognition, rearview camera, keyless access and starting."

Stand-alone options on the A6 Audi 2008 are plentiful as well, with Edmunds listing "19-wheels with performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, an adaptive air suspension...adaptive cruise control, a navigation system, iPod integration and voice-recognition technology" as some notable highlights.

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May 19, 2017
2008 Audi A6 4-Door Sedan 3.2L quattro

Audi A6, International stealth but staunchly German

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New, the A6 S Line was over forty grand. At that price let's get to what I don't like about the car. 1. Heavy trunk lid does not open by itself. 2. CD player tucked to the far side of the glove box (which does... + More »
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8.6
Overall
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Styling 8.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 9.0
Safety 9.0
Features 9.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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