The 2013 Audi A6 and S6 are good-looking mid-size sport sedans, with a handsome profile, nicely contoured sheetmetal, and crisp details. But all this said, if you've seen its more stylish A7 hatchback counterpart, you might end up feeling a bit ambivalent about the A6's look.
In an era when other German luxury marques--and luxury brands in general--have been moving a bit away from copying entire design themes up and down their size and price scale, Audi has headed in quite the opposite direction. It's given its A4, A6 and A8 sedans a common design language and similar proportions, yet the A6 is neither as attainable as the A4 or the social-climber device that's the A8. Compounding the fizzle for this mid-sizer is that the "tornado" line that slopes up into its rear haunches, which gives this model some of its presence and flair, is now in the standard design playbook and seen even on economy cars like the Hyundai Elantra.
Audi had up until a few model years ago distinguished itself with more delicate details, but the immense ground-to-nose grille in the latest A6 and others doesn't entice us--it goads you into staring it down. All told, the A6's sheetmetal speaks more to its global mission as more of an everyman's sedan than to its U.S. mission as a zingy alternative to the Mercedes-Benz E Class, Infiniti M, and BMW 5-Series.
The styling is far more successful inside, where the instrument panel is slim and rather low, with the optional navigation system's LCD screen flipping out of the dash. The overarching shapes are pleasant, and the concave door trim panels and boatlike dash line are handsome in a vintage way (just like they are on the Jaguar XJ and the Nissan Maxima). And the center-stack area is canted very slightly toward the driver, though not at all in a way that limits space.
All that said, the A6 interior has dozens of pieces, panel joints, air vents, and metallic trim, which can add up to a busy look in some combinations, although a clear control layout helps with that. One styling mismatch we've noted is the red interior lighting, which simply does not work with some of the wood trims.