German automakers are notorious for their nearly identical sedans, offered in three lengths. That can be a tough spot for the A6, which doesn't quite look like an A8, doesn't look too dissimilar from the A4, and doesn't have quite the same flair as the A7 hatchback. Don't get us wrong; it's a good-looking sedan with handsome sheetmetal and crisp, clean lines. It's just a little more anonymous than some of the other Audis, making it a little more difficult to spend the extra money over the A4 sedan on styling alone.
The styling inside, though, remains singular. Audi succeeds in subduing the effect of many lines and textures better than any car company. The A6's 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. The A6's instrument panel is slim and rather low, which means the optional navigation system's LCD screen must flip incongruously out of the dash. And Audi's signature red lighting doesn't always work with some of the more exotic interior treatments, like its layered-oak look.
The A6 simply executes its global mission, to be the executive four-door that sells en masse, around the world. Still, it stings that its signature nose-to-ground grille is becoming a meme around the industry, for better or worse. Not only that, the A6's signature sill line--the "tornado" line--has now been copied by automakers on cars as prosaic as a Hyundai Elantra.