2016 Audi A6 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
June 9, 2016

The 2016 Audi A6 builds on an already impressive set of features, abilities, and styling to yield a safe, fun, high-tech luxury sedan.

The Audi A6 already was a very good car, but the 2016 model year takes the brand’s refinements, improvements, iterate theory and applies it yet again. The net result is a car that’s simply better in most of the ways that matter.

Small visual updates give cues to the mechanical and technological updates found elsewhere. And the front and rear ends, slight changes in the shape of the "Singleframe" grille and details of the bumpers and trim mark the A6 and S6 as well as S line vehicles; a new LED headlight design is also visible at the nose. At the rear, new trapezoidal tailpipes are found on A6 models. New interior colors like Flint gray and Cedar brown are available, while the S6 gets optional Arras red leather and carbon fiber inserts with red thread accents.

Inside the 2016 Audi A6’s cabin, you’ll find essentially the same amount of space and comfort found in previous models is present, meaning there’s ample room in the front seats for a range of heights and body types, while the rear seat is perhaps a bit more snug than in some of the competition, owing to its swept-back, almost coupe-like roof line. With 14.1 cubic feet of trunk space, there’s enough—if not ample—cargo space, too.

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Options and equipment even at the base level remain impressive in the 2016 Audi A6, though as with any luxury brand, it’s toward the top of the spectrum that you’ll find the most compelling configurations. Of course, you’ll also pay for high-tech extras like Google Earth maps and mobile 4G LTE with wi-fi hotspot access.

Under the hood, the 2016 Audi A6 sees several important updates, with 2.0T and 3.0T variants offered in addition to the high-performance S6. The 2.0T model now gets a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Front-drive is standard in the 2.0T, with a new 7-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission; quattro all-wheel-drive is optional and is exclusively paired with the familiar 8-speed Tiptronic transmission.

Upgrading to the more potent 3.0T model brings a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine rated at 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, and increase of 23 hp from the previous version. A Tiptronic transmission and quattro all-wheel-drive are standard on the 3.0T.

The A6 TDI had been certified with 3.0-liter, 240-hp, 428-lb-ft diesel engine with quattro all-wheel-drive and an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, unchanged from last year’s version.

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted diesel engines in this model illegally cheated federal tests and polluted beyond allowable limits. As part of unprecedented settlements with federal and state governments, Volkswagen agreed to buyback from owners diesel-equipped models of this vehicle. To determine eligibility for all affected Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi models, Volkswagen set up VWDieselInfo.com for owners. (Owners of affected vehicles can enter their VIN numbers to see if their cars are eligible for buyback.)

The high-performance Audi S6 also gets upgraded, with a 30-hp rise to 450 hp output. Quattro all-wheel-drive and an S tronic transmission are also standard on S6 models.

Driving the new A6 in early European specification, the improved power in the base model and 3.0T is immediately apparent. Passing power, even in the front-drive 2.0T version, is ample for all but the most aggressive drivers and situations. The new dual-clutch transmission is likewise quick to respond and smooth in its shift behavior. Though the new S tronic dual-clutch isn’t markedly improved over the Tiptronic automatic it replaces in the base model, it’s expected to be somewhat more efficient.

Both the NHTSA and the IIHS have carried over the A6's excellent crash-test scores for 2016. It's scored five stars in NHTSA testing and top marks of “Good” in all categories tested by the IIHS, including the tough small-overlap impact test. It's not only one of the safest sedans in its class, it's also one of the safest sedans on the road—period.

A new set of technologies further improve the experience behind the wheel and in the cabin of the 2016 Audi A6, including new driver assistance feature and an upgraded MMI infotainment system. The new driver assistance features include revised Side Assist and Active Lane Assist to help avoid collisions when a vehicle is in the driver’s blind spot by providing steering input. Secondary Collision Assist can apply the brakes on its own to avoid secondary collisions (collisions after an initial accident). A night vision system now recognizes more types of animals; and an available head-up display has been redesigned for better integration into the dash.

The improvements to the MMI infotainment system include a new Nvidia quad-core Tegra 30 processor, capable of much faster information and graphics processing. Other features include Audi music interface, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple Siri Eyes Free integration, Facebook and Twitter alerts, and more.

The 2.0T base model is rated 24 mpg city, 35 highway, 28 combined. With quattro, four-cylinder versions are rated at 22/32/26 mpg, 20/30/24 mpg with the supercharged V-6.

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2016 Audi A6

Styling

Quietly handsome, the Audi A6 isn't a show-stopper like its A7 hatchback cousin.

The 2016 Audi A6 doesn't stray far from the previous year model's look and feel, nor far from the Audi core design theme of the last several years. A handsome, sleek-looking sedan, the A6 remains a conservative option among its competitive set, choosing to fly under the radar rather than set off visual alarms.

For the 2016 model year, the Audi A6 gets some new visual cues, but they're subtle and few. The front and rear bumper areas see most of the exterior tweaks: the nose gets a slightly restyled lip spoiler, a reshaped "Singleframe" grille, new LED headlight shapes, and subtly different chrome trim. At the rear, standard trapezoidal tailpipes and available mesh inserts (S6, S line models) very subtly upgrade the look. Inside, new Flint gray and Cedar brown upholstery colors are available in A6 variants; the S6 now offers an Arras red leather option, as well as red-tinged threads inside black carbon fiber trim.

Otherwise, the A6's interior look remains the same as last years, which is to say: precise, if somewhat busy at times. There are dozens of panel, trim, and upholstery joints and seams. Each is executed with a surprising degree of precision, but the sum can be somewhat frenetic, if subdued in hue. With a low, slim dash and instrument panel, Audi supplements the information display with a pop-up central screen and available head-up display in front of the driver.

Ultimately, the Audi A6 continues to present the face it wants to, the sensibility which it must: that of the no-nonsense business person who owns it. For those seeking more expression, passion, or raw aesthetic appeal in a (very) similar package, there's always the Audi A7.

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2016 Audi A6

Performance

Shop the S6 or the A6 3.0T—the power is better here.

The 2016 Audi A6 enhances the performance of last year's model in base 2.0T, 3.0T, and S6 forms.

New to the 2016 Audi A6 in 2.0T form is an upgraded version of the 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged inline-4, now rated at 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. That's a rise of 32 horsepower and 15 pound-feet over the 2015 model.

In addition, the 2016 Audi A6 2.0T gets an S tronic 7-speed dual-clutch transmission as standard equipment for front-wheel-drive models. The quattro all-wheel-drive version of the 2.0T continues with last year's 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. The new dual-clutch gearbox delivers precise shifts and is expected to slightly enhance gas mileage—and best of all, it avoids the constant-RPM drone and sluggish feel of the previous CVT transmission, which is no longer offered. 

The 2016 Audi A6 3.0T also gains power, rising to 333 hp and 325 lb-ft, up from last year's rating of 310 hp and 325 lb-ft. That small improvement is enough to be felt, especially in mid-speed passing maneuvers such as those typically found on two-lane byways.

Audi's A6 TDI, with its turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and 240-hp, 428-lb-ft ratings, has been withdrawn from sale while Audi reaches an agreement with the EPA on how to fix diesel emissions that were purposefully understated in official testing.

For the performance enthusiast, the 2016 Audi S6 is the best option, improving power output and handling performance. For the 2016 model, the S6 upgrades from 420 hp to 450 hp from an enhanced version of the same 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. The S6 comes standard with quattro all-wheel drive and an S tronic dual-clutch transmission.

While handling is unobjectionable in all A6 variants, it's a mostly passion-free affair in the standard A6 2.0T. The A6 3.0T is more engaging, especially with the 2016 model's slight uptick in power output, but again, handling is competent but not inspired.

In the Audi S6, the brand has made strides to increase the fun factor, and succeeds wildly with the upgraded 450-hp output; handling, while more precise and sportier than elsewhere in the A6 range, is still that of a large-ish luxury sedan, however, without that glimmer of sports car ability one might hope to find.

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2016 Audi A6

Comfort & Quality

Fit and finish are top-notch, but the Audi A6 has a little less room in the back seat than its rivals.

The 2016 Audi A6 is a touch more comfortable in the rear seat than its sexier A7 alternative, but it’s still no spacious executive sedan—even on paper.

While two 6-footers can fit in the rear of the A6, their knees are likely to be right up against the backs of the front seats. The A7, on the other hand, feels more spacious, despite having tighter entry and less headroom.

The A6’s front seats offer very good leg and head room, though taller drivers may find lateral knee space limited by the wide center tunnel area. Audi's seats are very comfortable for long road trips, and the headrests get a special nod—they don't stick out too far, a problem with other active-headrest designs. Heated front seats are standard as well, and on the most expensive models, they're ventilated for improved hot-weather comfort.

The A6’s 14.1 cubic feet of trunk space is not only smaller than the A7’s hatchback area, it's even a bit small by luxury-sedan standards. The trunk’s cargo floor is also rather high.

Fold-down rear seats are standard, though they don’t fold completely flat. Like many other German sedans, too, the A6 doesn't offer up tons of space to store smaller items. Cupholders are small and maintain a tight grip, but the doors have molded-in niches for water bottles. The center armrest bin is a bit shallow, and the glove box doesn’t offer much storage space either.

The A6 is right at the center of the mid-size segment in overall size, but thanks to a longer nose and a shorter trunk lid, the A6 offers somewhat less space inside.

Overall, the A6 family of sedans has excellent fit and finish, a tight cabin feel, and an interior that blocks out road noise a bit better than the smaller A4.

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2016 Audi A6

Safety

Crash-test scores have been good, and the A6 has tech like blind-spot monitors on order.

If safety is your aim, you can’t go wrong with the 2016 Audi A6—it’s one of the safest sedans on the market, regardless of price.

The IIHS has tested the 2016 A6, and calls it a Top Safety Pick+, its highest score. The NHTSA rates the 2016 Audi A6 at five stars overall, including five stars on frontal crash protection and rollover safety.

The A6 also offers all the active-safety features you’d expect from a luxury car, including many of those offered by rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, a rearview camera, a night-vision system, and a head-up display are all available. The night-vision system has been upgraded for 2016 to recognize more animal types, and the side-collision detection features have been improved as well.

Thanks to a combination of adaptive cruise control and Audi's Pre-Sense system, which pre-tightens seatbelts and prepares the car when it detects an imminent collision, the A6 can completely slow down when it senses obstacles changing speeds in the lane ahead. All the latest safety technology—including adaptive cruise, Pre Sense, and a new cornering-camera system-are bundled in a Driver Assistance package.

Front, side and curtain airbags are standard on all A6 models, as are anti-lock brakes, and traction and stability control. A Bluetooth hands-free interface is also standard.

Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system can also be considered a safety-related feature; it's not available on four-cylinder A6 sedans, but it's standard on V-6 cars and the S6. Blind-spot monitors are standard on all A6 cars from the Prestige trim level and up.

We've found outward visibility to be excellent to the front, and better than other cars of this type thanks to the rather low beltline and large glass areas—although the stubby decklid still makes the rearview camera system useful.

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2016 Audi A6

Features

Google Earth mapping, in-car wireless internet, and Bang & Olufsen audio are some of the A6's top-drawer features.

The Audi A6 offers a great feature set even in base form, but it’s also very easy to option the car up to and beyond the $70,000 mark—a point where you might want to consider the higher-performance S6 instead.

Audi's Multi-Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system is also standard equipment. MMI's menus have been streamlined over the years and the shortcut buttons are a welcome relief, but the system can still be hard to learn and take hours for new purchasers to figure out.

While there’s no touchscreen, there's a touchpad called MMI Touch that allows some secondary input, including acting as preset buttons for the audio system, and as a Palm Pilot-style scratch pad, on which the driver can write out letters with their fingertip to enter destinations or choose contacts from the phone book.

The A6 Prestige models sit at the top of the model line and include a 7.0-inch display screen with MMI touch. A 14-speaker Bose sound system is standard on these models, as well as adaptive headlights; distinct 18-inch wheels; four-zone climate control; LED interior lighting; ventilated front seats; a power-adjustable steering column; cornering lights; and S-line cosmetic trim, including its own grille and bumpers. S6 models were only offered in Prestige trim.

On the base A6, standard equipment includes a sunroof; power front seats; cruise control; tri-zone automatic climate control; power windows, locks and mirrors; tilt/telescoping steering; keyless ignition; leather upholstery; 17-inch wheels; AM/FM/XM/CD audio with a 5.0-inch LCD screen; and LED taillights. Heated front seats are also standard.

Opt for the Premium Plus package, and you can add a 7.0-inch color display; a CD changer (for anyone who still uses physical artifacts); HD Radio; real-time traffic data; front and rear parking sensors; 18-inch wheels and tires; and Audi Connect, and an in-car wireless data service through T-Mobile. Audi Connect taps into the wireless data connection to enable Google Earth navigation maps and traffic information. Audi's system also allows you to plan a trip from your computer using Google Maps, then send up to 50 destinations to the car's navigation system over the internet.

A cold-weather package is also available, as is a Sport package with 19-inch all-season tires and five-spoke wheels. Other optional extras include a xenon headlight package, and a Black Optic package with gloss black exterior trim and 20-inch wheels wearing summer tires. The best option? An awesome 15-speaker, 1,300-watt Bang & Olufsen with tweeters that rise on startup.

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2016 Audi A6

Fuel Economy

All A6 models manage over 30 mpg highway—the 2.0T is the efficiency champ.

For 2016, the Audi A6 range garners impressive fuel economy ratings from the EPA for a car of its size and features. The 2016 version of the 2.0T does away with the previous model's CVT transmission and replaces it with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. All-wheel drive versions, which Audi dubs quattro, get an 8-speed automatic.

The 2.0T base model is rated 24 mpg city, 35 highway, 28 combined. With quattro, 4-cylinder versions are rated at 22/32/26 mpg, 20/30/24 mpg with the supercharged V-6.

The EPA has rated the diesel-fueled A6 TDI at 25/38/30 mpg, but it has been withdrawn from sale as Audi attempts to fix vehicles it sold with falsified emissions data.

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April 19, 2015
For 2016 Audi A6

sweet ride

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The pro reviewer, Nelson, asked why someone would buy an A6 over an A7. really? REALLY? because the A7 starting price is $22,000 higher, you dummy! anyway, i haven't had my 2015 A6 for long, but its been great... + More »
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