Test Drive: 2016 Audi A6 3.0T
2016 Audi A6 3.0T quattro
Class: Premium Midsize Car
Dates tested: 8/24/2015 – 8/31/2015
Miles Driven: 373
Fuel Used: 18.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 20.5 mpg
Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 20/30/24 (city, highway, combined)
Base price: $57,400 (not including $925 destination charge)
|CG Report Card|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||A|
Options on test car: A6 Prestige Package ($4200), Driver Assistance Package ($2550), S line Sport Package ($1800), 20-inch wheels ($1000), walnut cabin trim ($500), cold-weather package ($500)
Price as tested: $68,875
The great: Impressive power, gorgeous cabin appointments
The good: Quick handling, smooth transmission
The not so good: Ride a bit firm with available 20-inch wheels, complicated control interface
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For any given vehicle line on the market, every year presents this choice: either redo or renew. The 2016 Audi A6 premium-midsize sedan takes the latter course. Its now-familiar package comes with subtle styling tweaks, and software enhancements to its information and entertainment systems. Plus, the two available gasoline engines gain some power even as their projected fuel economy improves.
Consumer Guide® tested an A6 with the 3.0-liter gas V6. Thanks in part to a bump in compression, this supercharged engine now makes 333 horsepower, up from 310 in 2015. From a standstill, the blown A6 quickly jumps out of “stop/start” and charges off like somebody just gave it a hotfoot. The engine is also a solid midrange performer with highway-passing prowess. The smooth 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission downshifts smartly.
All the while, EPA mileage estimates have gone up a few points to 20 mpg in the city and 30 in highway operation. The feds’ combined mileage figure is 24 mpg, which this driver came pretty close to matching after driving CG’s test car for 225.8 miles. With a 52-percent-city/48-percent-highway mix, he averaged 22.38 mpg.
Audi may have done things to make the A6’s standard navigation and infotainment features a little faster to respond than before, but they still register on a flat screen that rotates up from within the top of the dash, and they’re still accessed and manipulated by the MMI controller on the console. This tester continues to find MMI quite complicated to operate, with lots of steps required to accomplish even what should be simple tasks, like entering a radio preset.
Far more comforting is the overall driving experience and environment. Ride quality leans to the firm side of things (CG’s test car was outfitted with optional 20-inch wheels and summer performance tires), but doesn’t go all the way into stiff or pounding. Cornering lean is nicely controlled, and braking is extremely prompt and predictable. Meanwhile, external noise is well filtered, adding to the enjoyment of the cushy cabin. Outfitted with Prestige trim, CG’s test A6 featured a power sunroof; rich Nougat Brown leather-upholstered seats (heated and ventilated in front; heated—an option—in back); extra-cost layered walnut dash, console, and door trim (in place of the standard dark-walnut inlays); LED interior lighting; and a Bose premium sound system. Soft-touch surfaces are amply distributed; you have to really be trying to bump up against hard plastic.
Seats are comfortably supportive. Head and leg room are good up front, and only slightly less so in back—where a tall driveline tunnel rules out any more than two passengers across. An airy greenhouse provides good visibility to just about every angle, and a rearview camera with an optional overhead-view display that shows the driver the car’s relationship to potential obstacles take some of the guesswork out of maneuvering in reverse. A6 Prestiges come with a head-up display that shows up well—unless the driver is wearing polarized sunglasses, which seemingly make the readout disappear.
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The benefit of a fairly large glove box is tempered by a split-level console box, neither portion of which is particularly deep. (The lower level also includes auxiliary and USB inputs.) Pop-up doors on the console cover a small compartment ahead of the shift lever and two cup holders near the arm rest. Door pockets—larger in front than in the rear doors—have bottle holders. Rear passengers are provided with net pouches on the backs of the front seats and a pull-down center arm rest with a shallow storage space and two pop-out cup holders. Cars with Prestige equipment present rear occupants with their own climate and seat-heat controls built into the back of the center console.
The trunk isn’t particularly tall but dimensions are maximized via a flat floor and flat sides (wheel houses don’t intrude to narrow the space). A6 Prestiges come with a power-operated trunklid. Rear seats fold in a 60/40 break, and there’s a ski pass-through behind the center-rear arm rest.
One other thing Audi has “upgraded” for ’16 is its prices. CG’s V6-powered car with quattro all-wheel drive started at $57,400, but tacked on another $4200 to become an A6 Prestige. Three more option groups, the fancier wood trim, and heat for the rear seats and steering wheel drove the as-delivered price to $68,875.
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