Audi's stylish A6 offers character, identity
2012 Audi A6 Review:
The 2012 Audi A6 is just about everything a luxury sport sedan should be.
It’s nimble, stylish inside and out, and it’s loaded with luxury amenities. Any quibbles I have are really minor.
Audi continues its string of well styled cars that offer character and identity. When you see an A6, you know it’s an Audi, with its large grille opening and stylish LED headlamps and trim rear styling. It looks strong, yet elegant, and unlike most of its German competitors, it delivers an equally stylish black interior.The “aviator blue metallic” ($475 option) test car featured a dark brown dash and medium brown leather seats with wood trim on the dash and doors with satin metal trim. This A6 also had a brown leather steering wheel and shifter, and mid-dash a pop-up navigation/radio screen that could be folded away.
The styling gets the luxury buyer to look, but Audi promises performance, especially at the top of the A6 line, which the test car was. This was the A6 3.0 TFSI quattro, which means it has all-wheel drive and the biggest engine available in the A6.
A base model is front-wheel drive and carries a fine 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that generates 210 horsepower. This model boasts a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that delivers a healthy 310 hp while coupling it with an eight-speed automatic with manual Tiptronic mode.
Acceleration is super. Audi lists it at 5.3 seconds from 0-60 mph. But the A6’s eight-speed automatic shifts seamlessly and feels perfectly blended with the power. You never feel the engine is working too hard, and while you feel the power, you don’t get an intrusive growl or roar inside.
Audi’s quattro system does a nice job of keeping all the wheels working for maximum acceleration and traction. I had a few wet days to try it out, but no snow to slicken the streets.
Handling is sporty and precise. Put the car into a sharp corner and it sticks well, the rear precisely following the nose’s lead. I felt no body lean. And while the Audi isn’t light at 4,045 pounds, it’s 78 pounds lighter than the previous A6 due to more aluminum used in the body panels.
The car rides on a wheelbases of 114 inches. That normally smooths the ride out considerably. The Audi’s Sport package includes 19-inch summer performance tires and adds a sport-tuned suspension. That added to the jiggle inside. You feel big bumps the most, while little ones are not such a problem.Braking from the big 14-inch front and 13-inch rear vented disc brakes brings the car to a commanding stop. Stability control is standard.
I liked the interior, both its look and its comfort. The leather seats and dash look and feel rich. The seats are well contoured and supportive, feature two memory settings for the driver’s seat and three heat and cool settings. The power controls are easy to use, and I quickly found a good driving position.
The dash is attractive, with white on black gauges, and I loved the pop-up navigation, radio screen, which is large and easy to see. You can power it down whenever you want to, just as in several Cadillac models.
My only interior concern really is the mix of buttons and knobs that are less than intuitive to work, especially the center knob that adjusts much of the navigation and radio system, plus many of the car’s systems settings.
The Google Earth feature of this navigation system is incredible. By seeing a real world view of the streets, buildings and alleys, it is so much easier to understand where you are going or want to turn. Plus, you can adjust it down to as close up as 30 yards.
You also can adjust the system to look for gas stations and other travel and weather information.
There’s more, too, including the rearview backup camera that displays on the navigation screen, plus side assist, a blind-spot warning system that adds $500 but is well worth it. Audi also adds adaptive cruise control. The backup system beeps incessantly, so is annoying in parking lots when there are cars on both sides of you. The system beeps until you’re clear of those parked cars.
The Prestige package, which adds $6,880 to the tested A6’s base price of $49,900, includes a fancy 14-speaker Bose surround sound system with HD, plus four-zone automatic climate controls and the seat ventilation system. It further upgrades the tire and wheel package to 18 inches and adds adaptive headlights, ambient lighting inside and a bigger monitor, plus multimedia touch interface with the navigation system.
After the $875 delivery fee, the test car settled at $60,130, a reasonable luxury sedan price. The Audi primarily targets the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E350.Gas mileage is slightly better than you might expect, rated at 19 mpg city and 28 highway, while taking premium gas. I managed 19.9 mpg in about 60% city driving.
The A6 remains a practical family sedan too, with good head and leg room front and rear for four to five adults. Trunk space is decent at 14.1 cubic feet, and the rear seat splits and will fold down for more cargo room.
While I’d add a winter package with heated steering wheel, from a driving and styling standpoint, the A6 is one of the most attractive midsize luxury sport sedans.