By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
Audi is the Hyundai of the luxury car segment. Which is to say, it's currently enjoying an unprecedented tear. New models and striking designs are generating newfound levels of consumer lust, leading to record sales. The all-new 2012 Audi A6 sedan is not a radical redesign, and the subtle change exemplifies Audi's strategy of going after and BMW and Mercedes-Benz by confidently sticking to its own path. While the BMW 5 Series has long been the obvious choice for enthusiasts, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the preferred ride for those seeking more traditional luxury, the 2012 Audi A6 trades in technology and design, unbeholden to a base of buyers with racing aspirations or early bird reservations.
If you find the Mercedes-Benz E-Class too stodgy and the BMW 5 Series too sterile, you might fall in love with the all-new 2012 Audi A6 and its rich but contemporary design, category-leading tech options and/or its unique balance of around-town ease and at-the-limits poise.
The 2012 Audi A6 sedan is a tough sell for performance enthusiasts. For instance, while a base BMW 5 Series offers an 8-speed auto transmission and rear-wheel drive, the entry-level A6 is offered only in front-wheel drive with a "gearless" continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). And if you prefer not just rear-drive but V8 power, you're out of luck on both counts with the A6.
More tech, more style and a newly available 4-cylinder turbo engine option are key changes to the all-new 2012 Audi A6.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Audi A6 requires a lighter touch around town than a BMW 5 Series sedan. At the same time, it feels more athletic than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. But more...than a meet-in-the-middle compromise, the Audi A6 satisfies on both the comfort and performance fronts. The available supercharged 3.0-liter engine is responsive throughout its rev range, the 8-speed automatic transmission is equally smooth and flexible. Another enhancement worth considering, the rear-biased all-wheel drive system effortlessly puts power to pavement. No matter the situation, driving the 2012 Audi A6 is an exercise in ease. Wheeling into a tight parking space or charging a favorite highway on-ramp, the 2012 Audi A6 never asks too much and always returns much more. If we could change one thing, we'd swap the fuel-saving but quirky electric power steering system for a traditional hydraulic unit, but our distaste is more of a pet peeve as we hear few complaints from those who live with similar systems.
Dedicated Internet Access
For $25-$30 per month through T-Mobile, the 2012 Audi A6 gets its own connection to the Internet, providing access to Google maps and location data, traffic and weather information, and the ability to connect up to eight Wi-Fi devices, like computers, iPads and smartphones.
Stop & Go Cruise Control
Using video cameras plus short- and long-distance radar sensors, the 2012 Audi A6 will gas and brake itself along in stop-and-go traffic. All you have to do is stay awake and steer.
The 2012 Audi A6 boasts not only our favorite interior in the segment, but one of the finest passenger cabins money can buy: an unmatched mix of contemporary design, high-quality materials and impeccable build quality. The A6 is also the choice in the segment for tech-lovers, offering dedicated Internet access that enables Google-powered maps and location information, and turns the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight personal devices. The center console-mounted volume knob, placed conveniently adjacent to the main MMI control knob, remains one of our favorite little touches.
The sheet metal of the fully redesigned 2012 Audi A6 sedan is as improved as it is familiar. The profile of the new car is remarkably similar to that of its predecessor, but the new one is more defined, more athletic, less droopy. Bright, crisp LED lighting options perfectly complement the modern aesthetic.
Not only does the 2012 A6 2.0T Premium boast one of the lowest starting prices in the category, there's not a single glaring omission from its standard equipment set. It includes all the luxuries you'd expect in the segment - leather, sunroof, auto headlights, seat memory, etc. - plus many of the newer niceties like keyless start (but not keyless entry), Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity and iPod/iPhone integration. Topped off by highway fuel economy of 33 miles per gallon, the entry-priced A6 is one of the best values going in the luxury class.
The 2012 Audi A6 offers an impressive array of comfort, convenience and safety technologies. In addition to all the benefits of dedicated Internet access, the A6 offers adaptive cruise control that can stop-and-go the sedan through a traffic jam. Audi Night Vision Assistant can detect nearby pedestrians on dark roads. A color head-up display projects speed and navigation information onto the windshield and closer to your field of vision. Audi Pre Sense Plus monitors the road ahead and can warn of a potential collision. And let's not forget the 15-speaker, 1,300-watt, $5,900 Bang & Olufsen sound system - worth it if you can afford it.
Audi's supercharged V6 is one of our favorite engines. Now that it produces 10 more horsepower in the A6, is matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and has fewer pounds to push - the new A6 is actually lighter than the old one by about 80 pounds – Audi says its 3.0-liter thrill mill will run the 2012 Audi A6 to 60 miles per hour in an impressive 5.3 seconds, compared with 5.9 seconds for the outgoing version. We haven't yet driven the 2012 Audi A6 2.0T with the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, but we suspect it will deliver enough oomph for most buyers - it's lighter and offers more torque, after all, than the outgoing 3.2-liter V6 it replaces. As for the continuously variable transmission attached to the 4-cylinder, that remains an acquired taste.
2.0-liter turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder
211 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 3,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 (CVT automatic)
3.0-liter supercharged V6
310 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 (8-speed automatic)
By JB (MA) on Friday, November 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Performance, comfort, and interior technology."
Cons: "Cup holders in front are small."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own the 3.0 Prestige, and, simply stated, it is an incredible vehicle. I am a former BMW owner - also former owner of two older Audi A4s - and have driven a variety of other luxury models - this is hands down my favorite. Most of the other reviews address performance and styling - which I agree are excellent and were the primary reason I bought this car. But the one thing I've discovered about this car that truly stands out from the rest of the pack is the AudiConnect feature (which turns the interior cabin into a Wi-Fi hot spot). Passengers can connect to the web with ease - and the navigation overlays Google Earth onto it's map display, which is very cool. But - BEST OF ALL - the Wifi feature allows for streaming music playback unparalelled by any other car maker. Sure, most new cars nowadays allow for an iphone or ipod connection - but the AudiConnect provides the bandwith to stream music from the Cloud or from the internet (3G or 4G cannot do this without choppy interruptions). Add this feature with the Bluetooth Audio playback - and it is truly mind blowing. I am able access my entire music library via the Cloud and stream the music through the car stereo. No wires, no fuss, no choppy/interrupted playback. It's awesome. And, honestly, the cup holders in front are a bit small - but if the only negative about this car I can think of is that - I'd say that's pretty good."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Drillman (TX) on Thursday, October 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great accelaration and handling"
Cons: "No touch screen on Nav and radio"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Excellent performance and handling. Very good gas mileage, particularly for a high performance vehicle"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By mdifanis (IL) on Friday, October 11, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "high performance, unbelievable fuel efficiency."
Cons: "Expensive, lacks sports car steering feel."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"By way of context, I also own a 2009 BMW 335d, which at that time was the most fuel efficient vehicle that BMW had ever imported to the U.S. The 2014 A6 TDI is larger, slightly faster, heavier, and has all-wheel drive (the 335d was **only** available with rear-wheel drive), yet the A6 TDI gets 10% to 20% better fuel economy! In addition to still owning a last-gen 3 series with sport package, I have driven hundreds of miles in the current generation 3 Series, as well as having test driven the new BMW 535d—the A6 TDI's most direct competitor. The A6, equipped with 20" wheels, summer tires, and various factory sport options is a hands-down winner over the 3 Series and 535d models I've driven. My 335d with sport package is unquestionably a better pure driver's car than the A6; however, this is due in part to its hydraulic steering. Since virtually all new cars in the A6's class now have more fuel efficient electrically assisted power steering, there is an unavoidable loss of feedback. This is true for the A6. It doesn't mean the steering is imprecise or bad, just less communicative. Even with S-Line trim and sport options—and with the steering feel set to "dynamic," the steering is still very light at low speeds, but it gets a bit heavier at speed, which is a good thing. Audi's sport steering wheel is elegant looking as well as a delight to hold. Interior aesthetics are stunningly beautiful throughout the cabin. All materials look and feel top notch. The front seats are comfortable and very adjustable, but still not as good as BMW sport seats, or as good as the seats in my old Audi S8 from 12 models years ago. The seats are **very** good, though. Cabin lighting is gorgeous, appearing to have been borrowed from NASA. Virtually everything one could want illuminated is softly and tastefully illuminated. My biggest gripe about the interior is that the MMI screen opens and pops up every time the car starts, and it retracts every time the car turns off. I have a very hard time believing that won't break at some point--and be very expensive to repair. I do, however appreciate the clean appearance that the interior has when the screen disappears into the dash. Exterior appearance is typical Audi: generally conservatively styled (except for the snout) with beautiful lines. The LED tail lights and daytime running lights have a futuristic and aggressive look about them. My particular car was equipped with full LED headlamps, which I don't think I would have ordered for the extra $1,400 or so price premium for that option, but it was on the car I liked on the dealer lot. The full LEDs add to the futuristic appearance, and they function well. They should also last for a very long time without noticeable dimming. My vehicle is black with S-Line trim. I wasn't looking specifically for a black car, but the large black grill work on the snout--in my opinion--works better when the body color is also dark. The optional 20" wheels--much to my surprise--don't make the ride choppy, excessively firm, or excessively noisy. Again, I would have steered clear of that option if I were ordering the car, for fear that the 35-series tires would offer too little cushion and protection for the wheels. But the car is still incredibly comfortable and civilized, and the 20" wheels--which are slightly smoky in color--look gorgeous and sporty, filling the wheel wells beautifully. Driving performance is excellent. The all-wheel drive makes the power delivery very subtle and low drama. It is far less dramatic than winding a high-revving gasser up to its redline, but the diesel feels like it accomplishes its work effortlessly, starting just off idle after a brief turbo lag. In real life, this diesel feels quicker and more responsive in the rev range where normal people do their normal driving. Yet it still manages to be incredibly fun--and sweet sounding--when wound up. Fuel economy has exceeded expectations. In my first 1,000 miles, I have averaged 32 MPG in mixed driving. With just a little care (i.e., not a bunch of crazy hyper-miling techniques), I can generally achieve 30 mpg in city driving. I have not observed 38 MPG highway yet, but that is because I have spent much of my highway driving in stop-and-go traffic, or cruising at seriously extra-legal speeds. Staying below 80 MPH should make the EPA claimed 38 MPG within easy reach. Finally, on the subject of fuel efficiency, keep in mind that the value proposition here goes beyond just saving money at the pump (which, by the way would take some years to pay back the initial price premium for the diesel). The ultra long range means you will be wasting less time getting fuel. Depending on the value of your time, this may pay for the cost differential faster than the fuel savings would! This car is an all-around excellent combination of comfortable size for four adults, good storage space, an amazing interior, excellent power and performance, and fuel economy that seems totally impossibly awesome!"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By DCSea (WA) on Wednesday, September 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"It's a beautiful car which will turn your and other's heads. Audi designs and produces the best car interiors in the industry hands down and the A6's is no exception. The car has amazing acceleration and great handling with a good balance between muting the bumps in the road and still hugging the corners. All this plus incredible gas mileage for such a large and heavy car. I easily get the EPA est. 28/34 but generally get higher on the freeway, even getting 40 on one short trip and 37 on a long road trip north. The only time you hear the diesel is if you are stopped, the radio is off, and your window is down. Oh and if you punch it you hear a little diesel rumble. The auto start/stop feature takes some getting used to. The auto start you don't really notice and it's instantaneous when you take your foot off the brake and before you can reach the accelerator, but occasionally the auto stop can cause the car to shudder slightly. If it really bothers you, there is a button to turn this feature off on the dash. I wish there wasn't such a high markup in the price over the 3.0 gas model. Hopefully this will be made up in fuel savings over the long haul."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By NB (IL) on Wednesday, August 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power, ride, comfort, winter driving and heat"
Cons: "headlights too dim"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I wish I had the heated side mirrors,front camera and passenger electric seat; that would be the best car EVER! Winter heating is fast but windshield tends to fog up...so did my 2002 A6"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Jungleer (VA) on Monday, July 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Corners like a ducati"
Cons: "No automatic truck closure like the A8"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my first sedan in 15 years so I drove them all, the A6 is the clear winner for me. Zero recalls so far and only regular scheduled maintenance visits. The MMI takes a few days to get used to but all the options are great. The system instantly recognizes new devices whether its a phone or ipod etc."
8 people out of 9 found this review helpful