By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
Audi has long been considered one of the world's great luxury car names, but up until recently, the company seemed content not making waves when it came to rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Those days are gone as Audi is now aggressively gunning for BMW and MB's customer base. Audi's strategy is clearly evident in the 2014 A6, a sedan that masterfully blends performance and luxury into a single, well-heeled machine admired as much for its efficiency as its opulence. A choice of turbocharged and supercharged gasoline engines and a new TDI clean diesel model help Audi further expand its reach, as does the 420-horsepower high-performance S6.
If you love the performance feel of the BMW 5 Series, but not the firm ride and somewhat sterile interior, you'll likely be drawn to the 2014 Audi A6. Cutting-edge audio and electronics along with quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) make the A6 nearly irresistible, as does its impressive fuel economy.
Although the S6 certainly can run with the best BMW has to offer, the base A6 can't make the same claim. Pulled by its front wheels and equipped with a continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT), the A6 is no match for the rear-drive 5 Series, which also features an 8-speed automatic.
Horsepower on the 2.0T increases to 220, and a new TDI clean-diesel engine is added to the lineup. The A6 2.0T gains standard heated front seats, while the Prestige trim gains Audi Side Assist blind-spot monitoring. A number of new exterior trim and wheel upgrade packages are also offered.
Driving Impressions Audi's A6 for 2014 is designed to be soft over harsh city streets, yet adeptly athletic when the road unwinds. A nice compromise between the performance-oriented 5 Series and the...Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the A6 is designed to please the vast majority of owners who want a sophisticated driving experience but not at the expense of comfort or quiet. Although we wish the electric power steering delivered better feedback, it's not a deal breaker. Audi's supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine is marvelously responsive and the 8-speed automatic never feels as if it's shortchanging the engine's abilities. Audi's quattro AWD is biased towards the rear wheels but will favor all four equally when the pavement becomes slick enough to merit engagement. The new TDI diesel model offers impressive acceleration, thanks in part to its generous torque, and returns an even more impressive 38 mpg on the highway. The sport-oriented S6 changes the equilibrium, with its lusty 420-horsepower turbo V8 and firmer suspension.
3.0-LITER TDI CLEAN DIESEL ENGINE
With 240 horsepower, 428 lb-ft of torque and a 0-60 time of just 5.5 seconds, the Audi A6 TDI for 2014 delivers V8-like performance while returning an estimated 24 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.
STOP & GO CRUISE CONTROL
Using video cameras plus short- and long-distance radar sensors, the 2014 Audi A6 will gas and brake itself along in stop-and-go traffic. All you have to do is stay awake and steer.
The 2014 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 hot spot for up to eight personal devices. The center console-mounted volume knob, placed conveniently adjacent to the main MMI (Multi Media Interface) control, remains a favorite small touch.Exterior
The 2014 Audi A6's outer skin remains clean and uncluttered, a look highly sought after by Audi's clientele. The profile of the car is remarkably similar to its A4 and A8 stablemates, but it still looks fresh, athletic and purposeful. A number of exterior trim and wheel packages help buyers personalize their A6. Bright, crisp LED lighting options perfectly complement the modern aesthetic. Audi claims a remarkably low 0.26 drag coefficient for the A6, which helps the car slide through the air efficiently. Befitting its brawny, sporting role, the powerful S6 has identifying lower-body aero aids and a distinctive face.
Although the 2014 A6 2.0T Premium boasts 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, heated front seats, sunroof, automatic 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. Outstanding EPA fuel-economy ratings (25/33 mpg city/highway with front-drive) make the entry-priced A6 one of the best values going in the luxury class.
Audi's 2014 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, close to your field of vision. Audi Pre Sense Plus monitors the road ahead and can warn of a potential collision. For this year, the parking assist system gets new top- and corner-view cameras.
Audi's supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is one of our favorite engines. With 310 horsepower and the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic in the A6, Audi says it runs 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds. The new 3.0-liter TDI diesel V6 with 240 horsepower produces nearly identical acceleration figures as the supercharged 3.0-liter while delivering class-leading fuel economy. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) attached to the 2.0T in FWD applications remains an acquired taste: functional and calibrated for good fuel efficiency but not the stuff of enthusiasts' dreams. The 8-speed Tiptronic automatic accompanies all quattro AWD applications, with both engines. Speaking of dreams, the 420-horsepower 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 in the S6 launches the 4400-pound car to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
220 horsepower @ 4,450-6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 mpg (CVT automatic, FWD), 20/29 mpg (8-speed automatic, AWD)
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: 18/27 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6
240 horsepower @ 3,500-3,750 rpm
428 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,250
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/38 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
420 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/27 mpg
The 2014 Audi A6 starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $44,000 and tops out near $75,000 when fully loaded. The S6 sports sedan runs from just under $74,500 to over $90,000. The 2014 Audi A6 has a starting price advantage compared to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans, but when comparably equipped they're all playing in the same ballpark. If you want more features for your money, check out Asian competitors like the Acura TL, Infiniti M (renamed the Q70 for 2014) and Hyundai Genesis sedans. Before going to a dealer, be sure to arm yourself with Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price, which reflects what others are paying. As for resale value, we expect the 2014 Audi A6 to perform on par with the category average.