By Trevor Dorchies
While other models like the all-new A3 or stalwart A4 stand in the spotlight, the 2016 Audi A6 is perhaps the automaker’s best-kept secret. With luxurious interior appointments and comfort, and a choice of four hyper-talented engines, the 2016 Audi A6 continues on with the midsize luxury sedan’s clandestine yet sterling reputation. Even with stiff competition from the likes of the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E Class, Cadillac CTS, and Acura RLX, the Audi A6 is one of our favorites.
If you demand a high-quality interior and the best navigation system currently available on the market, the 2016 Audi A6 sedan is for you. Add on the available S6 model that’s bursting at the seams with performance or the fuel efficient 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel engine and the new A6 becomes impossible to ignore.
As worthy a luxury vehicle as the A6 is, Audi still lags (slightly) behind its main German competitors – BMW and Mercedes-Benz – when it comes to brand recognition. Then there’s the base-model A6’s front-wheel-drive configuration compared to the BMW 5 Series sedan’s rear-wheel drive.
A redesigned exterior boasts strong lines while the front and rear ends look more aggressive, yet refined. The interior has also been refreshed, and it still radiates comfort and refinement. There are still four engines to choose from, and all but the turbodiesel option receive a boost in power.
We had a chance to sample the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine, which had no trouble taking off when we kicked the spurs into it. Gear changes are silky-smooth courtesy of...
... an 8-speed automatic transmission and there is no hunting or pecking no matter what type of driving conditions arise. Fuel efficiency does pay the price during spirited driving though, as the EPA rates this engine at 20 city/30 highway. In fact, for being a luxury midsize sedan, the 2016 Audi A6 actually feels smaller the faster you go and takes corners with the best of them, especially with help from the firm’s quattro all-wheel-drive system. Minus the entry-level version – which is front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive available – all A6 models come with Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system as standard equipment. Braking is easily modulated which is helpful if your commute regularly consists of stop-and-go traffic.
3.0-LITER TDI CLEAN DIESEL ENGINE
What’s better than a diesel engine that offers up 25 city/38 highway mpg? A diesel engine that offers a stellar 428 lb-ft of torque which is served up almost immediately.
QUIET, REFINED INTERIOR
At this price-point, the 2016 Audi A6 includes the nicest interior without a shadow of a doubt. The only interior we’ve come across that we enjoyed more was found in the $95,000-plus Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
We’ve already waxed poetically about how much we enjoy the Audi A6’s interior but we still have some more to point out. For the 2016 model year, the A6 sedan saw its insides refreshed with things like a bigger dial to choose media and other inputs with. Audi’s industry-leading MMI infotainment and navigational system is updated for 2016, and it continues to astound with some help from Google Maps. Then there’s the available Beaufort wood trim and aluminum accents which do wonders for your sense of sight.
The obvious exterior changes, like the redesigned front- and rear-end, show that the new A6 has gone through a mid-cycle refresh. Features like new headlights, a redesigned bumper, and a menacing-looking grille give the A6 sedan a sharp, fresh look. From behind, the LED taillights boast a sleeker profile and are easy to pick out whether you’re behind one day or night. Climbing up the trim ladder brings things like more aggressive side-skirts and badging to let your neighbors know you want to go fast.
All of the usual suspects you’ve come to expect in a luxury midsize sedan offering are found on the standard equipment list. This includes leather seats (heated up front), Bluetooth phone and audio capability, automatic headlights, and seat memory. BMW and Mercedes-Benz require you to check an extra box if you want leather seats in its offerings.
Beyond the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, the two V6 engines and one V8 can go toe-to-toe with the best of them, mated 7- or 8-speed automatic transmissions that both handle gear changes in a timely manner. Audi’s optional equipment list can get a little overwhelming (and expensive) quickly but you’ll get what you pay for in terms of comfort and refinement. Things like the available MMI infotainment and navigational system, adaptive cruise control, and a wide array of safety systems help to make the new A6 a perfect candidate for that potential opening in your garage.
Audi added a bump in power to three of its four engine offerings in the latest A6. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder gains 32 additional horsepower over the 2015 model, while the S6’s V8 is now rated at 450 horsepower, up 30 from last year. The 3.0-liter supercharged V6 sees a climb of 23 horsepower to 333, while the 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 remains unchanged at 240 horsepower for 2016. In the front-wheel-drive 2.0-liter A6, a 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission administers gear changes in models, while the available 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is paired with the 2.0-liter's all-wheel-drive configuration. That same 8-speed automatic serves with the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 and turbocharged diesel V6. The 4.0-liter V8 is mated to the 7-speed S tronic.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
252 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 mpg (7-speed S tronic automatic, front-wheel drive), 22/32 mpg (8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive)
3.0-liter supercharged V6
333 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900-5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 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: 25/38 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
450 horsepower @ 5,800-6,400 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400-5,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/27 mpg
At the very least, you can expect to spend just over $46,000 for a 2016 Audi A6, which includes the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and front-wheel-drive configuration. On the other end of the spectrum, the top-flight S6 model will set you back at least $70,000, but be ready to pay more than that to get the necessary bells and whistles you want. Competing with the new A6 in the midsize-luxury-sedan arena, the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class start at around $50,000 and $52,000, respectively. Other alternatives in the segment include the Acura RLX (starting at around $55,000), Hyundai Genesis ($38,000), and the Infiniti Q70 (around $50,000). Check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price for a look at what A6 buyers in your neighborhood are paying for their new Audis. In the resale market, A6s have historically held their own against their German rivals, while giving up a little ground to Japanese luxury leaders like Lexus.