Audi’s new A6 is here and ready to go to war with the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but is this brand new model now better than both of it fiercest rivals?

“Audi’s new A6 is here and ready to go to war with the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but is this brand new model now better than both of it fiercest rivals?”

  • Stunning high-tech interior

  • Refined and enjoyable to drive

  • Timeless, elegant design


Overall Rating

  • Not the most engaging drive

  • Even temperature is controlled by touchscreen

  • You’ll have to hit the option list for top features

Overall Rating


The new Audi A6 might not have delivered any surprises in terms of design, but the new dual screen infotainment set-up has turned the cabin into a technological masterpiece.

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Space & Practicality

The boot measures in at 530 litres, which is exactly the same as a 5-series, and 10 litres shy of an E-Class. Although really, there’s not a huge difference here between the three.  As far as saloons go it is practical enough – there’s not too much of a lip to lug stuff over, and it is quite low down anyway which  makes it easy to load. There are a couple sets of tether points if you need to tie anything down, and you can fold the rear seats flat to extend that load capacity into the rear if needs be.

Space in the back is generous except for the space lost to what is quite a large transmission tunnel in the centre. In fact, it more or less rules the middle seat out for everyone except small children but to be fair this is a problem it shares with its competitors. The outer two passengers will have no complaints however with generous head and legroom, magazine holders, and a pull-down centre armrest.

Equipment and Safety

It’s hard to be anything but impressed when you sit in the front. The combination of the dual screen dash, seamless design integration and top quality materials make for what is arguably one of the finest interiors on the market today. It is very similar to what’s been seen already in the the A7 and A8 and it works just as well here.

The touchscreen controls pretty much every aspect of the car, with the top screen taking care of the usual entertainment features like Bluetooth and music streaming, and the bottom looking after the comfort end of things seat and temperature settings. It’s also the only way you can adjust the air-con, which is not feature we’re generally too keen on as it’s much easier to turn a dial or press a physical button when you’re on the move. However in this case, the haptic feedback and fact that you can leave those controls on display at all times means it’s not as distracting or fiddly as you might think. The same screen can also be used as a touchpad to enter SatNav destinations or find a contact in your phonebook in a hurry.

As if it needed more screens, our test car was also equipped with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit which really is a must-have option. It makes most sense as part of a technology pack which will also add wireless phone charging, upgraded SatNav and a reversing camera for about €3,000.

The entry price for the SE model is just under €51,000 and that comes with a generous level of kit including 18 inch wheels, LED headlightss, full leather upholstery, and the dual screen infotainment set-up. It also gets a good range of safety kit including Audi Pre Sense Front which can sense and prevent a forward collision by automatically applying the brakes. That also helped it earn a full five star Euro NCAP safety rating.

A great many buyers will still choose to upgrade to the sporty S-Line trim which adds mainly styling upgrades including 19 inch alloy wheels, LED Matrix headlamps, S-Line Sports seats and Sports suspension. S-Line starts at €55,000 but by the time you add your tech pack and metallic paint you’re looking at closer to €60,000.

Performance & Running Costs

The next decision you need to make will be what to spec under the hood. The starting point of the range is the 40 TDI, a 2.0l 204hp front wheel drive diesel. The 3.0l 45 TDI gets 230hp and adds Quattro four wheel drive, then the current range-topper is the 3.0l 286hp 50 – also a Quattro.

The 40 TDI is the most sensible and economic option and is also what powered our test car. It’s got an annual motortax bill of €200 and Audi claim 4.7 litres per 100km is possible. That will depend very much on how you drive it of course, and the A6’s optimum environment will be cruising down the motorway and making short work of long distances.

Like the A8, the A6 also benefits from a mild Hybrid system which allows the car to recuperate energy from the brakes, store it and use it to power an electric motor which can essentially take over and allow the car to shut off in certain circumstances, like while cruising or decelerating and save some money on fuel.

In terms of handling, the A6 is exactly what you expect it to be – it’s not overly exciting but it is incredibly refined, pin-drop quiet in the cabin and even with the stiffer S-Line Sports suspension, it absolutely flat-irons the road surface for you so that nothing upsets that very relaxing cockpit.

Now the 5-series is without doubt more engaging to drive, and not just because the car we had was front-wheel drive. The steering can feel a bit on the light side, no matter which driving mode it’s in, and there does seem to be a very slight hesitation on take-off from the S-tronic gearbox, which in all other situations is a great addition to a very relaxing drive.

It’s not perfect by any means, but it is a supremely luxurious affair and the type of car you  look forward to sitting in to, especially on these cold winter evenings.

Reliability & Residuals

The timeless Audi styling and premium badge means it should hold its value well on the used market and the technology onboard means it’s futureproofed well into the next decade.

So to come back to our original question, is it now the best of all the executive saloons? For the tech fans – certainly. This is going to be the best cabin on the market for quite some time.

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