Vital Stats

Engine:
Supercharged 3.0L V6
Power:
310 HP / 325 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Automatic
0-60 Time:
5.3 Seconds
Top Speed:
130 MPH (Limited)
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,045 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
14.1 CU FT
MPG:
19 CITY / 28 HWY
Because "Pretty Damn Good" Is So Last Year



Earlier this year, executive editor Chris Paukert and I were chatting one morning about the 2011 Audi A6 he was driving – a car that would soon be replaced with the sharp new 2012 model you see here. Of course, we discussed how the car's styling was growing a bit long in the tooth, but aesthetics aside, Paukert's overall impression of the 2011 A6 was that it was still "pretty damn good."

Fast-forward a few months, and I'm standing in front of the 2012 A6, its full-LED headlamps glaring at me, its new sheetmetal stretched over a more aggressively styled body, complete with new aluminum components that reduce overall weight. The engine, Audi's 3.0-liter supercharged V6, was carried over from the 2011 model, albeit fitted to a brand new eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. And inside – oh, inside – is a suite of technologies that will embarrass the collective staff of an Apple store.

So, if the old 2011 model was "pretty damn good," this new 2012 model must be the bee's knees, right? Oh, is it ever.
2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro side view2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro side view2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro side view

Let's start at the beginning, or rather, the front, where our test car greeted us with Audi's latest lighting innovation – angular, full-LED headlamps in a style similar to what was first introduced on the A8 and then later used on the A7. The A6's eyes are arguably the most stunning of the bunch, with the nicest overall integration to the front fascia. We won't argue that the other two cars – the A7, specifically – aren't stunning beasts to behold, but there's something about the A6's front end that piques our interest the most.

A quick word about those headlamps – you may notice that some A6 models have what appear to be blank placeholders for fog lights in the lower air intakes, but in reality, it's all a façade. Those are instead the sensors for the adaptive cruise control, and with the optional full-LED lighting system, traditional fog lights aren't available. "With really good headlights, you don't need fog lights," one Audi representative told us. See the full front lighting song and dance in our Short Cut video below.


The rest of the A6's exterior design is simple seductiveness, with shorter front and rear overhangs compared to the 2011 model. That's thanks to a nearly three-inch-longer wheelbase, but an overall length that has actually been shortened minimally. The wider and lower stance of the 2012 model gives it a more enthusiastic aura than the old car, too, and when fitted with the 19-inch alloy wheels of our test car, the end result is an Audi that's chock full of curb appeal. Fit your A6 with the S-Line kit and optional 20-inch rollers and you'll have a car that mimics the upcoming S6 in terms of overall presence.

Around back, the LED headlamps are mimicked with full-LED taillamps that are, again, similar to what you'll see on the Big Daddy A8. S-Line models like our test car get a unique diffuser with dual exhaust tips, and even the subtle, thin red taillamp running lights add a touch of elegance and exclusivity to the A6's rump. Pull up behind one on the road at night and you'll know exactly what's in front of you.

2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro headlight2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro wheel2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro badge2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro taillight

Inside, the cabin is typical Audi goodness, with a sophisticated overall style and fine materials that blend together nicely. Truthfully, we admit that we don't love the glossy wood finish found in our test car, only because we've fallen head-over-heels in love with the natural wood grain available in the A7 and A8. Audi offers the natural wood console inlays as a no-cost option, and if you insist on having wood rather than brushed aluminum, trust us, you'll want the natural, matte finish stuff. It really classes up the joint.

The real pièce de résistance, though, is the amount of technology that's crammed into the A6. Here you'll find Audi's second-generation MMI infotainment system, complete with a touch pad for alphanumeric input (see Rex Roy's first drive for the full demonstration), Google Earth-based navigation and even a mobile wireless hotspot, so you can do as we did, and let your passenger surf the Internet on an iPad while cruising through town. The Jetsons may have had flying cars, but even those didn't have Web connectivity.

2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro interior2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro front seats2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro navigation system2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro engine start button

The 2012 A6 is powered by the same supercharged 3.0-liter V6 as the previous model, boasting 310 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and 325 pound-feet of torque available as low as 2,900 RPM. In this 4,045-pound sedan with Quattro all-wheel drive, that supercharged force is good for a 0-60 time of just 5.3 seconds with a top speed of 130 miles per hour (electronically limited, of course). Compared to a heavier, less-powerful BMW 535i xDrive, the Audi will reach 60 mph a full three-tenths of a second quicker.

Right now, the supercharged six is the range-topping powertrain in the A6 lineup. Audi offers a 211-hp, 258-lb-ft version of its well-known 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder as well, and – pay close attention here – a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 will be offered in the A6 in the not-too-distant future. We're stoked for the oil-burning powerplant to make its way Stateside, but in the meantime, we have nothing bad to say about the supercharged unit currently offered.

2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro engine

We continue to be impressed by the fantastic linearity of this 3.0 TFSI engine, and its similarities to that of a naturally aspirated V8 are uncanny. Plenty of power is available throughout the entire rev range, and the eight-speed Tiptronic unit keeps the car right in its sweet spot of about 3,500 RPM when you're seriously hustling along long stretches of two-lane backroads. Around town and while highway cruising, the automatic is happy to shift up as soon as it can, but is quick to fire off downshifts the moment your right foot digs back into the throttle. Be nice, and you'll have no problem matching the EPA fuel economy ratings of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Audi estimates a conservative 22 mpg combined figure, but our numbers were closer to 23.5 after a week of mixed driving.

The beautiful thing about the A6 is how nimble it feels on the road. A comparable BMW 5 Series is almost 200 pounds heavier than the 3.0T Quattro A6, and it's really quite noticeable. The A6 feels like a larger A4 rather than a smaller A8, and by contrast, feels more akin to a BMW 335i than its direct competitor, the 535i. No, no, no – the A6 is not nearly as sure-footed as a 3 Series, but when it comes to things like steering and balance, we'd take the A6 over the 5 Series, no questions asked.


2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro rear 3/4 view

Speaking of which, Audi's Drive Select system allows you to alter just how much involvement you want with things like steering, suspension and drivetrain. After playing with this system for hours to find our perfect combination, we preferred to leave the chassis and steering in Dynamic mode, but kept the engine in its automatic setting, since we didn't want to outright slaughter our fuel economy numbers. Like we said, the 3.0-liter super-six is fantastic on its own, and doesn't need to be shifting and revving all of the time in order to produce a great driving experience. In Dynamic mode, the steering loses the Audi-typical dead on-center feel, and its levels of feedback and directness are top notch.

If a 5 Series is on your shopping list, you really want to drive the A6 before plunking down the cash. The BMW is a fantastic car from behind the wheel, but seriously, this Audi is class-leading stuff.

If you are buying, the cost of entry is $41,700 for the 2.0T Premium model, or in the case of our top-trim 3.0T Prestige, $56,780. Tick every option on the order form and you'll be sailing just over $67,000. That might seem like a lot, but a fully decked-out 535i xDrive will run you close to 70 large, too.

The 2012 A6 is simply another chapter in Audi's aggressive product rejuvenation strategy, spearheaded by the A8. We've only had nice things to say about it, the A7, and now the A6, and frankly, this car isn't just "pretty damn good" anymore. It's better.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 67 Comments
      mikemaj82
      • 3 Years Ago
      who actually affords these cars? What do you make a year? Seriously. I see so many of them on the road, yet everyone's supposedly poor and losing their house.
      manny73
      • 3 Years Ago
      i really like audi a6, but the auto doesn't lease very good. it cost at least $200 a month more than both BMW and Mercedes Benz. i rented A4 in europe and it drove great the 2.0 turbo oil burner. however, i have e class coupe and bmw 335i ix and i saved over $500 a month, on two cars.
        simianspeedster
        • 3 Years Ago
        @manny73
        This is an often overlooked point. I've compared BMWs and Audis at the point of purchase and I've consistently found that the residuals BMW offers for their cars are significantly better than Audi. When we were shopping for wagons, we found that the A4 Avant lease payment was significantly higher than the 3 Series Wagon even though the A4 was priced almost 10% lower when relatively equally equipped. As Audi continue to offer more competitive cars, I expect their resale values will increase hence their residuals, but it will be interesting if the new A6 will still lease for more than BMWs and MBs.
      wallstreet
      • 3 Years Ago
      Anyone who buys this over a 5-series has no taste in cars.
        Ak74
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wallstreet
        So you buy car by how many heads it will turn? It a FWD. I don't care. give me Nice RWD
        donnieorama
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wallstreet
        Totally absurd.
          Alex Rodriguez MacFa
          • 3 Years Ago
          @donnieorama
          The A6 will turn many more heads than the 5 pure and simple. In terms of driving dynamics, check the reviews of both cars. The Bimmer is not what it use to be and neither the Audi !!
        John G
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wallstreet
        Any reason other than the usual "BMW is better because its RWD" or "Nothing is better than BMW, regardless"? New 5 series is heavier, not much better looking than the last and from what I've experienced has become a little softer and less dynamic. A lot of reviews are favouring the new A6 over the 5 series. So according to you all these people have no taste. Perhaps you're just blinded by the BMW brand.
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wallstreet
        from the ratings you seem to be the one who is wrong
        Gerry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wallstreet
        I guess I don't. That's Wallstreet.
      simianspeedster
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Compared to a heavier, less-powerful BMW 535i xDrive, the Audi will reach 60 mph a full three-tenths of a second quicker." Clearly Autoblog is taking their talking points directly from Audi's PR machine. I understand the tendency to consider the 535i xDrive the natural competitior to the A6 Quattro, but the simple fact remains: a majority of 5 Series owners stick with the RWD model because they don't need AWD and BMW doesn't force it on them. Instead of stacking the deck against BMW in your performance and pricing comparisons by only mentioned the xDrive model, how about asking Audi why they don't offer the A6 3.0T without Quattro? I'll save you the trouble: because the car is FWD based, it can't handle 310HP without Quattro. Also, how about asking Audi why the A6 isn't offered with a manual transmission like the 5 Series? Obviously this Audi is very competitive car. In fact, it's a good enough car that Autoblog shouldn't have to do Audi's PR work for them by failing to compare it to a straight 535i as most potential consumers will. Poor form Autoblog -- I expect better.
        wallstreet
        • 3 Years Ago
        @simianspeedster
        These magazines should compare FWD A6 to RWD 5-series. But Audi will not allow that to happen.
        simianspeedster
        • 3 Years Ago
        @simianspeedster
        To clarify: I'm not arguing that the A6 might be the better driving car overall, but I object to the fact that Autoblog is clearly echoing Audi's suggestion that the A6 3.0T can only be compared with an AWD xDrive BMW -- that's obviously laughable because most mid-size sports sedan drivers buy RWD when it is offered. Just because Audi doesn't offer RWD in the 3.0T doesn't mean it's not the mainstream option for BMW. It's not an insignificant point. For example, there's a lot of talk about how the 5 Series is heavier than the A6. That's technically true, but the difference is negligible when you compare an A6 3.0T to the RWD 5 Series that sells in the highest volume (not the AWD model). Also, don't forget the mileage advantage the 535i offers by NOT offerting AWD. A6 3.0T Automatic = 4,045 lbs. - 19 City / 28 Highway 535i Manual = 4,068 lbs. - 19 City / 28 Highway 535i Automatic = 4,090 lbs - 20 City / 30 Highway
        zamafir
        • 3 Years Ago
        @simianspeedster
        "that's obviously laughable because most mid-size sports sedan drivers buy RWD when it is offered. Just because Audi doesn't offer RWD in the 3.0T doesn't mean it's not the mainstream option for BMW. A6 3.0T Automatic = 4,045 lbs. - 19 City / 28 Highway 535i Manual = 4,068 lbs. - 19 City / 28 Highway 535i Automatic = 4,090 lbs - 20 City / 30 Highway" And yet the RWD 535i is still HEAVIER than the AWD A6. Why. Why. why. why. Why are BMW's RWD models consistently heavier than their competitors AWD models? it makes no sense.
          simianspeedster
          • 3 Years Ago
          @zamafir
          Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Tiptronic = 3,704 lbs. BMW 328i Automatic = 3,428 lbs. BMW 328xi Automatic = 3,649 lbs. What was it you were saying about BMW's RWD models being consistently heavier than their competitors AWD models? I know how much you hate facts, Zamafir, but can you at least try to be accurate for once?
          Ak74
          • 3 Years Ago
          @zamafir
          20lb heavier? OMG BMW is a pig. seriously get a life zamafir. Why do i need a FWD? Major problem with Audi. Don't even care if their AWD is lighter. RWD is where the fun is :)
        sparrk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @simianspeedster
        stop filling space with nonsense. A quick search on youtube in 5 languages (i'm one of those damn Europeans) and the result is the same, Audi A6 3.0TFSI is better than the nearest BMW 5 and Mercedes E class. Looks like Audi has a winner here.
        sparrk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @simianspeedster
        @ simianspeedster , other car reviews from 5 different countries compare the A6 with the RWD 535i series and E Class. The A6 3.0T still wins.
          simianspeedster
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sparrk
          The A6 wins? Is this a sport where we're keeping score? sparrk - you're missing the point completely. I don't care who "wins" according to a bunch of reviews on youtube. We can all make up our own mind about which car we'd rather have. I just think it's unprofessional for Autoblog to go out of their way to quote half-facts that clearly bias the reader towards one car over another. It undermines their authority.
        Gerry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @simianspeedster
        Check out the MotorTrend review of the cars. MT got a 0-60 of 4.8. Not bad for a 4,200 all-wheel drive car. The 535i (no xDrive) was no where to be found.
      You guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Saw an A7 today. EASILY the best looking Audi in the stable. (Other than the R8)
        Agilis
        • 3 Years Ago
        @You guy
        C'mon, you can't ignore the Audi S5. Now as far as sedan's yeah... Audi A7 all the way.
        OhReallyDough
        • 3 Years Ago
        @You guy
        I second that. Audi being my fav of the German lux "Big 3", the R8 has (and likely will be for a while) been my fav but the A7 is a CLOSE 2nd. I sat in it at the dealer and its GORGEOUS
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      miketim1
      • 3 Years Ago
      More design went into the headlight more then the actual car. . . . lol
      SamerIraq
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here in Middle East German cars are not that popular and have the lowest resale value as they cant withstand the extreme heat and usually start having problems after 2-3 years maximum, and when I say I mean serious ones, with all that market image, they still overpriced here, do you know how much it costs here? the article says with full options boxes ticked it costs 67000$, while, I checked the one that come with "decent" options but not fully loaded, the prices is 77500 $? of course I will wait for the new GS 350 in this case
        Jonathan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SamerIraq
        ... a Lexus GS... compared to a German sedan? I have to go dail 911 now, dying of laughter.
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SamerIraq
        strangely lots of rich people disagree with you. speaking of iraq one maybe is better of with a humwee anyway.
        Krishan Mistry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SamerIraq
        A6>>>>>>>>>>>GS. Always have always will.
      Tuga
      • 3 Years Ago
      So much better looking than the A7. And one of the few Audis you can actually tell apart from the others from a distance.
        moorewr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tuga
        I know what you mean, and I still think the A7 has to high a beltline, but: the A7 blew me away when I saw it in the flesh. It has a really stunning presence, especially from the back. The cargo area was surprisingly small, though, for such a big car, especially one with a hatch - less usable space than my A4 or my wife's Elantra Touring. Of course, the same is true with the A8!
        Zoom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tuga
        "And one of the few Audis you can actually tell apart from the others from a distance." Really? You have eyes, right? The A7 is distinctive. This looks 10 years old, just smoothed over. And the squashed-looking center stack. Meh. I'll take the new Lexus GS over this any day.
          Tuga
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          Yes, i do have eyes. I also live in a country where the A5 Sportback is on sale. Do you have manners?
          Krishan Mistry
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          Seriously, a GS Lexus? Nothing wrong with it, but only a German midsize luxury sedan is worthy of competing with a German midsize luxury sedan. And I guess all the magazines who place Audi #1 in comparos (esp against Japanese wannabes) must all be crazy, right?
          Zoom
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          Tuga...sure do have manners. The A7 looks better than the A6. Sorry. And this is not distinctive from the A4 or A8 or any sedan from Audi in 10+ years. And yes, the new GS that's coming out soon. Not the current one. Plus, I'd take the GS over this simply because it will be reliable, unlike the A6.
          Jason
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          Don't know why the above comment got so down voted. Not bad manners to me, just a comment made in surprise that anyone would think this car looks distinctive. It does not. I agree Zoom, the new Lexus GS interior looks like it's from 10 years in the future. This A6 interior with the horrid navi screen awkwardly standing on the top of the dash is a fail.
          Spellchecker
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          The new Lexus interior looks "futuristic"? Who are you kidding? That new Lexus cabin looks downright AWFUL. It looks like something that should be in the LF-A, not in a luxury car where elegance and class are wanted - because the new Lexus GS cabin has neither elegance nor class. It's hideous and out of place in that car. And the new GS - boring.
      Matthew Simmons
      • 3 Years Ago
      I know I'd be a "cock" if I drove one of these but that doesn't matter I still want one!
      Seven Eigh8 Si6
      • 3 Years Ago
      Really nice car, I like all three offerings from Germany. The E-Class, 5-Series and the A6 they are all pretty nice cars wouldn't mind owning all three.
      Saint Sinner
      • 3 Years Ago
      $67,000 and no fog lamps Phew !
        Gerry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Saint Sinner
        The fog lamps are integrated into the headlights. The lane detector fits where fog lights typically fit. That was my first question to the salesman before buying mine.
        Jonathan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Saint Sinner
        Ok... I mean, as much as I use fog lights, I get why theyre not on cars anymore. the average person never uses them unless you have a 2001+ Mercedes where they come on when you unlock the car in the dark
          OhReallyDough
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jonathan
          lol Thats about the only time i use mine too. And i love the feature (being able to have my path illuminated in the dark) but i assumed (and the article confirmed) that with something like these superbright LEDs Audi has you would be fine without them
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