2013 Audi A6
$42,200 - $50,400

Expert Review:Autoblog

The following review is for a 2012 Model Year. There may be minor changes to current model you are looking at.

A Smaller, Livelier, Less-Expensive A8

2012 Audi A6

2012 Audi A6 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Audi is on a roll. Need proof? Who doesn't overtly or secretly lust after an R8 Spyder? Would any of us kick anything with an RS badge out of our garage? Didn't think so. Audi's sales are growing because of its products. The German automaker recently broke the 100,000 unit sales mark in the States, with 2010 calendar year sales up 23 percent over 2009. The all-new 2012 Audi A6 – due in U.S. showrooms in September – continues the manufacturer's aggressive product expansion and portfolio revitalization plan. Now we want to know if it's good enough to bring even more buyers into the Audi family.

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Photos copyright ©2011 Rex Roy / AOL

The A6's debut at the Detroit Auto Show was all look and no play. So for the latter, we traveled to Sicily where we saw the A6's new lines in daylight and it became even more clear that Audi's designers in Ingolstadt have brought the sedan's styling in-line with the automaker's evolving corporate design language.

The shape and details closely resemble the new A8 – a big sedan we like plenty. Initially seeing an A6 and A8 together in Detroit reinforced how similar the two are, with overall size and their wheels being the quickest differentiators. Technically, the new exterior gives the revised A6 a slippery aerodynamic face. The Cd is a commendably low 0.26. Compared to the previous A6, the 2012 edition is slightly shorter and lower in overall length and height, but width is up 0.7 inches. The most significant dimensional change is the wheelbase, up nearly three inches thanks to a reengineered front differential and axle. The extra space between the axles directly benefits interior roominess.

2012 Audi A6 side view2012 Audi A6 front view2012 Audi A6 rear view

Significant changes under the hybrid steel and aluminum unibody enable the 2012 model to weigh less than 3,500 pounds, a comparatively low figure for a 16+foot mid-size luxury sedan. Even though the new car is marginally larger and carries more equipment than the previous-generation A6, weight is down by modest amounts in most model-to-model comparisons. Aluminum makes up more than 20-percent of the body, while lighter hot-shaped steels, which provide a high strength-to-weight ratio, are used in areas of the passenger cell in the front of the vehicle to enhance passenger safety.

Inside, the design motif is pure Audi. Materials and ergonomics are exemplary. The car's Multi Media Interface Plus now includes a touchpad that enables the MMI to perform character recognition tasks. This allows users to spell words with the stroke of a fingertip, providing another means of text input for navigation, phone and audio system functions. If you've read our reviews of the A7 (due in April) and A8, you already know this, but can see what we mean in the Short Cuts video below.

2012 Audi A6 interior2012 Audi A6 gauges2012 Audi A6 gearshift2012 Audi A6 navigation

An updatable computer chip powers the MMI, rich non-reflective VGA display with deep blacks and a myriad of functions. A story as long as this one would barely do the new system's capabilities justice, but know that the A6 will be available with its own cellular data plan to pipe information to its occupants while transmitting a WiFi signal to connect up to eight devices simultaneously.

The optional navigation system benefits greatly from the new technology. Users can see layered maps that begin as a standard graphical navigation map, then overlaid with Google Earth maps, and overlaid again with route instructions and real-time traffic information. The system is also capable of 3D graphics modes. Overall, it's very slick and one of the best nav displays we've ever seen.

While the European Union gets a choice of five powertrains – including 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesels – the U.S. makes do with the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the supercharged 3.0-liter TSFI V6. Respective power figures are 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet torque, and 310 hp and 325 lb-ft. The front-wheel-drive 2.0-liter model is offered with a Continuously Variable Transmission, while all Quattro and V6 models get the new ZF-sourced eight-speed Tiptronic. Naturally, fuel economy is up as well, with the 2.0T estimated at 25/33/28 mpg city/highway/combined, while the supercharged six manages a respectable 19/28/22 mpg.

Extra gears, lighter weight plus reduced powertrain and driveline friction has lowered fuel consumption by as much as 19 percent model-to-model, year vs. year. The V6, for example, is up 1 mpg city and 2 mpg highway compared to 2010 models.

2012 audi a6

Of additional interest to the fuel conscious, Audi will add the A6 Hybrid later this year. The A6 Hybrid will feature the same powertrain as the Q5 hybrid: a 211-horsepower, 2.0-liter, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder and a 33-kilowatt (45-horsepower) electric motor. Expect a diesel A6 after the Hybrid. Audi representatives we spoke with weren't specific on timing, but hinted that 2013 might be about when to expect another TDI model for American roads.

Our driving time in Sicily was short, so we satisfied ourselves with several hours behind the wheel of a European-spec 2012 A6 3.0-liter with the fast-shifting seven-speed Steptronic DCT and air suspension-equipped sedan.

About that gearbox and the air suspension – neither are coming to America. Therefore, the impressions we took away from this drive aren't entirely accurate for U.S. drivers. (No U.S.-spec cars were available.) The immediacy of the Steptronic will be missed, as will the range of ride settings provided by the air springs.

Even without these features, the U.S. 2012 A6 should be a seriously good drive. For those unfamiliar with the supercharged 3.0-liter, it's a surprisingly powerful engine. The linearity of the power delivery is almost shocking. While max torque runs from 2,900-4,500 rpm, the power plateau feels even broader. It runs hard out of the hole and just keeps pulling at the same rate shift after shift.

Regardless of whether we were blasting up sinewy mountain roads or flying across straight and flat valleys at close to 240 kph, the engine never felt like it was working hard. The adjective "effortless" comes to mind, as does the feeling of a naturally-aspirated V8.

It was on blasts through the valleys that we were able to note the refinement of the A6's new body. Sicily's imperfect roads tried to bottom out the suspension and twist the body while succeeding at neither.

2012 Audi A6 headlight2012 Audi A6 grille2012 Audi A6 tailpipe2012 Audi A6 taillight

In terms of road feel, the A6 stakes out a middle ground between the heaviness of the BMW 5 Series and lively playfulness of the 3 Series. The extra wheelbase helps deliver a smooth ride and the steering is immediate and direct, with fair but filtered road feel. It's not a Porsche 911, but then again, it isn't meant to be.

When flogged hard, our A6 did understeer, but it wasn't the sickening push one might expect from a C-segment sedan with ample room for four and a week's worth of luggage. On more than one occasion we relied heavily on the A6's four-wheel disc brakes, and they never dissapointed and remained fade-free even after lengthy mountain descents.

In terms of cabin noise, at generous throttle openings, the V6 made its presence known in a way that enthusiasts can appreciate. Beyond that, the only hum emminated from the wind snaking its way around the side mirrors.

2012 Audi A6 rear 3/4 view

During relative periods of calm, we played with the A6's optional full-color head-up display, automatic cruise control, lane-keeping assist, MMI with the touchpad, and night vision (in tunnels). The amount of technology packed into this car eliminates the gadget gulf that once separated top-of-the-line full-size bourgeois luxury cars from more affordable proletariat conveyances.

Unfortunately, our drive route was far too short to provide a more in-depth analysis. That time will come closer to the car's fall introduction. For those looking to place an order now, expect pricing to generally overlay the current model while reflecting an increase commensurate with the new A6's added content. But if these intial impressions are any indication, Audi has yet another strong contendor on its hands, and BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus have yet another weapon from Audi to worry about.

Photos copyright ©2011 Rex Roy / AOL

All-new S6 joins newly redesigned lineup.


Audi A6 is a luxurious midsize sports sedan that seats four people in comfort. The A6 lineup was completely redesigned for the 2012 model year, and a new high-performance S6 follows suit for the 2013 model year. 

Also new for 2013: The 2013 Audi A6 2.0T is available with all-wheel drive. The 2013 Audi A6 3.0T comes with a top-view camera system and a fuel-saving start/stop system. 

The A6 2.0T uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and comes standard with front-wheel drive. Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system with an 8-speed automatic transmission is optional on the 2013 A6 2.0T. Fuel economy for the A6 2.0T is very good, with an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg City/Highway with the CVT and 20/30 mpg with the 8-speed automatic and Quattro. 

The A6 3.0T is silky smooth, and fast. It gets 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque out of a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 310 hp and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. Quattro and the 8-speed automatic transmission are standard, as is Audi's stop/start technology, which turns the engine off during long idles to save fuel. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 18/27 mpg City/Highway. Premium gasoline is recommended. 

After a one-year hiatus, a new 2013 Audi S6 returns on the same new chassis the A6 received for 2012. The high-performance S6 is Audi's answer to the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. The Audi sits between the two in terms of sportiness, with the BMW suited more for the racetrack, and the Mercedes more of a luxurious cruiser. 

Like the A6, the new S6 now has a longer wheelbase and is slightly shorter and wider. The new body is better balanced and more athletic. What differentiates the S6 from the A6 models is a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension, upgraded brakes and high-performance tires, as well as unique exterior and interior trim. 

At the heart of the 2013 Audi S6 is a new twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, which replaces the old naturally aspirated V10. The new powerplant cranks out 420 hp and 406 lb.-ft. of torque, and is paired with a dual-clutch 7-speed transmission. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard. Although the new engine in the S6 is slightly less powerful than its predecessor, the 2013 S6 is faster and more efficient than the last generation. Audi estimates the S6 can go from 0-60 mph in less than 4.8 seconds, a full second less than the old model. That's especially impressive, considering the new S6 is about 130 pounds heavier. EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2013 S6 are 17/27 mpg City/Highway, which is impressive considering the car's weight and performance. 

A bevvy of electronic safety and convenience features are available on the A6 and S6, including lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning and night vision. There's even an option that can turn the vehicle's onboard wifi into a wireless hotspot for up to eight wireless-enabled devices. 

It's hard to beat Audi's interiors, and the A6 is no exception. One arc flows gracefully into the next, on the dash and door panels, from vents to grab handles. On the 3.0T, the leather is grainy, wood is walnut, trim brushed aluminum. Leather interior on the S6 is quilted in a diamond pattern, and the instrument panel and doors can be trimmed in carbon fiber. 

Competitors to the 2013 Audi A6 include the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Jaguar XF. For the S6, buyers might consider the Jaguar XFR-S, BMW M5, and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. 


The 2013 Audi A6 is available in three models: the 2.0T with a 211-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, CVT and front-wheel drive; the 2.0T Quattro with the same engine plus 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive; and the A6 3.0T Quattro with a 310-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6, 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The 2013 Audi S6 is available in one variant, with a 420 hp 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel-drive. 

The A6 2.0T ($42,200) comes standard with three-zone air conditioning, leather interior, eight-way power front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with multi-function controls, 5-inch monochrome driver information display, Multi-Media Interface (MMI) with 6.5-inch screen, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker audio system with single CD player, satellite radio and USB port; folding rear seat with pass-through, power sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers, LED taillamps, and 17-inch alloy wheels. On 2.0T Quattro models ($44,400), heated seats are also included. 

A Premium Plus package for the 2.0T ($4300) adds keyless ignition/entry, the Audi MMI interface with color display, navigation with real-time traffic and Google Earth, the Audi Connect in-car wireless Internet feature, an upgraded audio system with HD radio, CD changer and digital music storage; a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming outside mirrors, HID Xenon headlamps, LED running lights, and 18-inch wheels. 

The A6 3.0T ($50,400) includes all the 2.0T equipment plus heated front seats and an automatic stop/start engine system. Options for the A6 3.0T include the same Premium Plus features found on the 2.0. A 3.0 Prestige package ($6,550) adds four-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, ambient LED cabin lighting, a Bose audio system, adaptive headlights, special S-line badging, cornering lights and unique 18-inch wheels. 

On certain trims, an innovation package includes a head-up display, night vision assist, adaptive cruise control, power-folding auto-dimming sideview mirrors, a top-view camera system with front and rear corner views, a blind-spot warning system, active lane assist, and Audi's Pre-Sense Plus pre-collision system (which activates the brakes and adjusts the front seats to protect occupants if a collision is imminent). 

Other options include a Bang & Olufsen sound system, LED headlamps with daytime running lights, and a sport package with 20-inch wheels. 

The S6 ($71,900) includes S6 sport seats with unique leather interior and diamond stitching, heated, 12-way power front seats with driver memory, four-zone climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping sport steering wheel with multifunction controls, keyless entry/start, Homelink garage door opener, Bluetooth, the Audi MMI interface with navigation, the Audi Connect wifi service with 6-month subscription, a Bose audio system with satellite radio and iPod/USB connection, Xenon adaptive headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires. 

Safety equipment that comes standard includes six airbags in front, front side, and front/rear curtain; electronic stability control, anti-lock disc brakes, LATCH for children, and tire pressure monitor. Optional safety equipment includes Audi Side Assist, rear side-impact airbags, Adaptive Cruise Control, and all-wheel drive. 


Audi A6 was completely redesigned for the 2012 model year. 

We think the A6 has a beautiful face. We've grown used to Audi's big grilles, which some have likened to the mouth of a largemouth bass. Others have since copied it. On A6 models, the grille slats are black with a chrome surround. On the S6, it's chrome all the way. The S6 also has fog lights integrated into the lower air intakes. 

Execution of the shapely aluminum hood is excellent, with horizontal air intakes and wraparound headlamps that are long, sleek and sharp. Its shoulders are like a racecar, with aluminum front fenders. Although taller, the roofline is still sleek with its cool little sharkfin antenna. 

In the rear, wide tail lamps stretch across the back and stop squarely at the corners (in contrast to many vehicles now, whose lenses often wrap around far into the rear quarter panels). An integrated rear decklid spoiler looks like a little upturned tail. Quad exhaust pipes on the S6 look like they mean business without looking too flamboyant. 


The A6 interior exudes style and class. One arc flows gracefully into the next, on the dash and door panels, from vents to grab handles. Fit and finish is superb, as is the materials quality. On the 3.0T, the wood is walnut, the trim brushed aluminum. 

The leather used for the seats is beautiful, but grainy enough to feel, especially sliding in and out. On a five-hour interstate run from Seattle to Portland, we couldn't find pressure points that felt perfect with the standard 8-way power heated seats with lumbar. We all have different tastes and shapes and even moods, which is the hard thing about critiquing seat comfort. 

The S6 is another matter. It uses upgraded, Valcona leather, with the same gorgeous diamond stitching found on other S models. Seats are adjustable 12 ways, which provides a wider range of configurability. 

The lovely tachometer and speedometer, with clean numbers and needles in organic white light, are the best. The information from needle-on-numbers goes straight to your brain, without the distraction of a fancy face on a gauge. 

Between the tach and speedo there's a big space for stacks of digital information; instead of having to scroll through one report at a time, the A6 shows you three or four, including distance to empty (how far you can go before running out of gas). You can also view the navigation illustrations, a safe place to put that information because your eyes don't have to travel. Cars equipped with navigation use Google Earth, which is fun to watch, but it's so highly detailed it can be tough to know where you are at a glance. 

A 7-inch color display, hidden when the car is off, pops out of the dash when the car is turned on. Audi's MMI, or Multi Media Interface, works similarly to the systems used both by BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It's controlled by a circular knob surrounded by four buttons. Different drivers have different preferences, but we find this setup less distracting than a touch screen, because you don't have to reach out and lean forward to hit a button. And the screen won't get filled with fingerprints. 

If pointing and clicking is too tedious, you can also spell out your navigation requests on a tablet-like space with your fingertip. We were surprised by how well it read scribbling while driving. In theory it's slower than using voice, but we found the voice recognition system unreliable, so for us it was faster just to write. 

Cars equipped with the Audi Connect system, which uses a 3G connection to turn the car into a wireless hotspot, can support up to eight WiFi-enabled devices such as phones, iPads or laptops. 

Cargo space measures a relatively small 14.1 cubic feet, but standard split-folding rear seats and a pass-through help to create more room when needed. 

Driving Impression

The 2013 Audi A6 offers two powertrains, a 2.0 turbo and a newer 3.0 supercharged V6. The new S6 features a 420-hp twin-turbocharged V8 that replaces the old naturally aspirated V10. It's all about efficiency, now. 

Audi's 2.0-liter turbo engine found in the A6 2.0T is certifiably smooth and relaxed at 80 mph, and is a fine choice if you're content with 211 horsepower. The CVT might not perform as well as the Quattro version with the 8-speed automatic transmission, but it's the best choice for fuel economy. And it costs about $8000 less. 

The supercharged V6 in the 3.0T feels like the perfect midsize luxury car engine. All the speed you need, smooth acceleration and a nearly seamless 8-speed transmission. Fuel economy isn't bad, either with an EPA-estimated 19/28 mpg City/Highway, although we got a spectacular 31.6 mpg running with the cruise control set at 72 mph, on premium fuel. Puttering around town, we dropped as low as 16 mpg. 

You can drive the A6 in a racy manner without holding back, assuming you know what you're doing and are doing it safely. The unibody chassis is stiffer and lighter, with aluminum hood, front fenders, and suspension bits; and things like laser welds between the roof and side panels make a difference in rigidity. The Servotronic steering is electromechanical and speed sensitive, meaning it gets more precise as the car goes faster. 

The versatile suspension stays flat and with you all the way. Our A6 was equipped with the optional Sport Package, including 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires and firmer suspension tuning. Over speed bumps and sharp edges at slower speeds, the ride can surprise you with a small shot now and then, but over unsmooth pavement at 50 mph there's no discomfort. 

Quattro all-wheel drive seamlessly shifts power between the front and rear wheels according to the available grip. While cruising on the highway, the front/rear power distribution is split 40/60, but depending on traction demands it can vary from 15/85 to 70/30. 

Drive Select, a standard feature, allows the driver to select from four modes (Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Individual) that adjust the transmission, power steering and engine to alter shift points, steering boost and throttle response. With this many options, one of them will be just right for what you're after. 

The S6 is like an A6 on steroids. Its 420-hp twin-turbo V8 is strong and responsive, and the variable sport air suspension manages the S6's weight beautifully around corners. With its upgraded brakes, the S6 stops quickly. 

Like the A6, the S6 also uses Drive Select. Around town, we recommend Comfort or Auto mode for the smoothest ride and best fuel economy (although we realize some would consider this a waste of the S6's potential). On city streets, we found Dynamic mode to feel twitchy, with jackrabbit-like acceleration and grabby brakes. On high-speed sweepers or twisty canyon roads, Dynamic mode was well-suited to the task. But it lacks the seamless refinement of the sport mode found on the BMW M5. We were fond of the Dynamic mode's enhanced exhaust note, however. 


The Audi A6 offers speed, style, technology and comfort with good fuel mileage. The S6 splits the difference nicely between track-ready performance and ultimate luxury. 

Sam Moses filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report after his test drive of the A6 3.0T in Washington state, with Laura Burstein reporting from Los Angeles. 

Model Lineup

Audi A6 2.0T Premium ($42,200), A6 2.0 Premium Quattro ($44,400); A6 3.0 Premium Quattro ($50,400); S6 ($71,900). 

Assembled In

Neckarsulm, Germany. 

Options As Tested

metallic paint ($475); 19-inch wheel Sport Package ($1500); Audi Side Assist Package ($500) with blind spot alert, rear Pre Sense system and power-folding side mirrors. 

Model Tested

Audi A6 3.0T quattro Premium Plus ($54,700). 

*The data and content on this web site is subject to change without notice. Neither AOL nor any of its data or content providers shall be liable for errors in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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