2004 A6 New Car Test Drive
Precision engineering, attention to detail and high levels of quality make the Audi A6 an excellent alternative to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series models. Audi buyers tend to be more on the cutting edge and more willing to be different and A6 delivers the goods. It stands out with its Bauhaus style.
Most A6 models come with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system giving them a major traction advantage over BMW and Mercedes models, most of which are rear-wheel drive. One of the most popular models, however, is the front-wheel-drive A6 3.0, which delivers a smooth ride, responsive performance, and a sumptuous interior. The A6 3.0 comes with Audi's latest V6 engine and its excellent CVT automatic, a smooth, responsive and efficient combination. It's fitted with traction control, anti-lock brakes, and Audi's superb safety engineering.
At the other end of the spectrum is the new high-performance RS 6 with lightning-fast passing performance from a 450-horsepower twin-turbo V8. Punch it and the RS 6 delivers world-class performance, 0 to 60 in less than 4.6 seconds, Autobahn stability at triple-digit velocities. Even more impressive: It motors around town with the smooth ride and easy demeanor of a refined luxury car.
In between is a host of models that are a joy to drive, including the sporty 2.7 T and the powerful 4.2. They all share crisp steering and finely honed handling. All come with beautifully finished and highly functional interiors. Avant wagons offer cargo capacity with sports sedan handling and a luxurious ride. There isn't a dog in the bunch, so choosing one comes down to personal preferences.
Audi A6 is available in a variety of models with a full selection of engines. Each has a distinctive personality. Quattro all-wheel drive comes standard on all models except the A6 3.0 CVT FronTrak. All are four-door sedans except the A6 3.0 Avant wagon.
A6 3.0 ($35,700) comes standard with the 220-horsepower 3.0-liter V6, continuously variable transmission (CVT), front-wheel drive, traction control (anti-slip regulation or ASR), antilock braking (ABS), electronic rear brake pressure regulation, an electronic differential lock (EDL), and automatic climate control with filter. A6 3.0 Quattro ($37,450) adds Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system and a five-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic, which allows the driver to shift manually when desired. A6 3.0 models come standard with leather seating surfaces.
A6 3.0 Avant ($38,650) is the station wagon version. (Avant means station wagon at Audi.) It comes with the 3.0-liter V6, five-speed Tiptronic automatic, and Quattro all-wheel drive.
A6 2.7 T ($40,850) is the rowdy member of the A6 family, equipped with a 250-horsepower turbocharged V6. It's the only A6 offered with a manual transmission, a six-speed gearbox. It's also available with a five-speed automatic for the same price. Sport seats are available as an option ($500), but 2.7 T comes standard with leather seating surfaces.
A6 4.2 ($47,800) borrows the V8 engine from the mighty Audi S8. Stuffing this big 300-horsepower V8 into the A6 required Audi to stretch the nose slightly. While they were at it, they expanded the fender flares to cover wider tires.
S6 Avant ($58,700) is a high-performance sport wagon powered by a 340-horsepower V8. With that much power, the Avant's rear will be familiar to other drivers who try to keep up. The S6 Avant comes with the highest level of equipment, including heated front sport seats with 12-way power lumbar supports, gray birch wood trim, an in-dash six-CD changer and a 200-watt Bose audio system, and much more.
RS 6 (about $85,000) is a world-class luxury sports sedan with the heart of a race car. It's powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 that generates 450 horsepower and 415 foot-pounds of torque. Big brakes, a sports suspension and Audi's Dynamic Ride Control make for a complete, well-balanced setup. Only 1000 will be sold before the A6 line is redesigned.