2009 S6 New Car Test Drive
The Audi A6 continues a legacy of dynamic excellence, exceptional comfort and award-winning style. It is packed with technology, enhancing convenience and driving dynamics without overwhelming. The attention to detail inside and out is impressive, Audi becoming synonymous with benchmark especially as it relates to automotive interiors.
There is much to love about the A6. Its cabin is airy and comfortable, with firm, supportive seats and plenty of room for four. Its styling is a crisp, clean and modern interpretation of the aerodynamic sedan Audi debuted more than 30 years ago.
Underway, the A6 boasts precise steering, fluid engines and transmissions, stout brakes and a firm but comfortable ride. In high-speed corners the quattro models feel like they're on rails, a benefit of Audi's superb all-wheel-drive system. Braking and handling are excellent, whether on dry pavement or hurtling through a torrent of rain.
A6 is available as a sedan or a station wagon (Avant) and both are among the sleekest designs in class. The Avant is powered exclusively by Audi's newest 3-liter supercharged V6 engine.
Two V6s, a V8 and a V10 version of the A6 are available; all but the entry model comes with all-wheel drive. The standard 255-hp 3.2-liter V6 and continuously variable automatic are sufficient for all. The supercharged 3-liter brings 300 horsepower and nearly as much torque as the V8 for similar performance on less fuel. The V10-powered S6 is for serious drivers who don't mind trading comfort for high performance.
New for 2009: New front and rear lighting and a new bumper design; new interior accents. The 3.0T is new for the U.S. The quattro all-wheel-drive system has been updated for more rear bias and more refined driving characteristics. The suspension has been upgraded for optimized comfort and handling. And a blind-spot detection system is now optional on the A6.
The A6 competes primarily against the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Other contenders include the Acura RL, Cadillac CTS, Jaguar XF, and Lexus GS.
The Audi A6 line offers nine models, six sedans and three Avant wagons defined by engine: The A6 3.2 Premium ($45,100); A6 3.2 Premium Plus ($46,900); A6 3.0T Premium ($50,100); A6 3.0T Premium Plus ($51,600); A6 3.0T Prestige ($55,200); A6 4.2 Prestige ($60,950); A6 Avant 3.0T Premium ($53,310); A6 Avant 3.0T Premium Plus ($54,630); A6 Avant 3.0T Prestige ($58,160); and S6 ($75,900).
A6 3.2 variants are powered by a 3.2-liter 255-hp V6 and come with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission with seven preset gear ratios for manual control; EPA city/highway 18/27 mpg.
A6 3.0T models are powered by a 300-hp supercharged V6 (EPA 18/26 mpg). A6 4.2 models are powered by a 350-hp V8 (EPA 16/23 mpg). A6 3.0T and 4.2 models come with a six-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive.
A6 3.2 Premium comes with leather upholstery, genuine walnut trim, moonroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control with pollen filter. Also standard are power windows, locks and heated mirrors; eight-way power front seats with driver's power lumbar; 60/40 split-folding rear seat; tilt/telescoping column with leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel; cruise control; trip computer; theft deterrent system; AM/FM/6CD/MP3 with 10 speakers; Sirius satellite radio; Bluetooth; iPod interface; rain-sensing variable-intermittent wipers; automatic headlights; headlight washers; front and rear fog lights; and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Avant also gets roof rails, cargo cover, cargo retention system, rear spoiler and rear wash/wipe. Options on premium-grade cars include a cold weather package (heated front and rear seats and steering wheel, $650) and rear side airbags ($350).
Premium Plus trim (3.2 and 3.0T) upgrades with aluminum door sills and window trim, heated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, 18-inch wheels, driver memory system, and bi-Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights. Options at this level include cold weather package ($450), rear side airbags, voice-recognition navigation with rearview camera, and a Sports package ($1,500) with 19-inch wheels and performance tires, sports suspension, three-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles.
Prestige models add adaptive headlamps, power tilt/telescoping steering column, shift paddles, Advance key, navigation, and Bose surround sound system. Options include rear side airbags and sport package, and only on Prestige trim, Audi Side Assist warning system ($500).
The S6 sports sedan features a 435-hp V10 engine (EPA 14/19), bigger brakes, sports suspension, 19-inch wheels and high-performance tires, S-line bodywork trim, quad tailpipes, gray birch wood, specific three-spoke steering wheel and Nappa leather sport seats with integrated headrests, rear spoiler, and is generally equipped to Prestige specification. Options include carbon fiber trim inlays, rear side airbags, and heated rear seats; additionally, you may specify standard seats in Milano leather and 18-inch wheels with summer tires for areas of iffy infrastructure. Safety features include traction control, electronic stability program, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist. Passive safety features include two-stage frontal airbags, side-impact front airbags to protect the torso, head-protecting curtain side airbags to protect the head for front and rear outboard passengers; and active front head restraints. Rear side airbags are optional ($350) on all versions and a rearview camera comes with navigation. All except the 3.2 models come with all-wheel drive for added traction under power.