2019 Audi A6 Review

2019 Audi A6 Review By Auto Critic Steve Hammes

2019 Audi A6 Prestige 55 TFSI quattro

In general, sales figures for traditional cars foretell a grim future as the SUV machine marches on. But for those of you who still prefer to be closer to the road there are some amazing choices in the sedan world – especially if you have a corner office.  And this is the all-new Audi A6.

Your memories of driving beforethat SUV arrived in your driveway may be getting a little fuzzy. So do yourself a favor and go test-drive a car…you know, one with 4 doors and a trunk.  It’ll remind you how good it can feel to ride a little lower and all of the subtle attributes that go along with it; especially if it’s a German luxury sedan like this new A6. Your memories of driving beforethat SUV arrived in your driveway may be getting a little fuzzy.

So do yourself a favor and go test-drive a car…you know, one with 4 doors and a trunk.  It’ll remind you how good it can feel to ride a little lower and all of the subtle attributes that go along with it; especially if it’s a German luxury sedan like this new A6.  It’s large but not too big, it’s easy to get in and out of and once you step through that door it’s like arriving in the lobby of a boutique hotel. A sedan like this demands a majestic ride quality and the A6 delivers.  Though Audi touts this car’s more dynamic driving nature via enhanced handling to me the headline is how beautifully smooth it operates; from powertrain to suspension this is how a luxury car should feel.

It wraps you in a warm blanket and allows you to tune out the crazy world around you.  With heated, massaging seats replete with a number of programs for both the driver and the front passenger, a silent cabin and new minimalist electronic controls, the A6 is a haven for the weary.  I just love driving it…it’ll drop your road rage quotient by a factor of 10.

So what makes the A6 new?  Well, the V6 is still force fed but the supercharger has been replaced with a twin-turbo nestled between the cylinder banks to generate 44 pound-feet of additional torque.  With 335 horsepower it’s not any faster to 60mph than the previous A6 at a sensible yet stirring 5.1 seconds but it is more efficient.  The new all-wheel drive disconnect feature known as quattro ultra in combination with a new 48-volt electrical system that facilitates mild-hybrid operation allows this heavier, more powerful A6 to achieve an extra 2mpg in combined city/highway driving, rated at 25mpg. An even more fuel efficient front-drive 4-cylinder model is also on the way.  This A6 also trades in a little luggage volume for greater head- and shoulder room in both rows, but this trunk is still a big one and offers hands-free activation, a cargo net, a bag hook and expansion into the rear seats.

These rear seats really do offer up a lot of legroom but the backrests are very upright and the seat bottoms are very short plus with this big transmission hump right here this is essentially a 4-seater.

Quad zone climate control, heated seats, dual USB ports and manual sunshades facilitate the luxury ambiance for 2 more.

The technology in these luxury sedans is mind-blowing and it can definitely be intimidating.  But I’ve got to give Audi credit…for as much safety and convenience as they’ve stuffed in here, notice how they’ve cut down on button clutter…a lesson learned from the Swedes, perhaps?  The new dual screen MMI system gets most of the credit for the newfound simplicity as do the natural language voice commands…here’s something we get to say in Albany a lot: I’m cold.

Most of the controls are now clickable switches. Even the touchscreen has a haptic feedback click to it when pressed.  The ergonomics are superior so everything seems to be right where your mind expects it to be.  I’ve never been big on the 2 screen setup before but this is a perfect utilization of it.  Whether you’re changing the spectacular ambient interior lighting or using the wireless CarPlay with a concealed wireless charge pad, this MMI system is very likable.  The around view camera with 3D view is the best on the market and includes a switch to activate it outside of the touchscreen.  And Audi’s virtual cockpit with Google maps, various configurations and heads-up display is nothing short of brilliant.  It blows away the information clusters of its German rivals. And the animated LED exterior lighting is so cool but I’m surprised the A6 doesn’t have some sort of logo projection when opening the door.

People ask me what makes a car this expensive; is it really worth it?  And I often compare it to an expensive watch…now you can find a cheap drugstore watch that’ll keep the same time but some people obsess over details, accuracy and precise movements.  They’re usually very nuanced but together they complete the package and satisfy the owner in a way something less simply can’t.  And the A6 has those it factors…it’s brilliantly smooth and stout with on-demand power and a quiet demeanor.  Understated but strong, there is a beautiful harmony here that makes you want to keep driving. And despite the optional lowered sport suspension and thin walled 21” tires, the A6 rides like a dream.

Just because it’s coddling doesn’t mean it can’t hang on a curvy road.  The Drive Select modes can manipulate the car up for Comfort, Dynamic or Auto settings and can be personalized and when in Dynamic the A6 handles the road like a boss without forgoing comfort.  The engine sound also adapts but always remains appropriately muted and the 7-speed transmission is as smooth as they come.  The only issue I have with the drive is the new progressive steering system that adjusts the ratio on the fly based on speed and driver input.  Because of it I find that the A6 sometimes doesn’t turn in quickly enough resulting in an artificial understeer situation that feels unnatural.  But the torque vectoring and 4-wheel traction on these grippy tires provide an amazing sense of control.

As for safety tech it’s all here including Adaptive Cruise Control with the helpful Traffic Jam Assist but there’s no true hands-off autonomous driving so Cadillac’s Super Cruise continues to lead the way.

The 2019 A6 starts at about $60,000 while this heavily optioned Prestige trim checks in at $77,290.  And just when you thought the Germans couldn’t be any more confusing with their vehicle naming, Audi now refers to this A6 with the 3.0T as the 55 TFSI quattro S tronic…the 55 representing the vehicle’s relative power output in kilowatts to add “clarity” for customers, according to Audi.  I’m not kidding.

Stately and powerful, smooth and comforting, the new A6 is where it’s at in the techy luxury business sedan segment.

 

 

 

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