Review: Audi A6

A mix of sophistication and athletic drive

07 Aug 15 Tim Barnes-Clay

Pros

  • Great cabin space

  • Sophisticated interior

  • Reliable

Cons

  • Electrical glitches

  • Firm suspension

  • Optional extras are pricey

Our expert rating

The Audi A6 is an executive car made in Germany. It is available as a saloon or as an estate, known as the Avant. The model has been around for a long while, but even so, it is still one of the most comfortable and pleasing used cars in the executive class.

Performance

The A6 is very good at munching the miles and is, therefore, powerful for cruising or for big overtakes on A roads. The 3.0 V6 diesel, which comes with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive, delivers the best blend of performance and economy.

Exterior of Audi A6 in silver

Ride and handling

For a big car, the A6 manages to mix sophistication with an athletic drive. Its firm suspension allows agile handling, with plenty of traction. Bear in mind this is still a vehicle built with the motorway in mind. B-roads disappear without fuss, but the Audi A6 can ride a little roughly over uneven surfaces due to its hard suspension set up.

Interior space

There is plentiful head and legroom in the cabin for four adults, with the fifth seat best kept for children. The load area in the saloon and estate is vast, too. What’s more, the fit and finish of the interior is faultless.

Interior of Audi A6

What to know before you buy

The Audi A6 has an excellent name when it comes to reliability. There are, however, some issues that have come to light. The air-conditioning unit is prone to defects, so on your test drive check that it blows freezing-cold air and that there are no dank or mouldy odours.

The diesel engines can burn oil quickly between services, too, so it is really important to check the oil. To do this, make sure your car is on flat, level ground because if it is on a slope, the readings you get won't be trustworthy. Then pull the dipstick out and, using a cloth or paper towel, wipe off the stick. Slide the dipstick back into its slot, pushing it all the way down, before pulling it out again. Now you should have a clear reading of the amount of oil in the vehicle.

Rear exterior of Audi A6 in silver

There will be two marks on the dipstick itself – usually notches cut into the side, bends in the dipstick itself, or marks engraved on the metal, and the oil level needs to be somewhere in the middle of the two. If it is below the bottom line, then you’ll need to top up the oil.

Other problems with used A6s are normally to do with the electrical system, so check the dashboard when driving and ensure no warning lights are illuminated. Tyres can be pricey to replace, as well.

Alternative cars

A used Audi A6 has massive competition from cars such as BMW’s 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class. They all have similar abilities. Nevertheless, in many respects, even the ultra-quick but less economical Audi RS6 or S6 models, and even the pragmatic “Allroad” version, are class leaders.

Alternative car to Audi A6 - BMW 5 Series

Overall verdict

A secondhand A6, in saloon or estate form, gives you a lot of motor for the money. The car looks great, gives off an air of classiness and it is also a great drive. Furthermore, the Audi, especially the 3.0 diesel version, is dependable and shouldn’t cost the earth to run.

Expert rating

Performance

Reliability

Space & comfort

Running costs

Value for money

Overall