Sitting in the mid-range of the large luxury car class, the 2011 Audi A6 sells in an MSRP range of $45,200 to $59,150 and returns 18 mpg city and 28 highway. Going up against its major competitors, the BMW 5-series and the Mercedes-Benz E-class, the Audi actually offers one of the most luxurious cabins in the genre and genuinely fine performance. It’s a well-crafted vehicle with a superior Quattro AWD option. This is a definite “must test drive” automobile for shoppers who want both high-class comfort and powerful performance.
Engine options are a little confusing at first glance, but make sense when paired with the trims. The 3.2 trim level is outfitted with a 3.2-liter V6, which has 265 hp. There’s a 4.2 with a 4.2-liter V8 with 350 hp. And the favorite option with reviewers is an available 3.0-liter V6 with a supercharger that makes for 300 hp. The 3.2 with front-wheel drive has a continuously variable transmission, but all other models have a six-speed automatic.
More than 80 percent of buyers go with the Quattro AWD, which elevates the performance of the A6 to the level of the BMW 5-series. That’s appropriate in a sleekly packaged vehicle with the trademark Audi trapezoid grille. For 2011, the A6 has sportier bumpers, refined door sills, and headlight washers. The aesthetic changes are small compared to some overhauls, but well thought out and effective. The air intakes on the front bumper, for instance, are mostly cosmetic, but they make their aggressive point beautifully.
The interior takes cabin design to a well-executed and distinctive level. The overall sensibility is modern with meticulous fit. If it looks like wood, for instance, it is wood. The electronic controls are designed for ease of use, but they also lend technological beauty to the layout of the dash. Standard features include Audi’s Multi Media Interface which merges climate and entertainment in one device. Although slammed in the past for being difficult to master, the system is greatly improved for 2011.
The A6 has a 15.9 cubic foot trunk, which is large enough for the class, but not as large as the Jaguar XF with 17.7 cubic feet or the Cadillac DTS with 19 and Lincoln MKS with 18. Oddly enough, in an otherwise flawless cabin, there are too few storage areas and bins, and the ones that are there are too small.
Safety features include an Electronic Stabilization Program that monitors each wheel to detect slippage, responding by applying the brakes individually to the wheel in question to prevent or correct a skid. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are a standard, along with electronic brake force distribution and traction control. There are front, front side, and side head curtain airbags with active head restraints and seatbelt pretensioners.
The 2011 Audi A6 is a beautiful performer that does a more than commendable job of going head to head with the competition. The interior is near best in class, and the Quattro AWD ups performance well beyond shopper expectations. Absolutely a car to take out for a test drive. But be prepared to be surprised. The Audi A6 may well speak to you in ways you didn’t anticipate.