2012 Audi A6 Review
It happened again. Last winter, driving the Audi A8 on a snowy day, a bus unexpectedly came rumbling up a dirt road. Most cars would have fish-tailed like a dog sled in the Iditarod, but the A8 responded to a sudden nudge to the steering by almost magically swerving smoothly to the side, sweeping with a brush of silver onto the shoulder, through deep snow, and back onto the road again. We panicked; the car swerved.
With the A6, we were in a parking lot. Checking every mirror, of course – tightening seat belts, glancing around. No problems. Then, a biker appeared out of nowhere and the bleeps from behind started. We shot a glance at the back-up camera and, sure enough, the image of a biker flashed for a brief second. On the A6, not only are there sensors to warn you about an imminent collision, but you hear them from the direction that matters most: where the impact might occur. This auditory warning is downright cool.
And get this: You can even control the volume of the chimes. Let’s say you really want to hear a beep when you are backing up at a parking lot, but the sensors near the front seem more obvious. You can raise the rear volume for sensors and lower the front – or side beeps.
The A6 offers these luxury features as standard, and it’s what sets the vehicle apart. We made no secret about favoring the A7 and A8 in recent tests compared to other sporty models. The A8 still lingers on as one of the best drives we’ve had in the luxury sedan segment. The A6 fit just beneath those vehicles as you’d expect from the rather pedantic numbering scheme. What might not seem obvious is that the A6 feels like a luxury boat that is ready to set sail at the marina, only smaller.
For styling, there’s the atypical sleek bow shape of an Audi: no frills, just elegant and refined. In many ways, the A6 looks much closer to the A8 in terms of its bland-on-purpose design. No bubble shapes here like you get on an Infiniti, no sharp angles like a Cadillac or Mercedes, no chunky front like a Volvo. Fans of the Audi brand prefer this understated refinement, and the A6 has it more than the A7.
Racecars aren’t this comfortable
This is a sporty drive, although the A6 is no racing sedan, ala the Cadillac CTS-V. That said, the 3.0-liter turbocharged engine, a V6 delivering 310 horsepower with 325 lb-ft. of torque, is spritely if not exactly race track ready. Audi says the 3.0 is supercharged to act like a V8. Well, that may be true, depending on your perspective. The A6 goes 0 to 60 in just 5.3 seconds. You can easily switch into a paddle-shifter mode and there is plenty of raw power, but the horsepower figure doesn’t quite match the competion. The A6 fits well below the CTS-V, the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, and other top-end luxury models. The acceleration felt more like driving an Infiniti G37 – smart tuning intended to make a V6 more respectable.