GoAutoLogo
MENU

Car reviews - Audi - A6 - and A7 range

Our Opinion

We like
Quality, design, space, drivetrain, safety, engineering, quattro reassurance, broad choice
Room for improvement
Nose-heavy handling in V6 and V8 models, some performance hesitation in 1.8 TFSI, dull steering, firm ride with bigger wheels

Gallery

Click to see larger images

Audi logo13 Mar 2015

SPEAK to the boss of any luxury car-maker and every one of them will tell you that their company’s reputation lives or dies on the back of what we know as the BMW 5 Series class.

Simply put, it is the abilities of the large executive sedan (and wagon) that reflects what the brand can or cannot do. Sure, more people will buy the smaller 3 Series-sized model, while something like the 7 Series remains the high-tech flagship, but respect starts and ends at 5. Or E. Or A6, as the case may be.

Lately, Mercedes has lead with the E-Class, and the ageing BMW alternative has sat firmly in second place. But the Audi A6 has challenged that long-time German duopoly lately. In 2014 sales have risen 25 per cent against the Benz’s eight per cent, while the BMW's are down 20 per cent.

Now things might finally go Ingolstadt’s way with the release of the facelifted A6 as well as its prettier – if $20,000 more expensive model-for-model – A7 Sportback sibling.

Frankly, even Audi obsessives will struggle to pick these Series II pairs apart from their respective 2011-era predecessors, so you’ll just have to believe us when we say that the grille is fatter, the headlights fancier, the bumper air intakes squarer and the tail-lights more high-tech.

We love their newly optional directional indicators, by the way.

Inside, the biggest advance is the massive sat-nav mapping display between the tacho and speedo, making for a widescreen multimedia interface to keep the car and driver better connected.

All are welcome upgrades, but everybody would agree that there was nothing wrong with the Audi’s design or ergonomic layout, for the brand is famous as a paragon of quality and aesthetics. Even the most basic variant looks, feels, and smells like a truly premium product. By the time you’re sampling the S6 or A7 Sportback ranges the experience is a million dollar one.

Interestingly, Audi has dropped the A6 Avant wagon versions in all but the red-hot RS6 rocket and Allroad crossover guises, while the entry-level A6 1.8 TFSI – from a tenner under $80K – has had a 200cc smaller engine transplant.

Boo, you might say, but the old Multitronic CVT gearbox has also given way to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic on this sole (for now – the 2.0 TDI diesel’s six months away) front-driver. So, at last, we might be able to discern some real changes to the range.

On the move, the 140kW/320Nm 1.8 TFSI certainly does not drive like a base variant, thanks to an arrestingly sweet yet determined power delivery from the newly minted drivetrain. The four-pot petrol turbo sings like its voice box is creamed with warm runny honey.

However, at lower speeds, if you need a quick getaway, forget it. The delay from urgent pedal pressing to forward thrust can seem eternal, but clearly the impressive 7.9-second 0-100km/h time is all down to the fast responses in the upper-end of the rev ranges.

About the only other observation is the curiously artificial steering feel, despite the helm itself responding quickly and with well-modulated effort.

There isn’t any real connection between the rim and the road, which is sure to disappoint keener drivers.

Other than that it’s clear that the 1.8 TFSI is right up there for class honours even the ride on the standard 18-inch wheel and tyre set-up felt sufficiently supple over the lovely Yarra Valley roads north-east of Melbourne.

Next up during our two-day drive program was the $115,400 A7 Sportback powered by the 160kW/500Nm 3.0 TDI V6 turbo-diesel with quattro and a seven-speed S tronic transmission combo.

After the treacly-smooth, if at times languid sensations of the 1.8 TFSI four-pot petrol siren, this one felt like it was driven by a distant power station, working away tirelessly to provide instant muscle as required.

Flex the right foot, and the torque just envelopes the car, sweeping it along quickly and quietly. Add the extra surety of quattro all-wheel drive, and the chassis is incredibly planted, backed up by more natural steering than in the front-driver.

Flipsides? Going quattro and V6 diesel equals nearly 200kg of extra ballast (more in the A7 Sportback version), making it feel quite nose heavy. Still, as nobody is expecting Mini Cooper runabout levels of handling, the 3.0 TDI quattro makes for a fine grand tourer in every sense.

Back in the A6, the $124,900 235kW/650Nm 3.0 TDI Biturbo quattro Tiptronic makes the single-turbo V6 diesel version seem anaemic, due to a torrent of torque with enough thrust to tilt the world on its axis.

Along with the extra blower, this magnificent motor gains the services of an eight-speed auto, and together they clear the way for the Audi to power along like a star ship in warp drive.

Plus, the optional fake exhaust note’s baritone lull – rising to a thunderous roar when pushing on – is lusty.

A word of warning though: At nearly two tonnes all up, we’d be wary of this car’s cornering capabilities in the wet despite the grippy quattro gear. Still, the Biturbo V6 diesel is a tremendously effortless cross-country driving experience.

Finally, with the RS6/RS7 models still a couple of months away, the $169,900 S6 quattro sedan was the last new A6 we sampled, brandishing a 331kW/550Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 and seven-speed S-tronic drivetrain for cyclonic acceleration (4.4 seconds) backed up by instant braking and towering levels of body control.

Great sports seats, a firm yet disciplined ride on adaptive air suspension and a frenzied exhaust note make the magnetised-to-the-tarmac S6 quattro the quintessential lairy GT, reeling in motorways with stupendous speed and ease.

However, and again with nearly 2000kg to contend with, through a tight turn these Audis do feel a little like lead bullets.

To sum up, then, the handsome, large, spacious and incredibly well-built A6 and A7 Sportback provide quick and compelling competition to the equivalently sized BMW and Benz.

There is enough of the Vorsprung durch Technik nous in these cars to make Audi proud. We’d skip the front-drive 1.8 TFSI for any of the quattro models instead, and probably settle for the tumultuously torquey Biturbo V6 diesel to really savour the efficiency fruits that go hand-in-hand with this German powerhouse. Reputation intact.

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Enquire on or Test Drive a New A6

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires

Agreement

This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
close
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only
*** Prices exclude on road costs and dealer delivery fees

A6 pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.