January 9, 2007 > AUDI A6
Audi is a German automotive firm with a long heritage dating back to 1910. The four rings in the Audi logo represent the auto manufacturers Audi, DKW, Horch, and Wanderer that joined in 1932 to form Auto Union. Some of those firms actually started in the early 1900s (Horch started in 1899).
The A6 is a four-door sedan that comes with two basic engine options. Our car had the 3.2-liter, V-6 with 255 HP at a base cost of $45,100. Its EPA numbers are 19/27. For an additional $13,350 you can upgrade to Audi's 4.2-liter, V-8 that puts out an additional 95 HP. For $30,050 more than the base A6, you can get the S6 (same body) with a 5.2-liter V-10 with 435 HP.
All 2007 A6s come with a 6-speed automatic transmission that includes paddle shifters. They also get ABS brakes and an electronic stabilization program that helps prevent the car from slipping and sliding. Speed is electronically limited to 130 mph. They also get Audi's famous permanent four-wheel drive system called Quattro. Four-wheel drive really improves the handling and safety in wet or snowy conditions.
All A6s also come with a standard type cruise control system. A $2,000 option upgrades it to an "adaptive" system. The difference is that you can preset the minimum distance you want to keep between you and the car in front of you. A radar system in the front of the A6 then scans the road. As you close the distance between you and a slower vehicle, the system slows the A6 to keep that set distance between the two cars. If that vehicle turns off or you move into an open lane, the system sees a clear road ahead and accelerates the A6 back up to your chosen speed.
The A6 drove like a high end German sedan (no surprise there). It was solid, taut, semi-stiff, and ultra responsive. The speed-sensitive steering was light, with just the right amount of feedback. Handling was precise and easy to anticipate. This car was a dream to drive.
The interior is very well designed. All controls are easy to see and use. Seats are great and have a multitude of adjustments. The steering wheel electrically telescopes and tilts. In fact, with the infinitely variable positions of the interior equipment, if you can't find a comfortable driving position, your body probably isn't human.
Audi's control system for the electronic systems is called MMI (Multi-Media Interface). It has a display screen on the dashboard, a control unit on the center console, and operational controls on the steering wheel. The MMI runs the entertainment systems, telephone system, navigation system, and various other systems for the car. This is a great way to control multiple functions. The best thing about it is that it is easy to use and understand. Even a non-techie like me can quickly learn to use it.
This car had something that I have never seen before. A small color video camera on the trunk lid was activated as you select reverse gear. The view backward is projected on the MMI screen on the dash. Now you can see what is happening behind the car. (I have seen these basic systems before.) Here is the really high tech part; as you turn the steering wheel, orange lines on the display screen move left or right to show you where the car will go at that steering angle. It was a blast playing with this feature.
The A6 is a great car and I sure would like one. Honey, my birthday is coming up. Did you read this test?
By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists