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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's lovely and quiet, with ample long-distance cruising ability and a great cabin

Against Keen drivers will be disappointed by the lifeless steering, and the ride is unsettled

Verdict Ride aside, the A6 is one of the classiest executive cars you can buy

Go for… 2.5 TDI

Avoid… Pre-facelift cars

Audi A6 Saloon
  • 1. Classy cabin is well built, dependable and stylish
  • 2. It has the largest boot in its class
  • 3. Suspension is the most likely area to give trouble so listen out for clunks on your test drive
  • 4. Check the electrics thoroughly - particularly the windows and warning lights
  • 5. Ignition coil failure affected 1.8T engines for a while - ensure coils have been replaced
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Audi A6 Saloon full review with expert trade views

Neatly presented, solid, trustworthy, admired, a good all-rounder and blessed with strong, confident looks - the A6 is all of those things.

It's a smart bit of kit, too - plenty of equipment, classy cabin, well built, dependable and stylish. There's acres of space up front and ample room for three in the rear, as well as the largest boot in its class.

However, the A6's weak area is its comparative lack of poise and agility on the road. If you want a sharp drive, go for a BMW 5 Series instead. The A6's steering is lifeless, the car feels stodgy through corners and the ride is unsettled.

Still, the engines - and there are plenty to choose from - are strong and refined. With no wind or road noise to speak of, the A6 cruises at speed in a hushed, effortless way.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

1.9 TDI and Sport models best buy. Doesn't hold value like the Avant

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There are more than 50 versions to choose from, including the four-wheel-drive quattro versions, which are less stodgy to drive.

The ones to go for were made from August 2001 onwards. These cars handle better and the firmer suspension eliminates some of the fidgety nature of its ride.

The wide range of engines begins with two four-cylinder petrols, a 2.0 and turbocharged 1.8 T, and also includes four petrol V6s (2.4, 2.8, 2.7 turbo and 3.0) and a 4.2 V8. Diesels include a 1.9 and two 2.5 V6s, and they became more powerful over the course of the car's life.

None of the engines is bad, but steer clear of the four-cylinder petrols because the V6s are better. The V8 is fast, but thirsty, and the best all-rounders are the lower-powered 2.5 V6 diesels.

We'd take the basic trim. It's plush enough to prevent you spending extra for SE or Sport trim. Start your search at Audi dealers and prestige specialists.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Diesels rule: 1.9TDI 110/130, especially in SE spec

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The 4.2 V8s, hot S6 and scorching RS6 will be costly. Driven hard, they're heavy on fuel, brakes and tyres - if you aren't going to drive them hard, you'd be better off with our chosen 2.5 V6 diesel, which is far more economical.

Servicing an A6 will cost about the same as a BMW 5 Series, but less than a Mercedes E-Class or Jaguar S-Type - so not cheap, but acceptable.

Get the work done outside Audi's dealer network. Warranty Direct data suggests a good independent garage could be as much as 40% cheaper.

Insurance is par for the course, but our 2.5 V6 diesel slots into an easily stomached group 14. The hot models are group 20, with most others 15-17.

The four-cylinder petrols give around 30mpg, the petrol V6s just under 30mpg and the V8s less than 20mpg. Another reason we favour the 2.5 diesels are their 35-40mpg, which the 1.9 diesel stretches to the high 40s.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

1.9 TDI and Sport models best buy. Doesn't hold value like the Avant

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There's very little to worry about, provided the car has been serviced on time by people who know what they're doing and who use decent parts.

A full service history - either at Audi dealers or specialist Audi independents - is absolutely essential. Without it, you're taking the risk of landing yourself with some expensive repairs in the future, as well as saddling yourself with a car that will be significantly less desirable when you decide to resell it.

Ignition coil trouble afflicted the 1.8T for a while, but all should have now been sorted, most while still under Audi's three-year/60,000-mile warranty.

Suspension is by far the most likely area to give trouble on an A6 saloon, according to claims made by Warranty Direct customers. So listen out for clunks, overly soggy handling, an unforgiving ride and noisy wheel bearings. The fuel and electric systems can also occasionally be iffy.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Diesels rule: 1.9TDI 110/130, especially in SE spec

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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