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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Audi A6 is well equipped and superbly refined, yet it still handles well. Go for a smooth diesel engine and running costs are kept low

Against Electrical and air-con problems can blight used cars, the ride is firm and some owners don't like the light steering

Verdict A used A6 gives you a lot of car for the money, yet it's good to drive, reliable and needn't cost a fortune to run.

Go for… 2.0 TDI SE

Avoid… 4.2 V8 auto

Audi A6 Saloon
  • 1. There’s masses of space for five adults in the cabin
  • 2. Some owners have reported that the engines and transmissions are below par, so test drive several cars if you can
  • 3. Suspension and brakes could be vulnerable to faults, so insist on a test drive
  • 4. Interior build quality is renowned and should stand up well over time
  • 5. Engines are thirsty, especially big petrol units. 2.0 TDI is most frugal, but 3.0 V6 TDI is best all-rounder
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Audi A6 Saloon full review with expert trade views

If you're looking to travel in business class, but want to stick to an economy budget, the Audi A6 has all you need in a saloon at a sensible price.

The A6 manages to blend refinement with a sporty drive. Its firm suspension allows nimble handling, with plenty of grip, but it can feel unsettled on bumpy roads. The light steering may feel unusual at first, but it does make low-speed manoeuvring easier. Wind and road noise are kept at bay - even at motorway speeds. You rarely hear the engine unless you're in a vocal V8 version.

There's generous head- and legroom inside for four adults; the fifth seat is best reserved for children because of a high transmission tunnel. The boot is suitably cavernous and, on some models, the rear seats fold down. Fit and finish are flawless, with high quality materials.

Trade view

Ex-company and fleet cars should have a full service history – so walk away from anything that looks as if it's not been maintained properly.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The diesels are best: they are far more common than the petrols, and hold their value better. The entry-level 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI performs well in such a large car. If you want more performance, then the smooth 178bhp 2.7-litre V6 is the next best option, with the 233bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel the quickest, but also the rarest.

Consider a petrol model, though, if the price is right. The turbocharged 2.0-litre has 165bhp, then there are three V6s and two V8s with between 177 and 345bhp. The 2.0 and smallest V6 are the best options.

Quattro four-wheel drive is an option with the mid-sized engines and standard on the largest. While it does improve handling and traction, it doesn't make an already accomplished car an awful lot better. The automatic gearboxes are smooth and feel well matched to the engines.

Opt for SE trim and you'll get a good kit list, including climate control, CD player, four electric windows and cruise control. The S line adds stiffer suspension and racier cabin detailing. Metallic paint is essential for good resale value - as is sat-nav and leather seats on anything larger than a 2.0-litre model.

Trade view

A used Audi A6 is a lot of class for not a lot of cash. It makes a great alternative to a traditional family-sized car and your money will go a lot further, too.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The 2.0-litre diesel has an official average of 44.8mpg, compared with the 2.0-litre petrol's 34.5mpg – but be sure you'll cover enough miles to make the extra cost of the diesel worth paying. The 2.7-litre diesel is respectable at 40.9mpg, with the 3.0 V6 at 35.3mpg. These beat the rest of the petrol models, with the 2.4 V6 managing just 29.1mpg.

High emissions mean road tax cheap isn't cheap on any model, but a 2.0-litre TDIe diesel introduced in mid '08 is by far the cheapest to run, it emits just 139g/km of CO2 and covers 53.3mpg.

Servicing costs are typical for this type of car, but there are plenty of specialist independent garages who will save money. For cars that are three years old and over Audi dealers have fixed-price servicing, along with set prices for replacing standard parts, such as brake pads, which represent decent value.

Trade view

Ex-company and fleet cars should have a full service history – so walk away from anything that looks as if it's not been maintained properly.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The A6 has a good reputation for reliability, yet there are some problems that have cropped up.

The air-con is surprisingly susceptible to faults, with roughly a quarter of cars needing attention. Check that it blows icy-cold air and that there are no damp or musty smells.

The diesel engines can get through oil between services, so it's vital to check them regularly. Inspect the oil level and see when the car was last serviced.

Gremlins in the electrical system strike in almost 40% of cars. The engine's ECU can also cause problems, so look for warning lights on the dashboard or a sudden drop in performance.

Some whatcar.com users have also complained about the rear wheels rubbing on wheelarches when the car is loaded, although this appears to effect S line cars only. Tyres can be expensive to replace, too.

Trade view

A used Audi A6 is a lot of class for not a lot of cash. It makes a great alternative to a traditional family-sized car and your money will go a lot further, too.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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