Competitively priced and the 2.0 TDI Ultra models are cheap to run
Every diesel A6 is efficient and economical compared with rivals, and strong resale values help to make most models sensible choices. Prices are competitive, too.
The 2.0 TDI Ultra is the standout version, though. It promises to be about as cheap as it gets for company and private buyers in this class, given its low CO2 emissions, slow depreciation and tempting contract hire and PCP finance deals. The automatic version also achieved 45.9mpg in our real-world True MPG tests; this isn’t as good as a BMW 520d’s result, but is still good for such a big car.
Although the six-cylinder diesel models stack up well against their similarly powerful rivals, they cost significantly more to buy and run than the four-cylinder Ultra, so don’t make as much financial sense.
The S6 will be extremely expensive to keep on the road, but then that’s the price you pay for its storming performance.
Service intervals are up to a maximum of every two years or 19,000 miles, which helps keep servicing bills manageable.
Audi A6 Saloon equipment
Plenty of standard equipment, even on entry-level models
We’d recommend that you stick with generously equipped entry-level SE trim. This comes with leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, xenon headlights, cruise control, 17in alloy wheels and automatic lights and wipers all as standard. It’s a bit mean that heated front seats are an optional extra, but it doesn’t cost much to add them.
There’s a hefty premium for S line trim, which brings larger wheels, sportier looks inside and out, LED front and rear lights, and sports seats. There’s a similar step up to Black Edition trim, which has even larger wheels, an upgraded sound system and gloss black exterior details. Neither is really worth it if you’re not bothered how your A6 appears on the outside.
It’s worth considering the popular Technology pack, which brings an upgraded sat-nav system with a bigger screen and various online functions, and a large colour information display in the instrument binnacle.
Audi A6 Saloon reliability
Audi and its A6 both score poorly for reliability
Like most of the premium brands it competes against, Audi didn’t fair well in the latest round of reliability surveys. In fact, it finished near the bottom of all the manufacturers in our most recent customer satisfaction and reliability studies.
The news is bad for the A6 itself, too. It finished bottom of the pile of executive cars in the latest customer satisfaction survey, although the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF were given similarly poor marks for reliability.
The A6 comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, along with three years’ UK breakdown cover. You can pay extra for an extended warranty that’ll cover your car for up to five years or 90,000 miles, although it’s far from cheap.
Audi A6 Saloon safety & security
Good safety rating and safety equipment
As you'd expect, the A6 is brimming with safety kit, including six airbags, an advanced stability control system, and Isofix child seat-mounting points on the front passenger seat and two outer rear ones.
The A6 was also awarded the maximum five-star rating in its Euro NCAP crash test in 2011. It scored an impressive 91% for adult occupant protection and 83% for child occupant protection, but a less impressive 41% for pedestrian protection.
Optional safety kit includes rear side airbags and a system that steers the car back on course if it starts to wander from its lane on the motorway.
An alarm and engine immobiliser are fitted to help fend off thieves, and security experts Thatcham gave the A6 five out of five for its resistance to being stolen, and four out of five for its resistance to being broken into.
Even this entry-level trim is seriously well equipped, so there’s no real need to go for a higher-spec version. It comes with leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, xenon headlights, cruise control, 17in alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, and a DAB radio. You have to pay extra for heated seats, though.
S line brings a sportier appearance than SE models, with 18in alloy wheels, LED headlights and more aggressively styled bumpers, plus sports seats covered in higher-quality leather. We’d stick with the cheaper, more comfortable SE, though.
As its name suggests, Black Edition A6s get a black styling pack that includes privacy glass and gloss black exterior trim. They also get 20in wheels and an upgraded sound system. SE trim makes more sense, though.
This range-topping A6 gets 19in alloy wheels, adaptive air suspension, heavily bolstered heated front seats, aluminium-effect door mirrors, and plenty of S6 badges inside and out. The S6 is certainly not short of equipment, then, but the associated buying and running costs make it hard to justify.