Used Audi A6 1997 - 2005 review

Category: Executive car

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

Audi A6 (97 - 05)
  • Audi A6 (97 - 05)
  • Audi A6 (97 - 05)
Used Audi A6 1997 - 2005 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Audi A6 saloon like?

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

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


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

  • It's very quiet
  • Ample long-distance cruising ability
  • Great interior
  • Lifeless steering
  • Ride is unsettled

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.

Ownership cost

What used Audi A6 saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Audi A6 saloon?

The 4.2 V8s, hot S6 and scorching RS6 will be costly. Driven hard, they're heavy on fuel, brakes and tyres. And 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, while 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.

Our recommendations

Which used Audi A6 saloon should I buy?

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.

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