New Audi A6 vs BMW 5 Series vs Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Has the Audi A6 made sufficient ‘progress through technology’ to surpass the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and class-leading BMW 5 Series luxury cars?...

Audi A6

Infotainment systems

Audi A6

Audi A6 infotainment

Audi’s latest infotainment system swaps a rotary controller (like BMW’s and Mercedes’) for a touchscreen that gives haptic feedback. It’s a retrograde step. The menus are less intuitive and the touchscreen diverts your attention from the road more than a dial to scroll with. The Audi A6 screen is sharp, though; the version shown is the 10.1in upgrade that comes as part of the £1495 Technology Pack. The standard 10-speaker hi-fi sounds clear and punchy.

BMW 5 Series

Used BMW 5 Series 2017-2023 infotainment

Since Audi overhauled its infotainment, BMW’s iDrive has been by far the best around. Its rotary controller and simple shortcut buttons make it a doddle to navigate the intuitive menus while driving, and you can use it as a touchscreen while parked if you wish. The large BMW 5 Series screen is also clear, with smart graphics, but it’s a shame that you have to pay extra for Apple CarPlay, while Android Auto is unavailable. The 16-speaker Harman Kardon stereo (£895) is great.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

At 12.3in, the Mercedes E-Class screen is the largest of the three, but you need to upgrade to Comand Online (£1495) to get the most features. This adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a concierge service, a wi-fi hotspot and a writing pad for entering addresses into the sat-nav. Mainly you use the rotary controller, which works well enough, but the menus aren’t as clear or snappy as the 5 Series’. The stereo isn’t as good as the A6’s, and the Burmester upgrade is £3895. 

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