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?...

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What Car? team
09 November 2017

Audi A6 triple

Our verdict

The old Audi A6 was well off the pace, so the fact that this latest iteration feels vastly improved is no surprise. In this test, it proves the most practical option, too. But it’s a shame that it couldn’t closer push the 5 Series in other areas, such as ride, refinement and the ease of use of its infotainment. Still, those first two aspects might prove better when we try versions with different suspension and wheel options.

The E-Class remains a fine choice. It has a very practical boot and a smart interior, and if you specify air suspension, aspects of its soothing ride are unequalled by its rivals. The issues that hamper it are its refinement at speed and its   awed driving position.

Which leaves the 5 Series continuing to reign supreme. At the start, we called it the consummate all-rounder, and this test simply proves the point. If you want your luxury car to be comfortable, quiet, beautifully built, tech-filled and easy to use, it’s still the heavyweight champion.

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1st – BMW 5 Series

BMW 5 Series

For Best ride; quietest cruiser; driving position; best infotainment; cheapest to run

Against Smallest boot; lumbar adjustment is extra; grumbliest engine

Recommended options Adaptive dampers (£985), Driving Assistant (£895), lumbar adjustment (£275)

Rated 5 out of 5

Read our full BMW 5 Series review

Find a great BMW 5 Series deal


2nd – Audi A6

Audi A6

For Quiet, flexible engine; nimble handling; great visibility; roomiest inside; biggest boot

Against Suspension noise; unsettled ride; jerky gearbox; fiddly touchscreens

Recommended options Technology Pack (£1495), City Assist Pack (£1375)

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Audi A6 review

Find a great Audi A6 deal


3rd – Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

For Supple ride on air suspension; stylish interior; slick gearbox; four-wheel drive traction

Against Flawed driving position; rear space; most road noise; highest company car tax; highest PCP costs

Recommended options Comand Online (£1495)

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Mercedes-Benz E-Class review

Find a great Mercedes-Benz E-Class deal


Specifications: Audi A6 40 TDI 204 S line S tronic

Engine 4cyl, 1968cc, diesel

List price £42,000

Target Price £40,000

Power 201bhp at 3750-4200rpm

Torque 295Ib ft at 1750-3500rpm

Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic

0-60mph 8.1sec

Top speed 153mph

Gov't fuel economy 62.8mpg

Test MPG 46.8mpg

CO2 emissions 117g/km


Specifications: BMW 5 Series 520d M Sport

Engine 4cyl, 1995cc, diesel

List price £40,775

Target Price £37,095

Power 187bhp at 4000rpm

Torque 295Ib ft at 1750-2500rpm

Gearbox 8-spd automatic

0-60mph 7.9sec

Top speed 146mph

Gov't fuel economy 62.7mpg

Test MPG 44.3mpg

CO2 emissions 119g/km


Specifications: Mercedes-Benz E-Class E220d 4Matic AMG Line

Engine 4cyl, 1950cc, diesel

List price £41,970

Target Price £37,998

Power 191bhp at 3800rpm

Torque 295Ib ft at 1600-2800rpm

Gearbox 9-spd automatic

0-60mph 7.8sec

Top speed 149mph

Gov't fuel economy 55.4mpg

Test MPG 44.1mpg

CO2 emissions 135g/km


Read more: The best luxury cars >

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