Used test – luxury champions: Audi A6 vs BMW 5 Series

With their super-efficient engines, these top-selling luxury saloons please both head and heart. But which is the better used buy?...

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What Car? team
16 Apr 2016 5:20 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 0:3

What will they cost?

There’s little to split these two on price. In fact, depending on where you are in the country and how keenly your local dealers have priced their cars, you might end up paying more for the 5 Series than the A6 – although if you find that to be the case, you should probably try casting your net further afield.

More generally, though, it’s the BMW that edges the Audi out on price, and it also manages to do so in other areas, too. Official fuel consumption figures give the 5 Series an average of 62.8mpg to the A6’s 57.6mpg, while its lower emissions of 119g/km sneak the BMW into the £30/year tax band – the Audi’s 129g/km emissions mean you’ll have to pay £110.

Used test – luxury champions: Audi A6 vs BMW 5 Series

It’s worth noting, however, that the version of the A6 we’re testing here came before Audi introduced its high-efficiency version of the A6, called the Ultra, in 2014. That model reduces tax to a comparable level and increases efficiency to 64.2mpg – though obviously, you’ll have to stretch your budget to be able to afford it, as it’s a newer model.

As tested here, though, it’s a clear win for the BMW in terms of both its purchase price and its running costs. What’s more, while neither of these cars has a particularly glowing reputation for reliability, the 5 Series has the better reputation of the two, with BMW having finished just above Audi in the 2016 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study.

However, the A6 does at least fight back with lower servicing costs – and given how marginal the differences are between these two cars in other areas, that might be enough to tip the balance back in its favour, depending on the sort of mileage you do.

Used test – luxury champions: Audi A6 vs BMW 5 Series