Audi A6 2017 is the complete luxury sedan

cars

The Audi A6 combines performance, luxury and good looks.

Smooth as silk: the clean lines of the Audi A6 secure this beauty’s place in the good looks competition. George Kennedy

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With the growing number of different vehicle types, including crossovers, sports coupe and four-door coupe, we sometimes forget that the core of the luxury car market is still the elegant sedan. Cars like the 2017 Audi A6 remind us of this simple design that emphasizes premium features, the latest entertainment technology, efficiency and safety.

The A6 is in its fourth generation in the US market, dating back to the mid-nineties. At that time, Audi played the second violin for BMW and Mercedes. As recently as last year, Audi was still 3rd in terms of sales in the US market, but the gap is much smaller.

The latest generation of the A6 arrived for 2016 and ran into 2017 with some small but meaningful changes. Audi added competition trim for 2017, made the backup camera and parking sensors standard, and added available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features.

But before you see these features, you see the car. She has a great presence. Perhaps not at first, but the more you look at it, the more you begin to appreciate the nuances of its design, including the way the body subtly glows below the beltline and the long, continuous arch that defines the chrome frame of the side windows.

Audi, like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, has been under attack recently for designing a whole range of cars alike. I didn’t think much about it until I was at the New York Auto Show in April and mistook the Mercedes-Benz E-Class for the C-Class. That’s right, the German luxury brands create a cohesive family design language, and the goal is simple: to make entry-level cars look more like cars High-level so that buyers have something to aspire to.

But when one of them is in the driveway of your car, you won’t really care how it looks compared to other models. It stands alone and gives a visual impression of a large car. Step inside, and the feeling is enhanced.

NO CORNERS CUT: The cabin of the A6 is a huge leap in luxury from its smaller sibling, the Audi A4.

The Audi A3 and A4 have great cabin designs to control each of them. They also have a lot of plastic in the cabin, which makes them feel cheap at times. Not so for the A6, which has a soft-touch, fine wood trim and center stack that rises to the driver’s right hand and features controls for the start button, paddle shifter, voice dialing, large MMI dashboard, or Audi’s multimedia interface.

A large central dial controls the vibrant digital display, which rises smoothly from the instrument panel. It features audio, navigation, and Audi Drive Select controls (more on that later), among other subsystems. When you turn off the car, the screen disappears again in the dashboard.

The A6’s seats are comfortable, and the cream-and-tan interior is pleasing to the eye, although the light-colored mats are a dirt magnet in a muddy Boston spring. Darker mats or a darker interior may be the wiser choice for this area.

When back-seat space goes into luxury cars, you have three levels. On the built-in A3 and A4 models, you have to raise your seat a lot so that someone sits behind you. For the A8-ranked range, you have more than enough legroom, and you can even stretch. For the all-right A6, you don’t have to move the seat for the rear passenger to get enough legroom, as they can’t fully extend. This is a business class sedan.

Under the hood is an engine that is small on displacement but big on acceleration. The 2.0-liter inline-4 produces 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the Quattro all-wheel drive system through an 8-speed Triptronic automatic transmission. The combination is good for 22 mpg city, 31 highway, 25 combined.

The Audi Drive Select system lets you adjust things like throttle response, shift mapping, steering feel, and suspension feel. Audi Drive Select offers convenient, automatic, dynamic and individual presets. Auto mode can respond to the way you drive and change systems accordingly. Single is a custom setup, if you’re the kind of driver who wants to tune the throttle response to performance and suspension at the same time for comfort. Anywhere, you can undo the transmission while you’re driving, and the half-pull will change the steering to sport. We’ve had it often in the sport and experienced a fuel economy of 23.1 percent in heavy city driving. Hi, it’s a fun car and we felt the need to take advantage of it.

The 2017 Audi A6 2.0T Quattro Tiptronic started at $49,800. Mythos Black Metallic paint job was a $575 option. The A6 Premium Plus package included MMI navigation, a touch-sensitive panel controller, and several other entertainment and safety technologies for an additional $4,000. The 19-inch Sport package includes 19-inch alloy wheels, all-season tires, sport suspension, and a black cloth headliner for an additional $1,050. Finally, the decorative layered walnut gaskets added $500 to the price. The total cost with surcharges for our A6 test car was $56875.

Given what the big car looks like, this is an affordable price. Safety features like blind spot monitoring and a standard backup camera make the A6 a safe vehicle. The powerful turbocharged engine and sport suspension make the A6 a very interesting car. But add that with the stunning exterior and interior aesthetic, and you get a truly complete luxury sedan with the Audi A6 2017.

2017 Audi A6 2.0T Quattro

basics

Price: $49,800. As tested: $56,875. Fuel economy, EPA rating: 22/31. Fuel economy, Globe noted: 23.1 mpg. Drive system: 2.0L turbocharged I4, 8-AT, all-wheel drive. Body: four-door, mid-size sedan.

Specifications

Horsepower: 252. Overall Length: 194.2 in. Wheelbase: 114.6 in. Height: 57.3 inches. Width: 73.8 inches. Empty weight: 3726-4178 lbs.

The good

Timeless design, amazing power of 2 liters, comfortable interior.

bad

Automatic shutdown delays acceleration, and a touch screen is preferred over the MMI controller.

bottom line

A good candidate as a standard executive sedan.

also considered

BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac CTS, Lexus GS.

George Kennedy is a freelance journalist and auto expert. You can access it at [email protected] and on Twitter @GKenns101.

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