Audi A6 performance, engines and top speed 0-62

Audi is best known for building large sedans that offer comfort, cruising and good technology, but disappoint on open roads thanks to a nose-heavy feel and a firm ride. The new A6 carries that reputation pretty much in the history books.

The optional four-wheel steering is responsible for some of the A6’s handling prowess. At low speeds, the rear wheels rotate in the opposite direction to the front, reducing the turning circle, while at high speeds, all four wheels rotate in the same direction, improving stability and cornering. The net effect is that this system appears to reduce the A6’s wheelbase at lower speeds, while contributing to a feeling of agility at higher speeds.

Ride quality is another area in which the A6 deserves praise. The last A6 felt almost wood and uncomfortable over the bumps, jarring passengers over the potholes. Audi clearly has absorbed that criticism with this model, which rides with newly found elegance and refinement.

One area where compliments are hard to find is A6 routing. It is subtle enough, but its compositional character is almost completely devoid of sense. Here the A6 loses out to the 5 Series, which provides much higher levels of feedback through the wheel making the driver feel better connected to the car.

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Elsewhere, almost all of the news is positive. The brakes are effective, the automatic gearboxes S tronic and Tiptronic shift smoothly, and wind noise is completely absent; This is where Audi comes in with aerodynamics and sound insulation, but the A6’s roofline and wing mirrors – low and small, respectively when compared to an SUV – likely come into play here as well.

The A6 is closer than ever to the handling standard set by the BMW 5 Series – although the 5 Series’ steering and rear-wheel drive settings mean it still has distinction. If you’re playing between the A6 and the Mercedes E-Class, on the other hand, the A6 has a better interior, but arguably can’t match the handling and effortless personality that the car offers from the three-pointed star.

However, these decisions stem from subjective impressions rather than cold hard facts. If the A6’s combination of cutting-edge technology, great build quality and effortless ease influences the E-Class’s ultra-quiet nature, or the 5’s sharp handling, no one can accuse you of making the wrong choice.

Motors, 0-60 acceleration and max speed

We’ll start at the bottom of the range, with a 201bhp 2.0L 40 TDI front-wheel drive. This engine propels the A6 from 0 to 62 mph in 8.1 seconds and has a top speed of 153 mph. While it can’t match the easy dash of its six-cylinder counterparts, the weight advantage of the four-cylinder block means it delivers a cleaner, lighter driving experience. The 40 TDI we sampled was fitted with a traditional steel suspension, which undoubtedly contributed to that feeling of versatility.

Audi offers three more suspension options. The Sport setup, part of the S line trim, will stiffen the ride and reduce the ride height; Also available is a conventional suspension with adjustable dampers, as well as a full air suspension.

A pair of entry-level Audi A6s are also available with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine. Less powerful is the 201bhp 40 TFSI, which has similar performance to the 40 TDI, and there’s also a faster 45 TFSI version with 261bhp and a six-second 0-62mph acceleration time.

The most powerful is the A6 55 TFSI, which features a 335-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. The A6 55 TFSI we drove was also fitted with air suspension, which allowed the A6 to quietly absorb bumps and road imperfections, while contributing to the overall feeling of composure. With a 0-62 mph time of just 5.1 seconds, the 55 TFSI closely matches the BMW 540’s 4.8 seconds effort, and the big Audi rides with responsiveness and refinement closely matching the dynamics of the 5 Series.

There is also a powerful 50 TDI diesel engine. Like the 55 TFSI, this is a 3.0-liter V6 with quattro 4×4 as standard. With 282 horsepower on tap, the 50 TDI propels the A6 from 0 to 62 mph at a speed similar to the 55 TFSI (it takes 5.5 seconds) but does so while feeling slightly heavier — although it’s 20 percent more fuel efficient. Another fast and efficient option is the 50 TFSI e-hybrid petrol electric motor, which has good performance thanks to a combined power output of 295 hp, yet can also cover short distances using electric power alone.

Those who want to go faster in the A6 have two options – the S6 and the RS6. The first model is available in saloon or Avant form and is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 diesel engine with 344 horsepower and 700 Nm of torque – enough for five seconds to 62 mph and effortless performance on the highway. However, it’s not quite as fun as previous petrol-powered models.

Meanwhile, the RS6 is available exclusively in Avant Estate form but has a performance more suited to a supercar. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged petrol engine produces 592 hp and 800 Nm of torque – from 0 to 62 mph it takes just 3.6 seconds.

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