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2011 Audi A6 3.0 TFSI Prestige. Photo by David Arnouts.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ROGER HART: The A6, for me, remains the “just right” size from Goldilocks. The A4 is a bit too small while the A8, beautiful in every sense, is a big car. This thing is a beauty--wonderful interior cabin, logically designed controls, high-grade materials and fit and finish throughout. I'm not that big of a fan of the two-toned leather seats, but it does work here with the black exterior color.
Ride and handling is just what is expected in a luxury ride with sporting ambitions. It's firm enough to encourage some high-speed cornering yet refined enough to never hint at abusing the occupants, even on some rough roads. The steering is lightly weighted yet returns the kind of feedback I like, letting you know exactly where the car is on the road--direct without being twitchy.
I would love to have this one (minus the two-tone interior) in my garage.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR--AUTOWEEK.COM BOB GRITZINGER: It's hard to find a nit to pick in this fine sedan, which as Roger notes is just about right-sized in every way. I spent the past weekend in our long-term S4, which is a blast to drive but gets tight for all but the front-seat occupants. The A6 doesn't have that problem.
At the same time, the supercharged, 300-hp V6 provides plenty of punch for this size of car--at least in my book. It won't snap your head back, but to take that Goldilocks reference one step further, let's just say it's quicker than the average bear. The engine is responsive, as is the paddle-shifted six-speed automatic.
If your tastes run to comfort, the A6 might come across a tad taut in the suspension, but that's what has to happen to provide the excellent cornering and solid handling. It makes the car fun to drive hard, but it is equally relaxing to just cruise along.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: This is a very nice car that quite honestly costs less than I would have guessed. It has good power, terrific traction, a good ride/handling mix, a comfortable, beautifully built interior (not totally in love with MMI, but I'm getting used to it), a good-looking exterior--it's got it all basically. This is a more than solid entry against the Mercedes-Benz E-class and the BMW 5-series.
The supercharged six is a good unit. Yes, I would like a touch less lag but really it's nothing to whine about. On the road, all is quiet and I have no beefs with the way the car rides. The automatic is smooth, though the steering feels a wee bit overboosted.
Overall, it's a terrific car. Hard to believe it's about to be replaced. I love our long-term 5-series, too, but it comes in at $18,000 more, which for some might be tough to swallow.
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR CHERYL L. BLAHNIK: After getting used to the size of the S4 in our long-term fleet, this car (obviously) felt larger, perhaps a bit too big for my needs. I suppose if you had a family, the additional legroom would be greatly appreciated.
Even with a new model on the way, the current car remains a nicely styled work sitting on a set of sporty wheels. The interior's two-tone theme delivers a bold look.
The drive was pleasing with sharp handling and a comfortable ride. There is a slight hesitation from the supercharged V6, but this engine is very smooth and there's plenty of power to get this car moving quickly. As Bob said, it's a more than competent entry in the midsize luxury class.
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR/DESIGNER TARA KLEIN: Of course it's good-looking, of course it's a great driver and of course it's extremely comfortable. Nothing that I encountered during my one-nighter with the A6 was a surprise--until I had a Gatorade.
Where the heck do you put all your stuff in this car? I know I told myself I wouldn't go on another cupholder rant, but apparently I lied. There's one cupholder (which housed my phone), one ashtray, then another cupholder and storage compartment hidden under the armrest.
I can't speak for the rest of the driving public, but when I have keys, a phone, a couple of other odds and ends that need homes, and then a Gatorade, I am miffed not to find convenient, accessible storage in the cabin. I am an armrest fan, but am I expected to sacrifice this tiny luxury for my thirst's sake? I'd say no. Call me Cupholder Queen, or whatever, but to some, these things matter, especially when spending more than $50,000 on a car.
OK, moving on to bigger and better things. The acceleration rate in the A6 was nothing short of perfect, and it made expressway driving a breeze. The steering is nice and responsive, reacting to quick lane changes or mild turns with no difficulty.
The looks and comfort of this car are above most. It melds luxury with a touch of sport and does it well. Add just a bit more storage, and I'll toss my crown.
2011 Audi A6 3.0 TFSI Prestige
Base Price: $51,075
As-Tested Price: $56,275
Drivetrain: 3.0-liter supercharged V6; AWD, six-speed automatic
Output: 300 hp @ 5,100-6,800 rpm, 310 lb-ft @ 2,500-5,100 rpm
Curb Weight: 4,123 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 21/19.6 mpg
Options: Prestige package including park assist with rearview camera, auto-dimming interior mirror with compass, auto-dimming, manual-folding exterior mirrors, adaptive xenon-plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, advanced key, Bose surround sound, in-dash navigation plus voice control, CD/DVD changer ($3,200); 19-inch sport package including sport suspension, summer tires, three-spoke multifunction steering wheel ($1,500); side assist ($500)
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