A study in elegance

The new Audi A6 luxury sedan proves a worthy successor to the famed line.

Luxurious but quick, technically advanced but with plenty of character – the A6 delivers the goods whether you’re the one driving or being driven.

Mark Bramley

29 November, 2019

The luxury sedan wasted no time in impressing local motoring media, taking out the Drive award for Best Luxury Car over $80,000

It takes time to get something of substance just right. In the case of the new Audi A6, more than 50 years of development and refinement have led to this, the eighth incarnation of the model that in many respects, cemented the brand’s place as a world-class builder of luxury cars. 

Given that history, this A6 and every one that has gone before it, has a great deal to live up to – a proud legacy to not only defend but build upon, respecting the elements of the car that led to its success in the first place and then adding new elements from the best available in the here and now.

The new Audi A6 does all of that and does it very, very well. 

From the Audi 100 back in 1968 that was the start of this model’s lineage – so named because it boasted 100 horsepower – to that famous drive up Pitkavouri ski jump in Finland (1986) to demonstrate quattro, a feat repeated in 2005 in another A6. Over that time there have been numerous innovations and international awards to reach the present day and this, the most worthy of successors.

This latest incarnation of the A6 has already had a little time to settle in Down Under, touching down in August this year, when the 55 TFSI quattro was unveiled and also heralded the arrival of Audi connect plus. The luxury sedan wasted no time in impressing local motoring media, taking out the Drive award for Best Luxury Car over $80,000 just three months after first arriving on Australian roads, and now the 55 TFSI is joined by the 45 TFSI, with a further entry model A6 due to arrive next year.

The Audi 100 (C2) model introduced the five-cylinder power plant.
The now distinctive sweeping roofline – Audi A6, 2005.

Both inside and out, the A6 is a study in elegance. Beautifully proportioned, subtle but sophisticated, it’s the sort of car that makes a statement without the need to scream it from the rooftops. If the A6 were a person, it would be one of those quietly self-assured types. Not arrogant, but rather the ‘nothing to prove and comfortable in their own skin’ types. That skin, or exterior design, is the product of Audi design chief, Marc Lichte’s first work with the brand. Five years in development, the Audi Prologue design study plays a major role in the Audi A6. Clean, sleek and again – elegant – but with an undisguised edge, just under the surface.

The analogy of ‘a fighter in a suit’ has been used before to describe the Audi A6, and it rings true with this new model. But this incarnation is a genuine prize fighter and the suit is bespoke Zegna.

From the wide Singleframe grille that dominates the face, the distinctive light signature and intakes on the front, to the sculpted rear end via the subtly flared wheel arches, there’s no shortage of presence.

The analogy of ‘a fighter in a suit’ has been used before to describe the Audi A6, and it rings true with this new model

The Audi A6 55 TFSI quattro and 45 TFSI quattro will be joined by a front-wheel drive 40 TFSI model in the new year

The sloping roofline is reminiscent of a coupe-style rear, but again, subtly is the key. This swooping design element first appeared in the C5 version of the A6 in 1997 and adds a dynamism to the external design, but without compromising internal dimensions. In fact, the new A6 is bigger in every conceivable internal dimension than its predecessor, with 17mm more per leg room, 21mm greater interior length and up 11mm more headroom.

But despite all of the room and storage, the A6 is something of a lightweight – so to speak – built using Audi lightweight technology with a combination of aluminium and high strength steel for maximum rigidity and safety but minimum weight. That lightweight construction in concert with powerful but very economical powerplants, makes for a stunning combination that is hugely rewarding for a spirited drive when the occasion calls for it, or beautifully tractable around town when sedate is the way to go.

At present, the Audi A6 is available with both the 55 TFSI launched in August and now the 45 TFSI, producing 250kW and 500Nm of torque 180kW and 370Nm respectively. Both pull from way down low in the rev range – 55TFSI 1370rpm-4500rpm and 45 TFSI 1600-4300rpm – for effortless acceleration in any situation. 

The sprint from 0 to 100km/h vanishes in 5.1 seconds in the 55, while the 45 is just 0.9 seconds behind, yet fuel consumption is frugal particularly for such a large car, coming in at 7.2 and 7.3L/100km respectively.

This is due to a number of factors including the Mild-Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology (MHEV), with the 55 TFSI and the 45 TFSI utilising 48- and 12-volt systems respectively. The 48-volt system functions as the car’s main electrical system and allows power recuperation of up to 14kW, plus start-stop operation from 22km/h. 

Both powerplants are mated to Audi’s seven-speed S tronic transmission, with power going to the road through Audi’s quattro with ultra technology. This provides all-wheel drive whenever required, but drives just the front wheels when four-wheel grip is not needed – all seamless and boasting the benefits of all-wheel drive but with a fuel saving thanks to its adaptability. This, coupled with progressive steering makes for an incredibly responsive package that performs in all situations and conditions.

Next year a third model will join the A6 line-up, the 40 TFSI will feature front-wheel drive and be powered by 140kW, 320Nm 2.0-litre TFSI engine.

A luxury conveyance in every respect, the A6 doesn’t disappoint in terms of its appointment, technology or safety. A 5-star Euro NCAP goes without saying and the A6 boasts the full compliment of Audi’s extensive safety and driver assistance systems as standard equipment – adaptive cruise assist with traffic jam assist, collision avoidance assist and turn assist, Audi pre-sense front and pre-sense rear, active lane assist and exist warning to name just a handful.

Both powerplants are mated to Audi’s seven-speed S tronic transmission, with power going to the road through Audi’s quattro with ultra technology

Standard equipment across the A6 range is impressive

Indeed, standard equipment across the 45 and 55 TFSI model offerings is impressive, with the entry model A5 45 TFSI quattro at $95,500* offering more than $13,000 more equipment than the previous model alone. This includes the likes of Matrix LED headlights, MMI navigation with MMI touch, Audi virtual cockpit, Audi connect plus and 19-inch wheels – all amongst the standard equipment.

Opt for the A6 45 TFSI quattro S line and A6 55 TFSI quattro S line models ($105,200 and $116,000 respectively*) and the list of standard offerings swells to include the S line exterior styling, 20-inch alloy wheels, suspension with adaptive damper control as well as head-up display.

Those wanting to add even more luxury to their A6 can opt for the Premium plus package. Available for the S line variants (45 and 55 TFSI) it includes HD Matrix LED lights outside and a colour interior lighting package for the interior, as well as an S line interior package, panoramic sunroof, privacy glass and the Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System.

The result is a vehicle that does it all, and does it all with an easy style. Whether to drive or be driven becomes a serious decision as the new Audi A6 delivers on both fronts – which is the perfect dilemma when approaching a car like this. The simple answer of course is to do both, as and when the mood grabs you.

(*Manufacturer List Pricing [MLP] – excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges)