A6

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2005 Audi A6 Test Drive Review

Picture of 2005 Audi A6 3.2 quattro Sedan AWD The A6 marches to its own beat, while delivering luxury one would expect from a storied German automaker.

8.3 /10
Overall Score

The midsize luxury sedan segment is highlighted by a trio of Germans, including the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and Audi A6. While the BMW and Mercedes midsize saloons are perhaps more recognizable, the A6 does things a bit differently. It trades on the latest technology and unique styling while delivering the same level of comfort and performance that you would expect from a German sedan. The A6 dates back to 1994, and 2005 marks the introduction of the car's third generation.

Look and Feel

9/ 10

The A6’s front-end design is dominated by Audi’s signature single-frame grille. This large and bold grille is complemented by an overall forward-thinking design. The sweeping arch that makes up the A6’s roofline is a stylish departure from the conventional three-box designs, more commonly found in the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The A6 has a modern, high-tech interior that feels more like a futuristic cockpit than the dash of an automobile. There are plenty of buttons and dials for all of the A6’s features and systems. There are two trims of the A6: the 3.2 and the 4.2. Each corresponds to their respective engine displacement, and both come extremely well equipped. Standard features on the A6 include leather upholstery, cruise control, driver's seat memory settings, heated front seats, and a power tilting sunroof.

The A6 is also available as a wagon, dubbed the Avant. For the more adventurous, the A6 Allroad provides plastic body cladding and an adaptive suspension system that can raise the A6 for venturing off the beaten path.

Performance

9/ 10

The Audi A6 provides refined performance and offers either a V6 or V8 engine. The 3.2-liter V6 makes 255 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. Those seeking more power should consider the 4.2-liter V8, which puts out 335 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

The A6 routes power to Quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) through a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with manual tap-shift mode. Audi’s signature Quattro system provides enhanced traction in poor weather conditions, but it also allows the A6 to corner extremely. Midsize sedans should not be able to take a turn as swiftly as the A6 can.

Form and Function

8/ 10

The 2005 A6 is longer and wider than the 2004 model, and that shows in the comfortable cabin. The arched roofline gives the A6 a spacious feeling inside, and the front seats are especially supportive. The center console and glove box are quite small, and the latter is made even smaller by the presence of the CD player.

The A6 provides 15.6 cubic feet of cargo space, which is nearly identical to that of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The BMW 5 Series falls behind both the Audi and the Mercedes, with only 14 cubic feet of trunk space. As with all three cars, the A6’s trunk space can be expanded by folding down the rear seats. A central pass-through also provides space for longer items (such as skis) while making the rear outboard seats available.

Tech Level

9/ 10

The highlight of the A6’s cabin is its MMI (Multi-Media Interface) system. It is housed in a screen atop the center stack and is operated via the dial and buttons in the center console, aft of the gear shifter. These buttons and dials conveniently rest right at the driver’s right hand. Though there is a bit of a learning curve, the overall design is ergonomic and well thought out. Using MMI is certainly easier than learning BMW’s rivaling iDrive system.

MMI operates the stereo, navigation, a connected phone, and various other vehicle systems. There are seemingly limitless toggles contained within MMI’s menus and screens. The A6 comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity and, for 2006, adds an electronic parking brake to the mix as well.

Safety

7/ 10

The A6’s active stability control works with the traction control and the AWD system to keep the front wheels from locking up in an emergency braking situation. Four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution also ensure controlled stopping.

A tire pressure monitoring system also comes standard, as do front- and side-impact airbags with a front passenger occupancy sensor. The A6 also comes with front and rear seatbelt pre-tensioners, automatic headlights, and front headlight washers.

Cost-Effectiveness

8/ 10

The 2005 Audi A6 with the V6 engine returns fuel economy of 17 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined. This high-performance engine requires premium fuel, which will factor into your cost of ownership.

Base MSRP for the 2005 Audi A6 3.2 Quattro is $41,900. The V8-powered A6 4.2 Quattro starts at $51,000. The BMW 5 Series costs about the same, while the Mercedes-Benz E-Class costs a few thousand more for similarly equipped models.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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