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2006 Audi A6 Test Drive Review

A sophisticated midsize luxury sedan (and wagon) with impressive technology.

7.5 /10
Overall Score

New for 2005, the Audi A6 is one of the most stylish 4-doors money can buy, starting in the low $40,000 range. Where the smaller A4 is a nice starter Audi, the A6 puts power and technology on full display.

Look and Feel

9/ 10

For a style that won't age, look no further than the Audi A6. It's nothing but clean, modern architecture. The roofline is almost a perfect half-circle and offers a graceful cover for this sedan's long wheelbase. There are few creases along the body. It's smooth and fluid. What comes across as staid on the small A4 looks upscale on this midsize A6. Sure, from behind it looks like a plainer Volkswagen Passat. In the details, though, the A6 looks like a true luxury car—and the same goes for the pretty station wagon, the A6 Avant.

The interior sparks the eye, too. A wraparound dash canted toward the driver, a slim center stack, and all matter of buttons and switches mean the business. You'll find pretty woods and soft-touch materials all over, including the firm leather seats. A large color screen in the dash announces Audi's intent to push the technological envelope, for better and worse. In terms of style and quality, the A6 is tops.


7/ 10

A larger car requires more power, so forget about Audi's 4-cylinder engines. Standard on the 3.2 is the A4's optional engine, a 3.1-liter V6 with 255 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is new for 2006 with the continuously variable transmission (CVT). Quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional and comes with a 6-speed automatic and manual gear selection (paddle shifters are optional). The Avant wagon comes only in this configuration. The 4.2 model pairs Quattro with a 4.2-liter V8 that makes 335 hp and 310 lb-ft. That engine puts the A6 in an upper class of faster, effortless cars like the Mercedes-Benz E500. The V6 is enough for most drivers, though the throttle is not as smooth and easy to modulate around town as the V8's.

The A6 handles very well at the expense of a firmer ride. That's accentuated when ordering the lowered sport suspension or any of the larger wheel choices (16 to 18 inches in diameter). The cabin is quiet. Braking performance is also good, as is the steering response. An optional air suspension with adaptive dampers is also available.

Form and Function

6/ 10

Where the A4 remains simple and straightforward, the A6 is like operating a laptop. Audi's new MMI (Multi Media Interface) uses a rotary controller on the console surrounded by several shortcut buttons and more buttons that control submenus in the four corners of the screen, which change depending on what menu you're in. If that sounds confusing, of course, it is. At least the steering-wheel controls and monochrome screen in the instrument panel, which offers a trip computer, are more upfront.

Room is generous in all outboard seating positions. Trunk space measures 16 cubic feet on the sedan, while the Avant wagon increases space to 34 cubic feet (or 59 with the seats folded).

Tech Level

9/ 10

Leather, wood, and a 12-way power driver's seat come standard on the A6 3.2, along with dual-zone automatic climate, fold-down rear seats, and a 10-speaker stereo with a six-disc CD changer. But in an Audi, it's the options list that does that talking. Upgraded leather, radar-based adaptive cruise control, an adaptive air suspension, navigation, and a power-closing trunk are available. So are larger-car amenities like heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and rear sunshades for the side windows. On 4.2 V8 models, Audi includes what it calls Advanced Key, a keyless entry system with push-button start that lets you leave the key fob in your pocket to unlock the doors and start the engine. Rear ultrasonic parking sensors, power-folding auto-dim mirrors, bi-xenon headlights that swivel, and a Bose stereo are further options. If you can pay for it, the A6 has it.


8/ 10

The 2006 A6 comes with dual front airbags, front side airbags, and front and rear head curtain airbags as standard. ABS, traction, and stability control come standard. All seatbelts have pre-tensioners that tighten during a crash. Rear side airbags are optional. A tire pressure monitoring system is standard. The reversing camera is available only on the top trim. The A6 is a 2006 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and scored the best Good rating in the side and moderate overlap front crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not rated the A6. The 2006 A6 came with Takata airbags that can explode during a crash and kill the front occupants, so be sure to verify the vehicle has received the recommended recall repairs.


6/ 10

The 2006 A4 starts at $41,540 for the 3.2 sedan and $54,490 for the 4.2 Quattro sedan. Fuel economy ranges from 15-18 mpg city, 21-27 mpg highway, and 19-21 mpg combined depending on powertrain and body style. It is certainly expensive, but it is a considerably better value than a comparable Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and its lengthy list of innovative tech features makes it stand out among the competition.

Updated by Clifford Atiyeh

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2006 Audi A6 Top Comparisons

Users ranked 2006 Audi A6 against other cars which they drove/owned. Each ranking was based on 9 categories. Here is the summary of top rankings.

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Audi A6 Questions

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