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- Highs Silky-smooth engine, high-tech cabin, premium fit and finish.
- Lows More luxurious than sporty, too-conservative exterior styling, underwhelming cubby storage space.
- Verdict Quiet, comfortable, and tech-forward: everything a modern Audi should be.
The 2019 Audi A6 encapsulates passengers in an elegantly styled shell and dazzles them with a high-tech interior environment. The sophisticated sedan may not draw the attention that flashier rivals do—or even its sleeker hatchback twin, the Audi A7—but it delivers a wholly luxurious experience that is easy to appreciate. Inside is where the styling turns from classy to flashy. The cabin mixes premium materials on the seats and surfaces with a fully digitized dashboard and a variety of slick options, such as massaging front seats and customizable ambient interior lighting. The A6 also boasts a host of available driver-assistance features that include adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist.
What's New for 2019?
Completely redesigned for 2019, the A6 bears a strong resemblance to its predecessor, at least on the outside. Its front end boasts distinctive headlights and a large hexagonal grille, while the hood and side surfaces are streaked with character lines that form a clean and attractive appearance. The cabin of the new model is as spacious, comfortable, and well-built as A6s that have come before, but offers far more digital flash. A pair of touchscreens takes center stage, with crisp graphics, configurable settings, and myriad features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The base Premium trim comes very well-equipped with desirable features such as in-dash navigation, all-wheel drive, LED headlamps, and handsome aluminum wheels. The upgrade to the midrange Premium Plus is tempting, though, as it adds a larger 10.1-inch infotainment display, Audi's slick Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster, a Bang & Olufsen stereo system, automatic high-beam headlamps, and a 360-degree exterior camera system. The Cold Weather package (heated rear seats, heated steering wheel) is a must for our midwestern climate, so we'd also add that. Otherwise, we'd take it easy with options.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Quiet and powerful V-6, standard all-wheel drive, cosseting ride.
Dislikes: Not as quick as key rivals, less athletic than last-generation model.
Although a turbocharged four-cylinder model will debut later, the only engine that's available now is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. It employs hybrid technology with a 48-volt starter/alternator that runs the engine's imperceptible stop-start system and other ancillary equipment. A seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are both standard. The powertrain delivers plenty of thrust for merging and passing on the highway.
At our test track, the A6 charged from zero to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Despite this quick result, it's not quite enough to outrun its key rivals, the BMW 540i xDrive and the Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic. The BMW managed a 4.5-second run, and the Benz did it in 4.6. Despite its impressive cornering grip and stability, the A6 performs better as a luxury sedan than a sports sedan. We enjoyed its balanced handling and precise steering but never felt totally engaged when attacking twisty sections of road.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The A6 earned decent fuel-economy estimates from the EPA despite its turbocharged V-6 and standard all-wheel drive. Although it's rated for 29 mpg, our A6 S-line test vehicle managed an impressive 32 mpg over our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test. That result puts it ahead of the Benz (30 mpg) and the BMW (31 mpg) but behind the über-efficient Lexus ES350, which managed an incredible 39 mpg in the same test.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Cutting-edge infotainment, high-quality cabin, plenty of room for luggage.
Dislikes: Most impressive tech features aren't standard, some may yearn for the days of physical buttons.
The A6's interior design is sleek, modern, and nicely put together from excellent-quality materials. Soft leather adorns the seats and armrests, rich-looking wood and nickel-finished metal trim is tastefully applied to the dash and doors, and the majority of the A6's secondary controls—climate, drive mode, etc.—are handled by a large touch-sensitive panel underneath the main infotainment display. A similar system is used in the A8 luxury sedan and the Q8 crossover and despite our usual griping about the takeover of touchscreen controls, it works well and provides satisfying haptic feedback.
Audi's familiar MMI infotainment interface gets a big revamp in this iteration of the A6. It no longer uses a click-wheel controller on the center console but offers reconfigurable menus so users can customize the layout of the home screen to suit their tastes. An 8.8-inch display, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and onboard Wi-Fi are all standard, but Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display and the larger 10.1-inch infotainment display are optional. A 10-speaker audio system is standard, but we'd recommend the 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen setup that comes standard on the Premium Plus and Prestige models.
A large trunk and easy-to-fold rear seatbacks make the A6 great for hauling cargo. We fit six of our carry-on suitcases in the trunk, which ties both the E450 and the 540i. The Audi offered far more space than either of those two with the rear seats folded, managing to hold 20 cases; the Benz held 18 and the BMW 16. Small-item storage is less plentiful, and the A6's shallow center-console storage bin and lack of underfloor storage in the trunk are letdowns.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The A6 has earned five stars for crash-test safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also reported strong results for the new A6 in 2019 and named it a Top Safety Pick+ for the 2019 model year. Audi also offers quite a few standard and optional driver-assistance features, including a system that watches out for traffic to save you from stepping out of the car and into the path of a moving vehicle. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi offers an average standard warranty coverage that, when compared with other premium brands, looks pretty bare-bones. Jaguar offers more value here, with longer warranties and five years of complimentary maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Scheduled maintenance is covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles