Test Driven: 2012 Audi A6 3.0T (10/10)

Audi is all over the news right now because they have been extremely active in producing new models and technologies. While much of this is all new stuff not seen before, Audi seems to have not lost touch with the models that make up their backbone. The A6 is has been revamped for 2012 and may be the best A6 yet.       

We walk out the of the showroom to a beautiful white A6 3.0T sitting beside the building. As I approach I cannot help but think that Audi has really found a sweet spot with the design of this new car, especially when compared to its predecessors, which have always been tasteful but also a bit plain. The new A6 just has a level of presence when you look at it, bold but still tasteful. It seems Audi has been taking some pointers from Lamborghini, but then has thrown some class back in to the design before they finish.

On the inside the story is the same, there is a lot more design flair than in previous cars. Of course the materials of the best quality, this has always been expected of an Audi though. The salesman goes through all of the new technology with me as the car warms up, showing me the new wireless Internet feature and the Google Earth™ navigation system. This new generation of Audis are the first cars to have such things equipped from the manufacturer, so this new A6 is very much on the tip of the technology spear. Ergonomics wise it is perfect too, the seats are sumptuous and supportive, the driving position can be tailored to perfection with ease, and every touch point is brilliantly soft. These days Audi is basically second to none in the interior department, and you can see why.

Just pulling out of the lot onto the road I start to get a feel for how smooth this A6 is, the steering is feather light and responsive–there doesn’t seem to be a dead zone where nothing happens. It accelerates into the pace of traffic with little effort or drama at all, which is good because I like luxury cars to have low-end grunt that won’t put me on edge while I am chilling. The A6 seems to float along the road gracefully, bumps are well absorbed, but it also has a lot of feel for the driver too. It is not removed from the drive, just relaxed. It has everything I want from a luxury car as far as normal driving is concerned.

Once off the main road it was time to test the A6’s performance. On an upcoming straightaway I put the throttle wide open, the transmission reacts quickly with a downshift and we get a prompt burst of acceleration. It was quite rapid but still remained smooth. In manual shift mode, the 8-speed automatic reacts extremely quickly with no lag or artificial feel. I usually hate automatics because of their delayed responses, but this one was quite good. I gave it wide open throttle in 3rd and 80mph was dispatched like nothing. This A6 feels a lot quicker than the numbers would suggest, leaving me to assume that it’s only 310hp on paper and is actually making the 333hp that the S4 makes with the same engine. The 8 speed transmission does help make it quicker though, allowing for tighter ratios in lower gears.

The biggest surprise for me though was the how well this new A6 takes corners. It is properly planted and has the feeling of riding on rails, even when you keep on the gas through a steady bend. It no longer feels front heavy and doesn’t seem to nose dive into corners like its predecessors (especially the V8s). It just feels extremely balanced and very neutral, even when pushed, which is extremely impressive for a big German cruiser like this. This fantastic performance is very well hidden by the A6’s relaxed and luxurious façade, but those who do venture into some twisty roads at speed will surely be pleasantly surprised. The new A6 is also a properly good sport sedan underneath all the fluff.

Another area where the 8 speed helps is in fuel consumption. This A6 3.0T, with “310hp” that will do 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, will also see 28mpg on the highway and 19 in the city. Making it much improved over previous A6s at the pump. You still need to buy premium though, as this is still a supercharged European car..

So, to sum it up, the new Audi A6 pretty much will do everything with great competence. It looks great, is very comfortable, fast as all hell, handles corners, has every feature you could want, is extremely stylish, is practical for 5 people, is weather proof because of Quattro AWD, and is even rather fuel efficient. The only thing is is not is inexpensive, the one I drove was $57k and prices range from around $50k to over $70k if you get reckless with the options list. It really is an amazing machine though, and I recommend it brand new to anyone who can afford it, again just be careful of the options list. It will become a real bargain though in a few years after leases have run their courses, so if you don’t mind a used car, it is best to wait till then. This really is the best A6 Audi has ever made, so it’s worth it to get one if you can.

WoM Score: Audi A6 (C7) 3.0T

Primary Function: Luxury: 2
Secondary Functions: Performance(2), Practicality(2), MPG(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 2
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 2

Final Score: 10/10

-Nick

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