The Audi A6 of 2015 returns to the limelight as a facelifted model. There’s a few updates to the exterior and interior, but it’s largely the same vehicle as before. There is however this new four-cylinder 1.8-litre turbo engine, but has it got the guts and grunt to keep the premium Audi buyer happy? We tested this entry-level A6 to see if it can deliver the goods.
DownsizingAudi is no stranger to downsizing its engines, yet it is still able to keep power and torque levels acceptable. For instance the Audi A1 now has a 1-Litre turbo and something as big as a Q3 can make do with a 1.4-Litre turbo. So in order to continue the pursuit of fuel economy gains, Audi has installed a four-cylinder 1.8-Litre motor to do duty under the bonnet. Engine nerds will point out that this is the same engine that does duty in the Volkswagen Polo GTI.
The 1.8-Litre in this A6 puts out 140 kW and 320 Nm of torque so the figures still do an A6 justice. In town situations the smaller engine is blissfully easy to live with. Fuel consumption is low and turbo lag is non-existent so scooting around traffic is a cinch. The A6 is one of the most comfortable and isolated cars to sit in traffic with. The seven-speed S tronic box clicks away silently in the background and with Audi build quality sealing off all exterior sounds, it’s extremely pleasant and quiet.
On the open roadThere’s not much to dislike about the way the Audi A6 goes about its business in the city. Out on the wide open road it’s nearly as good. Accelerating up to 120kph is taken care of with consummate ease, but overtaking is not as Audi efficient as expected. The 1.8-Litre starts to run out of puff when called on to do speedy overtakes or accelerate on a steep incline.
Spice up your A6Getting your Audi A6 to suit you just perfectly is no hard task. There is bucket load of options to choose from of which the Matrix LED headlamps are the most expensive at R38k. They are extremely potent lights and certainly make night driving easier. All you do is set the lights to bright and it will intelligently light the road ahead as well as making sure that oncoming drivers don’t get dazzled. See why Audi Matrix lights are one of our favourite car technologies here.
This specific A6 came with the Sports Suspension setup that firms things up a bit, but there is also the option to get adaptive air suspension. The ride on the Sports Suspension was excellent though, giving the A6 a bit more dynamic feel without being crashy or harsh over bumps and ruts. Obviously both setups are optional extras.
InteriorNot too many people complain about an Audi interior nowadays. It’s beautifully designed and built, and exudes a premium aura. Spend enough money on options and you can get anything your heart desires in an A6. Watch out though as it can get expensive and things like MMI Navigation Plus go for R22k and a sunroof at R13k. The same goes for the exterior options where the S-Line Sports package introduces a much more aggressive front end.
There’s plenty of space in the rear of the A6 with the option for dual-zone climate control in the back. The boot is wide and deep, making it easy to load things into and at 530-Litres, it’s more than enough. Only the Merc E-Class and VW Passat are able to surpass the Audi’s luggage capacity in this segment.
VerdictThe facelifted Audi A6 1.8T is a hard car to fault as it does everything you want an executive sedan to do. In town the A6 is quiet, refined and sedate. It potters around in bumper to bumper traffic with its excellent automatic gearbox. On the freeway it rides well and remains comfortable over long journeys. It could do with a little more punch in the higher RPM zone when it’s called on to pull off an overtaking manoeuvre. The ride is comfortable and not overly sporty and it’s a car that is very easy to live with day-to-day. The interior is top notch and Audi has pretty much honed its talents so that it’s near perfect, barring the rotary knob that works the wrong way for us in right-hand drive countries.
Audi A6 PricingAt a base price of R601 000 the A6 1.8T is less expensive than the equivalent Merc E-Class and BMW 5 Series. Throw in some extras that make the A6 look sporty and some more that give you all the connectivity inside and the A6 will cost around R750 000. Still, that’s probably what you’re likely to pay for any of the other Germans.
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Team OpinionWhile I'd love to own the flagship fire-breathing S6, it's this A6 which makes the most sense. Given the state of our roads and incessant crack down on speeding, it's much wiser to opt for a downsized car anyways. The ride and build quality in this car are next level, and you're getting a proper premium sedan at prices cheaper than it's rivals. -David Taylor
We Like: Town driving, premium feel and comfort, small engine punches well
We Don’t Like: Could do with more overtaking grunt
Also Consider: Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Jaguar XF, Volkswagen Passat