Everything you need, nothing you don’t.

– Detroit, Michigan

Most of the luxury cars I review are equipped with tens of thousands of dollars of options, which is lovely, but it’s refreshing to get behind the wheel of a more modestly equipped car. This Audi A6, with ‘just’ about $7k in add-ons and the car’s base, four-cylinder engine, is a good look at the type of luxury car many real-world shoppers actually want – and can afford.

Though it lacks many of the gee-whiz features that I love playing with, this Audi A6 2.0 TFSI still has what counts: standout style, a handsome cabin, and a fun-to-drive chassis. If this were all the luxury sedan I could buy, I’d still be pretty thrilled to slip behind the wheel each day.

Pros

  • Though I have a huge soft spot for the A6’s upgraded 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine, the truth is that this 2.0-litre base motor provides ample thrust to get the A6 moving. Fuel economy is not hugely better than you’ll get from the six (the 3.0 increases only 0.6 and 0.8 litres per 100 kilometres in city and highway economy ratings compared to the 2.0), but the lower entry price will buy a lot of extra gas – upgrading an A6 Progressiv from the four-cylinder to six-cylinder engine costs $6,800.
  • Incidentally, this 2.0-litre engine received a power bump when the A6 was updated for 2016 – up 32 hp and 15 pound-feet to totals of 252 hp and 273 lb-ft – and its run to 60 miles per hour (0-96 kilometres per hour) takes only 0.7 seconds more than the 333-hp A6 3.0T. Maybe picking the base engine isn’t such a sacrifice after all.
  • It’s been five years since this generation of Audi A6 reached North America, but thanks in part to a refresh for the 2016 model year, it looks as enticing now as it did back then. With ultra-taut lines and a subtly plunging roofline, the A6 screams understated style. It especially pops in Ibis White, and not only because almost every other Audi I see is painted black or silver.
  • Audi’s MMI infotainment system remains one of my favorites simply because it makes distraction-free operation so simple. Because I can jump between submenus – radio, telephone, navigation, etc – with physical buttons, and then use the four-corner switches to activate context menus, I can perform many functions by feel without taking my eyes off the road. In a Mercedes or BMW, for instance, you have to twist and nudge the control knob to swap submenus; in a Lexus, the pointer-like infotainment interface is a huge distraction.

Cons

  • In the same way that your iPhone 5 seemed great until the 6 launched, the introduction of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit interface in other cars (A4, R8, TT, Q7) makes the A6’s dashboard feel a bit old. The ability to call up music, navigation, phone, or trip information in the eight-inch color screen in the instrument cluster is still great. I just miss the giant, reconfigurable Google Earth satellite images you get on cars with Virtual Cockpit.
  • The downside of the firm, Germanic handling is that the A6’s ride can be a little on the stiff side. That’s fine by me – impacts over rough roads are never jarring – but a Lexus or Mercedes this is not.
  • Whereas the exterior remains fresh, the inside of the A6 appears ready for a facelift. The crisp displays, roomy back seat, and tactile controls are all still lovely. I just miss the beautiful materials and slick design of the A6’s newest rival, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The plastics and other materials used in the Audi’s cabin simply don’t feel as “special” as you’ll find in the ‘Benz.

Competitors

 

 

 

Photos: Steven Ewing / Motor1.com

Audi A6

Engine Turbocharged 2.0L I4
Output 252 Horsepower / 273 Pound-Feet
Transmission 8-Speed Automatic
0-60 MPH 5.8 Seconds
Top Speed 210 KM/H (130 MPH)
Fuel Economy 10.8 City / 7.3 Highway / 9.2 Combined L/100 KM
Weight 1,795 Kilograms (3,957 Pounds)
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume 400 Litres (14.1 Cubic Feet)
Base Price $56,900
As-Tested Price $64,000 (US model tested, Canadian equivalent estimated)

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