2017 Audi A6 3.0T Competition Review: Call it the S6 Lite

– Detroit, Michigan

If, like Ricky Bobby, you just want to go fast, Audi will gladly sell you the 450-horsepower S6. For those of us who appreciate the standard A6 but still want a little more excitement, there’s the new A6 3.0T Competition. Think of it as the S6 Lite, taking the already great 3.0T Technik model and adding sport suspension, a torque-vectoring rear differential, blacked-out mirrors and exterior trim, bolstered seats, 20-inch wheels with summer tires, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and red brake calipers. Oh, and another seven horsepower under the hood. Frankly, this trim pack is far more about looks than performance, but that’s okay. It’s a great way to get more style and a little more fun out of the A6 without delving into the pricier, thirstier world of the S6.

 

 

Pros

  • It’s a champ on every road. Even though this tester wears winter tires rather than the factory-spec summers (temperatures held steady just below zero during my test), it whips around bends with aplomb. Thanks in part to its sport suspension, the A6 has a flat, neutral handling dynamic that inspires tons of confidence – even on winter rubber in cold climes. The Quattro all-wheel-drive and sport rear differential expertly mete power to the road without a hint of wheelspin. And light but very direct steering makes pushing the car around even more enjoyable.
  • It’s a good value. That might sound like a relative term, but the Competition is $11,700 more expensive than an A6 3.0T Technik and still comes in $13,200 less than the entry-level S6. You also get much better fuel economy than the S6: 10 L/100 km with the A6 vs. 11.3 for the S6. For something that looks smart, has plenty of performance potential, and is loaded with a good amount of equipment, that strikes me as a great middle ground.
  • Nothing about the Competition treatment upsets the A6’s natural sense of luxury. This sedan is still quiet and comfy, with a fabulous interior that’s spacious and easy to use. It glides over bumps and mutes out wind noise. In other words, there’s no real downside in terms of everyday driving satisfaction to picking this over the regular 3.0T Technik.

Cons

  • The Competition package doesn’t really make the A6 handle any differently. For the aforementioned $11,700 premium, I expect a razor-sharp, travel-free suspension demeanor. It’s good that the treatment doesn’t degrade the A6’s ride quality, but it’s also not nearly enough of an improvement for me to pony up the extra cost. Similarly...
  • ...The 0-to-60 time isn’t any quicker than the standard A6 3.0T. It’s not that I care in the real world, but if I’m paying extra for a Competition model with extra power and a new suspension, I want to at least be able to brag about shaving a tenth of a second. Then again, it’s only seven horsepower.
  • Audi’s integration of Android Auto isn’t very good. It’s fantastic that Audi has added the smartphone technology into its infotainment system, but controlling Google’s screen is a chore. Because Audi’s display is not a touchscreen, operating the Android Auto interface requires using both the touchpad and the rotary controller. It’s like using your computer with only a keyboard but no mouse: doable but cumbersome.

Competitors

 

Photos: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com

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