2020 Audi A6 45 TFSI review
IN A NUTSHELL: Smart, clean-shaven and gunning with athleticism, the new generation Audi A6 sedan hardly puts a foot wrong.
What is the Audi A6?
We can cast the A6’s roots back to 1968 when Audi launched the four-door 100, an executive sedan rocking a whole 100 horsepower… It was all in the name back then. Audi’s 100 models saw four generations before it changed the name, which was actually halfway through the C4’s lifecycle when Audi’s lineup went alphanumeric and the A6 was born. Jump through 20 years of iterative design change and we now have the C8-generation A6 – the eighth-generation in the C-segment sedan’s history… but really the fifth A6.
However, sedan’s aren’t the hot property they once were, at least not to the hordes of SUV buyers. So Audi has concentrated on delivering a car that’s technologically engaging and convenient, rewarding to drive while being a comfortable cruiser, and packing it with the best value it has ever offered in premium four door. A tall order, but one the German brand delivers.
What does the Audi A6 cost and what do you get?
We’re testing the entry-level 45 TFSI, priced from $95,500 plus on-road costs. It comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, leather trim, heated front seats, three-zone climate control, 10.1-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay, Android Auto and digital hybrid LTE radio, wireless charging, Virtual Cockpit Plus digital driver’s screen and cool illuminated seat buckles.
Safety technology and aids are comprehensive: autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, with traffic jam assist, lane-keeping assist and departure warning, 360-degree parking cameras, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, loose wheel detection (this is new), and exit warning so you don’t accidentally boof a cyclist when opening the door.
Naturally, there are plenty of options to spruce up even the base model with, or you can opt for the $105,200 45 TFSI S-Line model which adds sportier 20-inch alloys and adaptive dampers, Valcona leather interior trim with front sports seats and a head up display.
The next step up is the 55 TFSI at $116,000 plus ORCs. It comes with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo engine while the 45 TFSI gets a smaller turbocharged four-pot petrol, but most will be happy with the performance of the entry-level sedan which is priced relatively keenly. In fact, it’ll be even cheaper once the (lesser-powered) front-wheel drive version arrives next year at $85,500.
What’s the Audi A6 interior like?
Interior design is Audi’s forte lately and they’ve really locked down a formula to integrate big screens, touch capacitive buttons and different trim elements all in a dash that remains elegant. It’s also a bit sporty; the steering wheel is thin and grips nicely in the hands and the seats – particularly in S-Line – are well bolstered and the stitching tight.
It feels the premium cabin very much and infuses lots of functional tech, like the large infotainment screen and terrific virtual cockpit, which you’d be hard-pressed to improve upon now that the active satellite map can almost fill the dash entirely. The long central console with a wide bench can be finished in aluminium too, which if you’re a fan of clean, hard Germanic design, looks pretty stunning.
There’s also been a mind on storage options, such as the flip-up lid on said console, and the deeper bin under the centre armrest which is lined with felt. Door pockets and glovebox are also usefully capacious.
How much space is there in the Audi A6?
The A6 has grown substantially from its humbler beginnings and now there’s even more rear legroom than the previous generation, growing 17mm. That’s useful given it’s the kind of car you want to show off to friends or put the kids in on a long trip without fuss.
And the boot is pretty good, 530-litres large and accessed via convenient automatic opening and closing function.
What’s the Audi A6 infotainment like?
The main display measures 10.1-inches which is quite large. The resolution has pinpoint clarity and the colours vibrant. The software is quite good to use and Audi’s MMI interface feels snappy.
It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with Apple’s connectivity now wireless (as well as wired via USB) which is a great convenience. Beyond phone tech is an LTE data connection that brings live traffic updates, parking space information, petrol stations nearby and more. The really neat trick is hybrid radio, which is a step above DAB, plugging the gap in reception that digital has in many outer metro areas by using cellular data.
What’s the Audi A6 engine like?
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol produces 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque from 1600-4500rpm, which is fairly short of the V6’s 250kW/500Nm claim on paper but feels responsive and peppy on the road. Audi claims the 0-100km/h sprint is completed in 6.0 seconds. Not breathtaking, but certainly quick enough to blast onto the freeway with.
Put your foot down from the line and it makes enough of a rumble that it feels lively and will kick down effectively at higher speeds to make overtaking a quick endeavour. It obviously lacks the punch of the bigger V6 but it doesn’t ever feel out of place, though the seven-speed automatic transmission isn’t on its game unless you’re in sport mode.
Audi A6 45 TFSI fuel economy
The four-pot is mated to a 12volt mild hybrid system that helps achieve a minor decrease to fuel consumption yet increases torque at times. The official fuel consumption claim is 7.2L/100km on the combined cycle.
What’s the Audi A6 like to drive?
There’s a lot of flexibility in the A6’s driving character that lets you meander along comfortably or enjoy a punt around twisting corners, even in this base-spec 45. Undoubtedly, the lack of Quattro Ultra – Audi’s lingo for all-wheel drive (though more than that, given it allows the rear driveshaft to disengage fully) – in the coming front-wheel drive model will be to the detriment of grip, thus it’s these AWDs that are an appealing blend of performance, safety, and value.
The S-Line is a little sportier, the adaptive dampers and larger wheels providing a bigger footprint and firmer suspension for ultimate control, but both the 19- and 20-inch alloys ride with similar compliance despite fear the big rims would be too firm over harsh bumps.
The steering is also a nice highlight, with a bit of communication and feedback after a quick and precise turn in to corners. But the resistance in the steering wheel can be configured from soft to firm, so that cruising along highways doesn’t feel fidgety. And the brakes are just as good, pulling up quickly and surely after a blast downhill.
There’s obviously room left for the RS6 to pick up the pieces in ultimate performance, but as an athlete in a suit, the A6 is quite the elastic character.
How safe is the Audi A6?
The Audi A6 has been awarded a full five-star ANCAP rating.
Safety technology includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, with traffic jam assist, lane-keeping assist and departure warning, 360-degree parking cameras, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, loose wheel detection (this is new), and exit warning so you don’t accidentally boof a cyclist when opening the door.
What are the Audi A6 alternatives?
There are not that many rivals, but all are fighting for niche sales in the mid-size premium sedan market. The main players are BMW’s 5-Series, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar’s XF, and the Lexus GS.
2020 Audi A6 45 TFSI Pricing And Specifications
Price From $95,500 plus ORCs Warranty 3 years/unlimited km Engine 2.0L petrol with mild 12v hybrid Power 180kW Torque 370Nm at 1600-4500rpm Transmission seven-speed automatic Drive all-wheel-drive Body 4951mm (l); 1886mm (w); 1458mm (h) Kerb weight 1860kg Seats 5 Thirst 7.2L/100km Fuel tank 63-litres Spare Space saver