2020 Audi A6
Starting at $55,895
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- Highs Hot-rod turbocharged V-6 engine, futuristic interior tech, high-quality finishes.
- Lows This sports sedan is missing its sport, bland design, minuscule cabin cubbies.
- Verdict A stealthy and luxurious mid-size four-door with plenty of appeal.
As a luxury sedan, the 2020 Audi A6 delivers with a refined ride, quiet powertrains, and a feature-packed cabin. What we're missing here is an athletic nature that would push the A6 into sports-sedan territory like its predecessor; its somewhat anonymous exterior styling will also blend in when luxury-car buyers may prefer something that stands out. A hefty load of standard equipment includes touchscreen infotainment with navigation, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, and three-zone automatic climate control. If you're shopping for an under-the-radar sedan to upgrade your commute, the A6 is a solid choice.
What's New for 2020?
Late in the 2019 run of A6 sedans, Audi began offering a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine alongside the turbo V-6 that the car initially offered. Cars powered by the four-cylinder wear the number 45 on their trunklid while V-6 cars wear a 55 badge. For 2020, few changes are in store but Audi is making some features standard, including lane-departure warning, heated exterior mirrors, an anti-theft system, and automatic high-beam headlamps. Mid-range Premium Plus models will now come standard with Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display as well as a heated steering wheel; this model also will now be offered with the optional Executive package which adds four-zone automatic climate control, adjustable interior ambient lighting, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a power trunklid. The top-level A6 Prestige gains standard adaptive cruise control, traffic-sign recognition, lane-keeping assist, intersection assist, and heated rear seats. Both the Premium Plus and Prestige models can now be had with a Black Optics exterior appearance package which adds black accents around the grille and windows.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We'd recommend the mid-range Premium Plus 45 trim level but we'd upgrade to the silky-smooth turbocharged V-6 55 model. Going with the Premium Plus trim adds a lot of features that luxury buyers will find tempting, such as the digital gauge display, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, a larger 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen, and a 360-degree exterior-camera system. On top of that, we'd suggest the Driver Assistance package, which includes adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The A6's two powertrains—a 248-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 335-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6—are both more than enough to haul this mid-size sedan around town. Both powertrains employ hybrid technology with a 12- or 48-volt starter/alternator that runs the engine's imperceptible stop-start system and other ancillary equipment. A seven-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive are both standard. The V-6 delivers plenty of thrust for merging and passing on the highway. At our test track, it charged from zero to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Despite this quick result, it's not quite enough to outrun its key rivals, the BMW 540i xDrive and the Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic. The 540i managed a 4.5-second run, while the Benz did it in 4.6. Despite its impressive cornering ability and steady ride, the A6 performs better as a luxury sedan than a sports sedan. We enjoyed its balanced handling and precise steering but never felt totally engaged when attacking twisty sections of road.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The A6 earned decent fuel-economy estimates from the EPA, and opting for the V-6 versus the turbo four-cylinder isn't much of a compromise in the efficiency department. The four-cylinder A6 received a 32-mpg highway rating, which is only three more than the V-6. However, our V-6–powered test vehicle managed an impressive 32 mpg during the course of our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test. That result puts it ahead of the Benz (30 mpg) and the BMW (31 mpg) but behind the über-efficient Lexus ES350, which managed an incredible 39 mpg in the same test.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The A6's interior design is sleek, modern, and nicely put together from excellent-quality materials. Soft leather adorns the seats and armrests, rich-looking wood and nickel-finished metal trim is tastefully applied to the dash and doors, and the majority of the A6's secondary controls—climate, drive mode, etc.—are handled by a large touch-sensitive panel underneath the main infotainment display. A similar system is used in the A8 luxury sedan and the Q8 crossover, and despite our usual griping about the takeover of touchscreen controls, it works well and provides satisfying haptic feedback. A large trunk and easy-to-fold rear seatbacks make the A6 great for hauling cargo. We fit six of our carry-on suitcases in the trunk, which ties both the E450 and the 540i. The Audi offered far more space than either of those two with the rear seats folded, managing to hold 20 cases; the Benz held 18 and the BMW 16.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Audi's familiar MMI infotainment interface gets a big revamp in this iteration of the A6. It no longer uses a click-wheel controller on the center console but offers reconfigurable menus so users can customize the layout of the home screen to suit their tastes. An 8.8-inch display, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and onboard Wi-Fi are all standard, but Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display and the larger 10.1-inch infotainment display are optional. A 10-speaker audio system is standard, but we'd recommend the 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen setup that comes standard on the Premium Plus and Prestige models.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The A6 has earned five stars for crash-test safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also reported strong results for the new A6 in 2019 and named it a Top Safety Pick+ for the 2019 and 2020 model years. Audi also offers quite a few standard and optional driver-assistance features, including a system that watches out for traffic to save you from stepping out of the car and into the path of a moving vehicle. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Standard lane departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi offers an average standard warranty that, when compared with other premium brands, looks pretty basic. Jaguar offers more value here, with longer warranties and five years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance