2005 Audi A6 holds its own against competition
2005 Audi A6
Elegance on Wheels: A6 holds its own against competition
Published Date: 10/17/05
No manual tranny option
We would never say that as a company Audi has an inferiority complex, but we could understand if it did.
Competing against its two backyard luxury car-making archrivals.Mercedes-Benz and BMW.is enough to give any carmaker a complex. And it.s not just the German makers Audi need worry about, as competition from Acura, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar and Lexus, among others, makes the luxury car field a crowded one.
But Audi has a couple of hole cards to play in this high-stakes luxury car poker game: exceptional design and the decades-old reputation of its quattro all-wheel drive.
To keep the A6 a player, prior to last fall.s launch of the new model Audi promised the luxury quotient would be ramped up and the sporty looks and feel of the car would be even better than the one it replaced, as well as better than all comers to the market. As if to put an exclamation point on that promise, the A6 debuted with a new look featuring the bolder, chiseled grille that we.ve since come to know as the new face of the Ingolstadt brand.
So the question is: Did Audi deliver on its promise of sportiness and luxury? In a word, yes.
One comment keeps coming up when people describe the A6: elegant. The crisp lines of the exterior give the car a stylish profile. As much as we like the outside of the car, we like the inside even more. Swathed in fine leather and wood trim in a classic design, the A6.s interior is the standard other automakers benchmark. Audi has long been noted for making some of the finest interiors in the business, and the A6 redefines the segment.
While not the quickest car in its class, the A6.s 4.2-liter 335-hp V8 and six-speed automatic transmission work in concert, allowing the Audi to easily play in the left lane on the autobahn. We drove it from 0 to 60 mph in 6.56 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in 14.96 seconds at 95.2 mph. For comparison, the BMW 545i we tested got to 60 mph in 5.63 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 14.14 seconds at 100.6 mph (DoubleTake, March 7).
The Michelin Pilot Sport 18-inch tires provide exceptional grip through the slalom, with quick turn-in and just a trace of understeer. Thanks to quattro, all you need do is point the car in the direction you want, with no worry of the tail stepping out of line. The A6 has a substantial, solid feel, and offers a quiet, comfortable ride on a variety of road surfaces.
Fast cars need good brakes, and the A6 delivers on that note, too. Our 60-mph-to-0 stop took just 116 feet. That figure puts the car in very good company, better than the 545i.s 121 feet.
A couple of glaring negatives popped up in testing. The six-speed automatic.s autostick feature would not stay in the gear selected. It shifted depending on speed and throttle position during our track testing; we finally gave up and just left it in the automatic mode.
Also, like its big brother, the flagship A8, the A6 comes with Audi.s Multi-Media Interface to control audio, navigation and climate control duties. While MMI is more complicated than a convention- al setup, like many of the car.s owners we found it easier to use than BMW.s infamous iDrive. But one tester noted his frustration with MMI: .These single knob/screen systems drive me nuts. Yes, MMI is simpler to use than iDrive, but that doesn.t make it good. It just makes it slightly less awful..
Owners say that as a package the A6.s luxury appointments, sporty ride and handling, superior cabin and luggage space, plus all-wheel drive combine to make it a winner. .Compared to its Mercedes and BMW-badged contemporaries,. writes one owner, .you get the biggest trunk and back seat and the coolest interior, all while keeping an extra $10,000 in your pocket..
Another owner says, .This is the most fun I.ve had driving a new car in years..
Luxury and performance wrapped up in an elegant package could give all those other automakers a complex.
The A6 is a superb automobile. I like the sport suspension that all but eliminates roll on my curvy interstate commute. The interior, with satellite radio and Bose sound system, is perfect, but the MMI system took time getting to know. The only thing I miss is a manual transmission, but horsepower and the six-speed Tiptronic go a long way toward making up for that. I am pleased with the 20-mpg fuel economy from the V8.
Ted Barnes, Park City, Utah
What do you buy when you have a kid, another on the way, a wife whose mantra is safety, and a pledge never to worship at the altar of a minivan or SUV? An Audi A6. Compared to its Mercedes and BMW-badged contemporaries, you get the biggest trunk and back seat and the coolest interior, all while
keeping an extra $10,000 in your pocket. The A6 looks hot and distinctive with its grille and lines. All the hoo-ha over the car.s snout and MMI is bunk. MMI takes no more than 30 minutes to master, and anyone who can.t grasp the basics by then should not be behind the wheel of any car.
Tyson Heyn, San Diego
This is the most fun I.ve had driving a new car in years. Learning MMI was simple compared to the first iDrive, but I wish they left the radio to be dealt with conventionally. I also can.t understand why they only offer rear Parktronic and not front. Bluetooth compatibility with my Motorola Razor falls short; it refuses to hang up and Audi has not been able to help. If the next A8 looks as nice as this, I might be tempted to move upstream. I.m an Audi man now.
Joe Lombardo, New York
Quattro is important to me because of my interstate-heavy commute. With the six-speed Tiptronic, engine response is good. Handling is superb, but I would like more steering feel at highway speeds. The ride is smooth, comfortable and quiet, and the interior is superior to anything in its class. MMI is intuitive and the navigation system is easy to use. From a styling standpoint, I love the car.
Glen B. Hardymon, Mooresville, N.C.
Audi of America
3800 Hamlin Road
Auburn Hills MI 48326
Customer assistance: (800) 822-2834
Internet address: audiusa.com
Country of origin: Germany
Number of dealers: 262 (est.)
Base (includes $720 delivery): $51,220
As tested: $56,620
Owners paid; average: $57,772 to $61,000; $59,386
OPTIONS AS TESTED
Sport package, with 18-inch alloy wheels,
front sport seats, sport suspension, summer
performance tires ($1,500); navigation
system ($1,500); audio package, with Bose
sound system, Sirius satellite radio ($1,300);
advanced key ($750); voice recognition ($350)
OTHER MAJOR OPTIONS
Cold-weather package, with heated front
and rear seats, heated steering wheel, ski
sack, headlight washers ($1,050); solar
sunroof ($600); power rear window shade,
manual side window shade ($400); rear
side airbags ($350); rear Parktronic ($350)
Unibody four-door sedan
Wheelbase (in): 111.9
Track (in): 63.5 front, 63.7 rear
Length/width/height (in): 193.5/79.2/57.4
Curb weight/GVWR (lbs): 4145/5315
uel (gal): 21.1
Cargo (cu-ft): 15.9
Front-longitudinal 4.2-liter/254-cid dohc V8
Horsepower: 335 @ 6600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 310 @ 3500 rpm
Compression ratio: 11.0:1
Fuel requirement: 91 octane
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Final drive ratio: 3.309:1
Front: Four-link with coil springs, twin-tube
gas-charged shock absorbers, antiroll bar
Rear: Trapezoidal-link with coil springs, twin-
tube gas-charged shock absorbers, antiroll bar
Discs front and rear, ABS with EBD;
aluminum 245/40R-18 Michelin Pilot
Sport Radial X
0-60 mph: 6.56 sec
0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 6.92 sec
0-quarter-mile: 14.96 sec @ 95.2 mph
20-40 mph (first and second gear): 2.6 sec
40-60 mph (second and third gear): 3.2 sec
60-80 mph (third gear): 4.7 sec
60 mph-0: 116 ft
490-foot slalom: 45.5 mph
Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.86 g
INTERIOR NOISE (dBA)
Full throttle: 71
Steady 60 mph: 62
EPA combined: 19.26 mpg
AWoverall: 16.86 mpg
TRUE COST TO OWNSM
Average cost per mile: $0.97
After one year: $12,152
Five-year total: $32,979
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