2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Introduction
The occasion to drive an Audi A6 is an attention grabber for us because we’ve always been fond of Audi’s mid-size sedan. With its distinctive looks, comfortable interior and generous dose of gee-whiz tech appointments, the A6 has always had a lot to like.
Redesigned for the 2013 model year, while the revised A6 followed the styling traditions established by its forebears quite competently, there is also a new member in its family unit.
Now that Audi has the A7 in the lineup, it can afford to skew the A6 a bit more toward the luxury end of the spectrum, allowing its new A7 sibling to lionize performance. As a result, this new A6, while still a paragon of style, luxury, technology, and engaging performance, is a bit softer in the suspenders than the 2011 car it replaced.
But no less desirable.
2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Models & Prices
For 2013, the Audi A6 is offered in five states of trim; 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Premium, 3.0T Premium Plus and 3.0T Prestige. As you’ve probably guessed, the numbers designate the engine’s displacement, while the letter designates artificial aspiration. However, while the “T” does accurately indicate turbocharging in the case of the 2.0T, for the 3.0T it symbolizes supercharging.
As far as equipment goes; the standard equipment roster for the 2013 Audi A6 2.0T Premium ($42,200) includes front-wheel drive, a set of 17-inch wheels, and as you’d expect from a luxury car of this caliber, automatic headlights and wipers, heated mirrors, a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a triple-zone automatic climate control system. Both front seats are power adjustable eight ways and feature four-way lumbar adjustments.
You’ll find leather upholstery, as well as a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The Audi Drive Select function provides adjustable modes for steering, throttle and transmission response. Bluetooth hands free telephony and audio streaming are included, the latter feeding a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, and an iPod interface.
The 2.0T Premium Plus ($46,500) adds a more prominent set of 18-inch wheels, along with xenon headlights, attention grabbing LED running lights, as well as front and rear parking sensors. The Premium Plus package also fits a rearview camera, auto-dimming outside mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, Audi's MMI electronics interface, and a color driver information display.
The Premium Plus audio system upgrade features HD radio, a CD changer, and a hard-drive based digital music server. Other components of the Premium Plus package include a voice-activated navigation system proffering real-time traffic information and photorealistic mapping courtesy of Google Earth. The coup de grace is Audi Connect —Audi’s in-car wireless Internet connection solution.
For 2013, all-wheel-drive (Quattro) can be fitted to Premium and Premium Plus 2.0T models, along with the eight-speed automatic transmission for an additional $2,200. Quattro and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard for all 3.0T A6 models.
The 3.0T Premium ($50,400) is equipped much like the 2.0T Premium, with the addition of a fuel-saving start/stop engine system and heated front seats.
Similarly, the 3.0T Premium Plus ($54,700) is equipped similarly to the 2.0T Premium Plus.
For the ultimate Audi A6 experience, opt for the 3.0T Prestige package ($56,950).
That iteration of the A6 is distinguished by a unique set of 18-inch wheels along with adaptive headlights, Audi’s sporty S line exterior accents, a set of cornering lights, ambient LED cabin lighting for atmosphere, a quad-zone climate control system to give rear seat passengers the opportunity to control their own environment, heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustment for the steering wheel, and a Bose surround audio system.
2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Design
The styling changes from 2011 to 2013 are very subtle. To readily discern the differences you pretty much have to park them side-by-side. However, when you do see the two cars together, almost magically, the contemporary car looks both better and more svelte than the old car— without looking substantially different.
Careful examination will reveal the 2013’s trunk is more elongated and incorporates a small spoiler along its trailing edge. This improves airflow over the car. You’ll also note the nose of the new A6 drops more severely than the 2011 model.
The profile view reveals the revised greenhouse treatment is slightly taller and the car wears bigger tires and wheels. Additionally, the sides of the 2013 A6 are adorned with wonderfully kinetic sculpted lines—imparting a sense of motion to the design.
LED clusters provide distinct illumination treatments for the 2013 A6, both front and rear. Once you see them doing their thing, the look is forever seared into your memory—it’s that impressive.
All in all, it’s a masterful execution of an evolutionary update. Everything likable about the 2011 model is preserved while simultaneously establishing a presence for the 2013 model all its own.
And, 80 pounds of weight were shed in the process.
2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Comfort & Cargo
This aspect of any Audi has been the company’s long suit going all the way back to the Audi 5000 of the 1980s. For the 2013 A6, the company pushed its boundaries even farther. In a word, the interior of the 2013 A6 is absolutely gorgeous.
The sweeping lines of the dash begin and end with graceful scallops of trim in the front doors. Generous applications of grain-matched wood trim warm what is an exceptionally tech-laden environment, deftly combining old school charm and grace with new jack functionality.
The real beauty of it all lies in the way the ergonomics of the controls are so perfect. We love the way the landscape around the shifter is populated with controls for the audio system and other secondary controls. That space goes wasted in so many other cars.
Speaking of space, the 2013 A6 is a remarkably spacious sedan. Rear seat passengers can be quite comfortable over particularly long hauls. Headroom in the rear is good too. The requisite cupholders, map pockets and storage bins abound. Trunk space is good (if not exceptional), with a luggage capacity of 14.1 cubic feet. The rear seatbacks fold flat to increase cargo capacity.
2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Features & Controls
Interior highlights include a dedicated Internet connection, enabling the 2013 A6 to perform magical feats like incorporating Google maps into its navigation system. Now, when you drive around, you see the actual buildings on your route. And, if you need a Web hotspot, with the 2013 Audi A6, you’ll be driving one.
The head up display projects information onto the lower part of the windshield in full color. Word of advice though, if you want to take full advantage of it, you’ll have to eschew your polarized sunglasses. Their polarization renders the head up display (any head up display, not just Audi’s) nearly invisible.
If you’re deep into Audio (and yes, the capital “A” was intentional) the optional 1300-watt, 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system (which is optional for 3.0T models only) will please your ears as well as your eyes with its uniquely designed retractable tweeters on the dash. Further, every contemporary audio source devised will find its way into and through the system to sensuously massage your eardrums.
Other interior highlights include the touchpad interface for Audi’s MMI system, which permits you to literally write out the addresses and phone numbers you need to access. Smart cruise control relieves the stress of driving in stop and go traffic. Active lane assist will nudge the Audi back into its lane if you allow it to drift too far without signaling your intention to change lanes; AND yes, the 2013 Audi A6 is capable of parking itself when asked to do so.
2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Engine/Fuel Economy
The 2013 Audi A6 is offered with a choice of two engines; a 310-horsepower, 325-ft/lb 3.0-liter supercharged V6, or a 211-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.
While it may seem like a downgrade to apply a four-cylinder engine to a car in the A6’s category, generating 258 ft-lbs of torque at 1500 rpm, the 2.0T makes more torque and does so lower in the rev range than the 2011 A6’s 3.2-liter V6. Audi’s spec sheet estimates a 7.5-second 0 to 60 with the four and 5.3 with the supercharged V6.
Paired with front-wheel drive and continuously variable transmission, the 2.0T should provide a fluid flow of seamless propulsion. For 2013, Audi has also optionally paired this engine with its Quattro all-wheel drive system. While we have yet to drive an A6 equipped with the turbocharged engine, we expect it to perform admirably
As far as gas mileage, the EPA says to expect 25 miles per gallon in the city, 33 on the highway and 28 combined from the turbocharged four-cylinder. The supercharged V6 is rated at 19-city, 28-highway and 22 combined.
2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions
Having driven the A6 with the supercharged V6, we can confidently pronounce it fit for duty. Acceleration is strong throughout its range. The 3.0T has a broad powerband with plenty of torque down low. In other words, you say “go”, and the 2013 Audi A6 3.0T streaks away from the line, accelerating vigorously all the way to its artificially limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. The power comes on both smoothly and evenly and the engine feels like it will provide acceleration into infinity (and yes) beyond; up to, uh, you know, 155 miles per hour.
As a highway car, the A6 is firmly in its element with its Autobahn training gloriously shining through. The experience is characterized by outstanding stability, quietness, and deliberate assurance at elevated speeds. Around town, the A6 handles easily; the eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and is always in the right gear. In fact, the Audi goes about its day-to-day in a quiet and sophisticated manner wholly befitting its patrician good looks.
Ask it to attack a winding two-lane road though and things change a bit.
Audi’s sedans with electric power steering have always been criticized for their relative lack of steering feel and while this isn’t really an issue for us, many reviewers demerit the A6 for this. The beauty of the electric steering is it permits self-parking and auto lane correction. However, the downfall of it for some drivers is an “artificial” feel. This, when taken in conjunction with the slight Buick-itization of the 2013 A6’s ride and handling mean it’s a bit less engaging in the twisties than the 2011 model. The Audi still goes well and grips like mad, it just doesn’t feel as much at home doing it as it did in the past.
It's a softer, more genteel version of the A6.
2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Safety Equipment/Ratings
Audi’s engineers simulated some 4,000 crashes in the computer to ensure the new A6 would shrug off anything short of a thermonuclear incident.
OK, that’s an exaggeration.
But the point is, every contingency they could think of has been tested and developed for. As an example, crumple zones are incorporated into the sides of the car as well as the front and rear ends.
Naturally, the alphabet soup of acronyms common to the safety systems in today’s cars is present and accounted for. ABS, ESC, AWD, as well as active seatbelts, smart airbags, and a system that even pays attention to potential rear-end collisions comprise just a bit of the 2013 Audi A6’s safety spec.
When the IIHS went all sadistic on the A6, slamming it into walls and things, the car delivered the Safety Institute’s highest possible rating—good.
2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts
For 2013, the Audi A6 has evolved into even more of a luxury car.
Much of the tautness we appreciated about the previous versions of the A6 has migrated to the svelte A7 model. Still though, in true Audi tradition, the 2013 Audi A6 remains a engaging car to drive and a technological masterpiece—continuing to break new ground in terms of functionalities.
From its ability to function as a Wi-Fi hotspot, to the incorporation of lane keeping technology, along with its active cruise control, blind spot monitoring, top-view camera system, and start/stop engine function, the 2013 Audi A6 is indeed a technological tour de force.
Yes, it’d be nice if it were even more engaging on twisting two lanes. However, if you’re determined to own a four place Audi and you’re really that type of driver, you can always stride your behind across the showroom and park it in a shiny new A7.
2013 Audi A6 Road Test & Review: Pros & Cons
• Exquisitely finished interior
• Robust power from the supercharged V6
• More tech than the Tech Museum in San Jose
• Smooth and comfortable ride
• 33 miles per gallon on the highway from the 2.0T
• Less sporty than before (and yes, we know that one could go either way)
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