Mid-size luxury saloon space attracts buyers from a segment higher and lower than itself. The cars in this segment offer a perfect balance of space, luxury, and affordability. However, to make it even more lucrative, Audi has tried to entertain the buyers of this class by competitively pricing the eighth-gen A6 in India. It has been done in a way that Audi A6 comes up as the most affordable mid-size luxury saloon in the country. To do so, it now misses out on a few features that were offered earlier as a standard fitment across the range. Also, it is now available with a turbo-petrol motor only. If this move is appealing enough without making the A6 lose its charm and legacy, we find it out in this review.
2019 Audi A6 Review - Exterior
To start with, the Audi A6 continues to sport a laid-back 3-box silhouette, which is very typical of a luxury saloon. In a bid to evolve, however, it has now ditched the smooth lines for sharp creases. Interestingly, the designers at Audi have managed to preserve the cohesiveness of the overall design. There are some nice changes as well. On the front, the A6 now sports a massive grille with thin slats of chrome. The grille is flanked by a pair of sleek Matrix LED headlamps. Thankfully, Audi has not used a lot of chrome on the front facet. The bumper misses out on fog lamps but gets faux air vents, instead. They do help in breaking the visual bulk. The bonnet too gets tighter creases that add some muscle to a rather premium-looking face.
On the sides, the length of the A6 is evident. Sadly, the Indian market is kept away from the long-wheelbase model. Also, the option of alloy wheels is limited to these 18-inch units only, which feature a diamond-cut finish. In the eighth-gen avatar, the A6 also misses out on the undisturbed shoulder line that was prominent on the model it replaces. Here, it is segmented in three different lines. Our favourite bit on the sides is the design of the ORVMs. They are sharply-designed and look as if they came straight from the bigger and sportier A7.
The rear facet, however, is the most changed profile of the A6. The tail lamps are new and mimic the connected tail lamp design. Moreover, they look so much better in the dark because of the Matrix LED effect. Lower down the rear facet, the bumper sports faux exhaust tips, which look plain ugly on an elegant-looking car. On the whole, the design of the eighth-gen A6 speaks of premium-ness from every angle. It can be best described as evolutionary than revolutionary.
2019 Audi A6 Review – Interior
The ambience of the A6’s interior is premium. The cabin looks posh, and the use of soft-touch material is apparent. The steering wheel of the A6 is inspired by that of the bigger A8, and so is the case with the dashboard layout. With a minimalistic design, the dashboard is flat and low-set. Its top-most part is made of soft-touch plastic, and then, there are the AC vents which get an uncluttered design and spread across the cabin’s width. Right below the AC vents is another layer that is made out of wood, followed by a piano-black insert, which also houses the infotainment screen. Also, the A6 comes with ambient lighting that is one of the best-looking setups that we've come across.
Moving over to the centre console, it houses an MMI unit to operate climate control and gets a couple of storage spaces as well. Between the 10-way power-adjustable driver seat and the 8-way power-adjustable co-driver seat sits an armrest, which also houses a wireless phone charger. The front seats are supportive and offer a lot of adjustment options. While the driver seat comes with memory function, none of them gets massage function or heating/cooling functionality even as an option.
In total there are three screens in the A6’s cabin. There’s a 12.3-inch unit for the Virtual Cockpit, 10.1-inch touchscreen display for the MMI unit for various controls, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen for the infotainment unit. But, it is the latter that comes coupled to a Bang & Olufsen sound system. The touch response of both of these screens in crisp, and they offer haptic feedback too. The A6 also gets a large single-pane sunroof, which lets a lot of light enter the cabin when required.
The rear bench of the A6 is comfy and spacious, but not the most loaded. Nevertheless, you get sun blinds for the rear windows and the windscreen. Cooling duties in this cabin are performed by a four-zone climate control. Thus, all the occupants can set the temperature of the air according to their requirements. While it is obvious to think of the fifth occupant, but the space on the rear seats is good for just two. Since the floor in the second row is not flat, the third-occupant is a tight fit. To utilize the middle seat space accordingly, one can always pull down the centre armrest that comes with two cup holders. It is free from any sort of buttons.
Also, the backrest on the rear seat is a little upright and does not come with adjustability for recline angle either. However, more than enough legroom makes way for that. Talking of the boot, it is 530 litres in volume. Thanks to its square shape, it can swallow some big bags with ease. As for the safety net, the A6 comes with rear parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, auto park assist, 6 airbags and more. On the whole, the A6’s cabin is a nice place to be in. While the rear seat could’ve done with more features, the NVH levels and sound insulation here are noteworthy.
2019 Audi A6 Review – Engine & Gearbox
In the Indian market, the eighth-gen Audi A6 is on sale with just one engine-gearbox combination – 2.0L TFSI with a 7-speed DCT, which sends the power to front wheels only. The 2.0L 4-cylinder motor with forced induction is good enough to develop a peak power output of 245 PS and max torque of 370 Nm. The option of a diesel engine or a more powerful petrol power plant is not available on the A6 anymore. However, this 2.0L TFSI is good enough to suit everyone’s need and taste. It packs in a lot of punch and refinement. At idle, it is hardly audible inside the cabin. Also, there are no vibrations whatsoever at any point of the rev range.
Talking of drivability, this motor has enough grunt in the lower end of the RPM range. The mid-range comprises of a commendable push. Around the top-end, this motor continues to deliver power and torque while singing an inline-4 specific symphony. But, this isn’t the best 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo-petrol motor available in the segment. The Bimmers and Jags of this world win hands down in this aspect. The 7-speed dual-clutch unit offers slick shifts, but not the fastest. There are better iterations of this gearbox available in Audi’s lineup, and so is the case with this motor. However, the fun part here are the steering-mounted paddle shifters that let the driver take over the controls manually.
Interestingly, the Audi A6 comes with multiple drive modes – Comfort, Efficiency, and Dynamic. The latter is the most involving one of all. In the Dynamic mode, the engine feels rev-happy and gearbox is ready to hold the revs and eager to downshift with the most gentle of a prod on the accelerator pedal. In the Comfort mode, the response from both gearbox and engine is relaxed. But it is in the Efficiency mode that A6 turns into a frugal mile-muncher. The gearbox always tries to be in the highest possible gear to let the engine work at lowest possible RPMs.
In summation, Audi A6’s powertrain and drivetrain are apt at lugging it around the town, in the twisties, and on the highways. However, we do wish that Audi should’ve offered the option of a diesel engine if not a powerful petrol motor. Nevertheless, with its current arsenal, the A6 is peppy enough to reach the 100 kmph mark from a standstill in just 6.8 seconds, while the top speed is capped at 250 kmph.
2019 Audi A6 Review – Ride & Handling
This time around, the Audi A6 comes suspended on a passive suspension system. The last-gen model, however, came with air suspension as a standard fitment across the range, which worked on Skyhook theory. With its absence, however, the ride has not deteriorated in any sense. The A6 continues to ride with the same poise and elegance. It can absorb road undulations and potholes with no drama. Big potholes and massive speed humps, on the other hand, are required to be traversed with attention, since the ride height is not adjustable anymore.
Also, the smaller 18-inch wheels are shod with 255-section and 55-profile tyres. The chunky sidewalls are also helpful in ironing out the bumps. The wide tyres, however, help the A6 with immense grip. Therefore, fast steering inputs for changing lanes or while having fun on a mountain road, do not take away the confidence. Moreover, it gets anti-roll bars at both the ends, which do help it with stability and agility. The steering gains weight with speed, gracefully. But, it feels vague around the centre and isn’t the most direct one in the segment.
Talking of the brakes, the A6 gets discs at all the ends. The initial bite is strong, and they offer ample stopping power. The nose-heavy nature because of FWD layout shakes the confidence at times. On the whole, Audi A6 offers a plush ride with hardly anything to complain of. But when driven spiritedly, it starts showing its laid-back luxury saloon characteristics.
2019 Audi A6 Review – Verdict
Integrating all our thoughts, the Audi A6 comes up as a great bargain in the mid-size luxury saloon space. It boasts of great design, premium cabin, plush ride, and enough thrill. However, there are some voids to be filled. To talk of, it misses out the option of a diesel engine, powerful petrol motor, air suspension, 360-degree camera, and advanced active safety systems. But, if you are looking to resort with a car that looks the part and gets the job done while saving you on some hard cash, Audi A6 is undeniably an option that deserves consideration.