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April 2005
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2005 Audi A6 3.2 Quattro

The Good:  Sleek and elegant styling.  This sedan feels just right. Very smooth and stable ride.  Good amount of road feel. Plenty of power.  Quattro system feels great in everyday driving.  Very quiet at high speeds.

The Bad:  Feeling behind the wheel is not memorable. Dash layout looks dated in this new model. Competition offers more for the money. 

Download Apple QuickTime viewer here.  Watch the A6 interior, exterior, turning xenon lamps, and MMI system as well as acceleration tests. 8.5MB  Click Here

            The new Audi A6 first hit the US market in October of 2004, with a total redesign setting a new benchmark in the luxury performance segment.  Its aggressive new front end has since spread to other models in the Audi lineup, giving us the new face of Audi.  The A6 has earned high praise for its poetic exterior and high quality interior.  Today the A6 is offered in sedan and wagon versions, with either a as tested six cylinder 3.2 liter six cylinder model priced at $42,620 or a 4.2 liter eight cylinder model priced at $52,220.  With two new Japanese models, the Lexus GS and the Infiniti M series now available in the market, we wonder if the A6 can still retain its short lived lead. 
            Our canyon red pearl effect colored A6 certainly looks beautiful in person.  The car’s sleek lines and rounded shape is much more appreciated in real life.  Beautifully styled headlamps offer Bi-xenon adaptive lamps for the latest in headlight technology.  Rear lamps wrap distinctly around the back in a jeweled lamp system. 

The Audi A6 offers an extremely well done interior, improving on quality from even the A8.  While leather is not supple in this standard version, it feels very much like BMW leather, thick and strong.  Doors are done in a soft plastic material and we would like to see more leather on door panels in this price category.  Strong feeling aluminum door handles as well as aluminum trim around every wood panel looks very nice.  A textured cloth roof material looks and feels great. 

Roof based controls are covered in an Apple iMac-like white plastic.  This blends nicely with the white LED ambient glow of the A6’s interior at night, much like the A8.  We did not fall in love with overall shape of the steering wheel, similar to the grille on the front of all Audi models; it looked more like a Dodge part than a German car part.  An electromechanical parking brake as used on the A8 is just a touch of a console button away.  The glove box also opens by way of an upper console mounted button, a bit too far away from the glove box itself for our tastes.

Ergonomics for the driver are first rate with a slight tilt of the center console to the driver’s side.  The instrument cluster is bright and large featuring red digital display in the center like in older versions of the A6.  It would be nice if this were similar to the A8 instrument cluster screen, which is in full color.  The MMI screen and climate controls are similar to the A8, but the way it is gathered and the overall style of the dash looks dated already.  The setup does not look modern or futuristic as we can see in designs from the new M45 from Infiniti.

The MMI system works very well and is one of our favorite systems available in any car, along with the Audi DVD Navigation system, which is optional.  The advanced MMI with its seven-inch color display and a fully integrated radio complete with an optional Bose Surround Sound system shines above the competition.  Another standard feature on all A6 models is the automatic climate control with enhanced output and optimized noise control, featuring indirect ventilation and B-pillar outlets, air quality, humidity, and sun angle sensors.  There are still many visible air vents in the front cabin, at a time when we have become accustomed to wood panels covering up air vent holes in the dash as in the Phaeton.  All Audi A6 models are now available with the Bluetooth interface for mobile telephones, which can be operated through the multifunction steering wheel or the MMI system.   An optional voice recognition system can also control the Bluetooth interface, as well as, the CD player, radio and navigation system.

Perhaps a larger MMI screen and a touch system would make this even more user friendly.  The placement of the screen just did not look very modern for lack of flow with the dash.  The feeling of most controls using the jog dial is very good and all buttons surrounding it also feel well made. We found the adaptive headlamps to work great.  The system is based on vehicle speed and steering response and so it is quite hard to notice while driving.  However it keeps light on the road surface extremely well and is a must have in our book. 

All of the car's occupants benefit from a higher standard of comfort and spaciousness inside.  The wheelbase of the new Audi A6 is up by more than three inches over the car's predecessor to 112 inches.  Rear seats are comfortable and there is ample legroom.  The depth of the lower cushions makes for a nicely supported seating position.  The feeling is also quite cozy and secluded with small third quarter windows and a sloping roof adding a private jet like feeling.  The luggage capacity on all models is 15.9 cubic feet.

            The new A6 tested here features a 3.2 liter V6 producing 255 horsepower and 243 ft. lbs. of torque. The new 3.2 six cylinder features Audi’s direct injection FSI (Fuel Straight Injection) technology for the first time in North America.  The new direct injection engine delivers a more dynamic engine with higher torque and power output, and lower fuel consumption.  The main factor contributing to these improvements is how fuel is delivered.  Fuel is not injected into the intake port but directly into the combustion chamber.  The injector, which is supplied by a single-piston pump and common rail fuel line, is on the side of the cylinder head and controls the injection time to within thousandths of a second, at injection pressures of up to 110 bars.  Other exciting features of the 3.2 V6 FSI are on-demand fuel supply, four-valve technology, a variable intake manifold and infinitely variable camshaft adjustment which gives the driver a dynamic and powerful reaction to every movement of the accelerator plus a broad useful speed range of up to 7200 rpm.  All this equals muscular torque and a high standard of fuel efficiency.

            The engine feels strong and sporty.  In sport setting the transmission brings alive the horsepower with higher rev gear changes and the A6 still handles beautifully.  Gear changes are super smooth even in the manual setting where you can change gears yourself.  Though the shifts are not as fast as the DSG system found in other Audi’s, it is well suited for this base version of the A6.  The 255 horsepower is well suited to a car of this size while 300 would allow you to pass even quicker on up hill grades but we are all limited by outrageously low speed limits on the roads of America.  The engine delivers a good 19 miles per gallon city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway with our car averaging 23 miles per gallon.  Zero to sixty can be reached in 7.1 seconds.  The quarter mile arrives in 15.4 seconds.  Top speed in the US is limited to 130mph electronically. 

The improved fuel economy and dynamic performance offered by the new Audi A6 also results from the six-speed automatic transmissions with a wide range of gear increments.  All engines come standard with Quattro permanent all-wheel drive, a typical feature of all high-performance Audi models.  With the power unit and drive train of the new A6 being fitted longitudinally, all Quattro models come with a torsion center differential distributing engine torque in a straightforward but very effective flow of power to the front and rear axles and thus making a significant contribution to the driving dynamics and superior safety even in extreme situations so typical of Quattro drive.

The ride is silky smooth.  The Audi A6 glides over roads as if it is flying and here is where we see this car making significant advances to the BMW 5 series.  The car is superbly balanced for a great feel in turns.  There is little body lean or sway.  The standard suspension takes on a sports car like feel in curves and surprisingly becomes silky soft on bumpy roads and on the highway.  Torsional stiffness is improved by more than 34 percent in the new Audi A6.  Audi's dynamic suspension featured on the new A6 is likewise based on sporting, proven technology: the enhanced four-link front suspension acknowledged as a particular Audi stronghold and the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension carried over from the Audi A8.  The result is a standard of dynamic driving behavior beyond comparison.  Like the A8, the A6 is a sporty and dynamic car, benefiting from speed-dependent Servotronic and supplementing the precise handling of the new A6 by even more sensitive steering precision.  The Quattro four-wheel-drive system helps move the car forward with an even feeling and keeps you under control at all times.  Taking turns fast becomes even more fun, and surprisingly the Audi retains a push from the back feeling when starting from a dead stop. 

            Our tester started off at a base price of $40,900.  Added to this were a few option packages such as the Premium package offering glass sunroof, bi-xenon turning headlamps, Bose surround sound system, and the wood interior trim for $3,000.  The Audi DVD navigation system is $1,500.  The Convenience Package adds $1,000 and offers Homelink, Auto dimming exterior and interior mirrors, memory for seats and the Driver Information Display in the Instrument cluster.  A Cold Weather package adds heated front and rear seats, headlight washers, and a ski rack for $900.  The 17-inch alloy wheels are $750 additional.  Add $720 for destination and this brings the total to $48,770.

            The new A6 comes with a long list of standard safety equipment.  Active safety components include the latest generation of ESP including brake assist and Electronic Brakepressure Distribution (EBD).  In the event of a collision, the car's occupants are protected by the robust structure of the body with predefined deformation and a highly stable passenger cabin.  In conjunction with the seat belts, front and side airbags as well as the Sideguard TM head curtain airbag system, the driver and passengers are provided with superior safety and protection. The two full-size front airbags are activated in two stages, depending on the severity of an accident.  Active front head restraints help to protect the occupants in a collision from behind.  The superb Audi warranty features a four year 50,000 mile no charge scheduled maintenance coverage for oil changes and other routine items.  This is also the time of the basic warranty, which also includes roadside assistance. 


View Measurements and Technical Specs on the S4 in pdf format. 


Base Pricing 38,757 41,900
Destination 720 720
Cold Weather Pkg • 3.2
All Models Include Heated F&R Seats, Ski Sack & Headlamp Washers.
4.2 Includes All Models Equipment Plus Heated Steering Wheel.
819 900
Convenience Pkg • 3.2
(N/A 4.2) Includes O/S & Inside Automatic Day/Night Mirrors, Dual Power Folding Mirrors w/Driver's Memory, Driver's Seat Memory, Driver's Information Display & Storage Pkg.
910 1,000
Premium Pkg   Include Inside & O/S Automatic Day/Night Mirrors, LH Mirror & Driver's Seat Memory, Garage Door Opener, Dual Power Folding Mirrors & Light Sensor Pkg. 1,469 1,650
Premium Pkg • 3.2
(N/A 4.2) (This Option May Be Coded PPX or PPB) Includes Power Glass Moon Roof, HID Adaptive Headlamps, Bose Premium Sound System & Wood Interior Trim.
2,730 3,000
Sport Pkg • 3.2
(N/A After 2-15-05 on 4.2) (N/A w/Wheels-C0U or C5G)
All Models Include Sport Suspension, (5) P245/40YR18 Tires & Forged Sport Alloy Wheels.
4.2 Includes All Models Equipment Plus Sport Bucket Seats.
1,138 1,250
Sun Shade, Power Rear
Includes Manual Side Sun Shades.
364 400
Key, Advanced
Includes Push Button Start.
683 700
Navigation System
(Req's Convenience Pkg-PCC on 3.2) Includes Map CD's.
1,378 1,500
Parking Sensors, Rear 319 350
Seat Trim, Premium Leather • 3.2 910 1,000
Tire Pressure Monitor 228 250
Voice Recognition
(Controls, CD, Radio, DVD Navigation & Cellular Telephone)
319 350


  2005 Audi A6
3.2 quattro AWD 4dr Sedan (3.1L 6cyl 6A)
2005 BMW 5 Series
530i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
2006 Infiniti M35
AWD 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
2006 Lexus GS 300
AWD 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6A)
2005 Acura RL
3.5 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
MSRP $41,900 $45,400 $42,400 $44,850 $49,100
Invoice $38,757 $41,495 $38,968 $38,122 $43,714
Destination Charge $720 $695 $610 $650 $570
Basic 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V6 inline 6 V6 V6 V6
Base Engine Displacement 3.1 liters 3.0 liters 3.5 liters 3.0 liters 3.5 liters
Valvetrain 24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
Horsepower 255 hp @ 6500 rpm 225 hp @ 5900 rpm 280 hp @ 6200 rpm 245 hp @ 6200 rpm 300 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque 243 ft-lbs. @ 3250 rpm 214 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm 270 ft-lbs. @ 4800 rpm 230 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm 260 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm
Driven Wheels all wheel drive rear wheel drive all wheel drive all wheel drive all wheel drive
Tires P225/55HR16
all season
all season
all season
run flat
all season
Number of Drivers 3 - Optional 2 2 3 2
Xenon Headlights Optional Optional Optional Standard Standard
TV Not Available Not Available Optional Not Available Not Available
Video Not Available Not Available DVD player - Optional Not Available Not Available
Navigation System DVD navigation system - Optional DVD navigation system w/voice activation - Optional DVD navigation system w/voice activation - Optional DVD navigation system w/voice activation - Optional DVD navigation system w/voice activation
Turning Circle 39 ft. 37.5 ft. 36.1 ft. 37.4 ft. 39.7 ft.
Max. Cargo Capacity 16 cu. ft. 14 cu. ft. 15 cu. ft. 13 cu. ft. 13 cu. ft.
EPA Mileage Estimates A6 5 Series M35 GS 300 RL
City 19 mpg. 20 mpg. 17 mpg. 21 mpg. 18 mpg.
Highway 26 mpg. 30 mpg. 24 mpg. 27 mpg. 26 mpg.
Fuel Type regular unleaded premium unleaded premium unleaded premium unleaded regular unleaded
Exterior A6 5 Series M35 GS 300 RL
Length 193.5 in. 190.6 in. 192.6 in. 190 in. 193.6 in.
Width 71.3 in. 72.7 in. 70.8 in. 71.7 in. 72.7 in.
Height 57.5 in. 58 in. 60 in. 56.5 in. 57.1 in.
Weight 3957 lbs. 3472 lbs. 4004 lbs. 3759 lbs. 3984 lbs.
Wheel Base 111.9 in. 113.7 in. 114.2 in. 112.2 in. 110.2 in.
Ground Clearance 4.6 in. Being Researched 5.5 in. 5.5 in. 5.7 in.
Interior A6 5 Series M35 GS 300 RL
Front Headroom 38.7 in. 37.7 in. 39.6 in. 38.8 in. 38.5 in.
Rear Headroom 37.8 in. 37.9 in. 37.8 in. 37 in. 37.2 in.
Front Shoulder Room 57.1 in. 57.3 in. 58.2 in. 56.3 in. 58.5 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 55.9 in. 57.2 in. 56.9 in. 55.1 in. 56.1 in.
Front Hip Room     55.1 in. 54.4 in. 55.1 in.
Rear Hip Room     53.9 in. 51.4 in. 54 in.
Front Leg Room 41.3 in. 41.5 in. 44.2 in. 43.5 in. 42.4 in.
Rear Leg Room 36.9 in. 36 in. 37.3 in. 36.4 in. 36.3 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 15.9 cu.ft. 14 cu.ft. 14.9 cu.ft. 12.7 cu.ft. 13.1 cu.ft.



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