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2006 Audi A6 Mid-Size Luxury Sedan

New Car Review of the 2006 Audi A6 Mid-Size Luxury Sedan

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Base MSRP Range: $43,970 - $53,770

Base Invoice Range: $40,641 - $49,559

MSRP As Tested: Not Available.

Versions: Quattro, Avant.

Vehicle Category: Mid-Size Luxury Sedan

Engine Location: Front Engine

Drive Wheels: Front-Wheel Drive, All-Wheel Drive.

Standard Engine: 3.2-liter, Dual Overhead Cam, 12-valves, V-6, 255 - horsepower at 6500 rpm and 243 lb-ft torque at 3250 rpm.

Optional Engine Engine: 3.8-liter, Dual Overhead Cam, 24-valves, V-8, 335 -horsepower at 6600 rpm and 310 lb-ft torque at 3500 rpm.

Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 17/26.

Transmission: Six-speed automatic , Six-speed automatic with Tiptronic .

Standard Safety Features: Driver and passenger airbags, Front side airbags, Curtain side airbags, 4-wheel disc brakes, Brake assist, Antiskid system, Front and rear active head restraints, Tire-pressure monitor, Rear-obstacle-detection system, Emergency inside trunk release.

Competition: Acura RL, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti M, Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

In the grand tradition of German cars, Audi is always pushing the envelope for style, ride and technology, almost always resulting in a very good product. The 2006 Audi A6 is no exception, adding a more aggressive grille and improving on an already luxurious interior. The addition of the Avant wagon this year will expand its popularity.

The only hang-up on the A6 is the same hang-up many newer luxury cars have: trying to minimize dials for a cleaner dash, they’ve increased the difficulty of operation. It is noteworthy to mention that BMW’s iDrive is much, much more complicated than Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI), which is included in all A6 models and combines many of the car’s controls into one. After a few at-rest practice lessons, it becomes easier to operate, but honestly, simple controls are not only safer but also more convenient. That having been said, it’s one of the few drawbacks in an, otherwise, highly recommended vehicle.

Audi offers three versions this year: The 255-horsepower 3.2-liter V6 sedan, the 335-pony 4.2-liter V8 sedan, and the Avant wagon (also with a 3.2-liter engine.) Returning is Audi’s trademark Quattro all-wheel-drive system, optional on the 3.2-liter sedan, but standard on the 4.2, and the Avant.

It’s a car (and brand) that’s often overlooked in a red-hot market where Lexus and BMW tower over the rest. Audi doesn’t do a very good job of promoting itself to the general public, but it should - after all, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is more expensive and offers a less refined interior than the A6.


Audi hasn’t lost its distinctive exterior look this year, with a grille that sticks out - but in the best of ways. The trapezoidal grille compliments the aerodynamic ellipsoid projector headlights (which have variable focus reflectors, integrated low and high beam tubes and polycarbonate covers.) It is sporty and elegant at the same time. The V8 gets bi-xenon, steering-linked, adaptive headlights have automatic self-leveling, and are optional on the 3.2-liter.

The aluminum trim rimming that appears on the nose continues to the side windows, tops of the door handles, and sills. A chrome strip across the trunk finishes the look, complimenting the two rear (and two front) fog lamps. In the back, also find a rear wiper for the Avant (which also gets roof rails.) All models get rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers up front, with power outside folding and dimming mirrors.

All this rides on 225/55HR tires and 16-inch alloy rims on the front wheel drive 3.2-liter version. All-wheel-drive adds 245/45HR tires and 17-inch rims, which come standard on the 4.2-liter V8. 18-inch polished alloy rims can be added to either model for $900 to $1,200 (depending on whether it’s the 3.2-liter and FWD or AWD).


Fabulous interiors are an Audi constant at this stage of the game. The A6 interior is no different, jam-packed with almost every feature imaginable standard, and there are still lots of options to choose from.

Depending on personal preference (and tech-knowledge), the MMI system is a good or a bad thing. Sure, it clears up some dash space for a more streamlined look, but looks can be deceiving. Younger drivers may have less of a problem operating this system that integrates many dials and controls into one. We’re torn - the look is better but it takes a while to learn to navigate through the MMI’s prompts.

Connected to the MMI is the DSP 10-speaker sound system with AM/FM radio, 6-CD changer (disappointingly, in the glove box and far out of reach during driving). It’s also Bluetooth and satellite radio-ready. Move up to the V8 and get a Bose Surround Sound system with the AudioPilot noise compensation feature.

Enjoy all of that great sound from the 12-way power front bucket seats with lumbar adjustment, with leather seating in all positions. The 4.2-liter V8 boasts even better seats, with Volterra Leather that is also found in door panel inserts (this is optional on the 3.2-liter). The leather on both models continues to the shift knob and steering wheel, which also has radio controls attached. The Avant wagon adds heated seats to the list of standard features.

The luxury continues with wood interior trim and a general ambiance that not only looks great by itself, but compliments the exterior well. Technology meets that luxury in the electronic cruise control with coast, resume and acceleration features, as well as the dual-zone automatic air conditioning with charcoal air filter.

Luxury meets convenience in the power one-touch up/down windows, heated power mirrors, power door locks and power sunroof (in the wagon). These are standard on all models, as are split-folding rear seats, a digital clock, outside temperature indicator, and front and rear center consoles with cupholders.

Lighting inside is great, with illuminated visor mirrors, glove box, map lights, trunk, lighter and ashtray. There are also lights in the headliner and foot well, which fade in and out and have a time-delay feature so that they stay on after the key has been removed from the ignition. Those who have this feature in their current cars, or have driven in a car with this feature, know how convenient it is to have. Also convenient is the remote keyless entry.

The V8 A6 adds power tilt-telescopic steering wheel (the V6 is manual), and brings heated seats as standard. A memory system holds the positions of the driver seat and mirrors for up to two people. A power sunroof is also included in the V8, along with the great feature of automatic day/night outside and rearview mirrors. And because you’d probably prefer not to keep your $60,000-plus purchase out in the rain, a universal garage-door opener is included. Add a navigation system, adaptive cruise control, upgraded leather, satellite radio, heated steering wheel, shift paddles or a solar sunroof for an extra charge.


Like BMW and Mercedes, Audi doesn’t scrimp on performance features. Even the base model 3.2-liter is exquisite, with 255 horsepower (at 6,500 rpm) and 243 lb.-ft. or torque (at 3,250 rpm). That power comes from a dual overhead cam (DOHC) V6 and FSI direct fuel injection that includes variable intake valve timing and intake manifold.

All of this combines for a 7.1-second 0-60 mph and a top track speed to 130 mph (estimated.) The 3.2-liter’s transmission is Audi’s Multitronic continuously variable automatic with manual shift capabilities and FronTrak front-wheel-drive; a 6-speed TipTronic automatic transmission (also with manual-shift capabilities) with Quattro all-wheel-drive is optional (but standard on the 4.2-liter).

Fuel economy comes in at about 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway for the TipTronic-equipped A6’s, slightly more for the base model.

The 4.2-liter V8 gives a substantial increase in the amount of horsepower and torque (up to 335 horses at 6,500 rpm and 310 lb.-ft. torque at 3,500 rpm). Also a DOHC, the V8 has five valves per cylinder, variable intake valve timing and intake manifold. The 6-speed TipTronic transmission is standard, as is the Quattro all-wheel-drive. The 4.2-liter has an estimated 0 to 60 time of 6.0 seconds, and logs fair fuel economy with 17 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway.

Both engines have traction control, and a front suspension that features 4-link upper and lower control arms, front stabilize bar and separate coil springs/shock absorbers that are gas-charged. In the rear, the suspension is fully independent trapezoidal-link, also with a stabilizer bar and gas-charged separate coil springs/shock absorbers. Adaptive air suspension can be had on the 4.3-liter for an extra $2,300.


And it’s $2300 well spent in our book. Variable in height by a full two inches, the Adaptive Air Suspension system can automatically adjust the ride height - in real time - for each wheel, according to road conditions sensed by special sensors. It also automatically alters the suspension system’s dynamics, also according to road conditions. The driver can even override the auto-system according to her own personal tastes.

But if $2,300 isn’t worth that to you, rest assured that even without it, the A6 still offers a classy ride and aggressive acceleration. The Servotronic® vehicle speed-sensitive power steering maximizes efficiency in each subtle turn of the wheel. The Electronic Stabilization program (ESP 8.0) keeps things level, and is also standard.

As for the ride these features provide, it’s everything you would expect from a luxury car. Smooth, with almost no wind noise of float over bumps on the highway. The wagon provides more interior space for jostling noises to occur, but it’s still relatively quiet.


Audi isn’t quiet, however, about the safety features it provides as standard on every A6. All sit on a fully galvanized steel unibody construction with multi-step, anti-corrosion protection.

All A6’s also have antilock four-wheel disc brakes with vacuum power assist, electronic brake pressure distribution (EBD) and hydraulic brake assist. An antiskid system will keep the car going in the right direction, even in rainy or icy conditions.

Inside, find dual-stage, dual-threshold airbags in the front, along with front side airbags and curtain side airbags. Rear side airbags can be had for around $300 more. The power central locking system will unlock all doors automatically if airbags deploy, a convenient feature in an emergency situation.

Also part of the supplemental restraint system is the three-point safety belts found in all five seating positions. The front belts have automatic pretension, height-adjustable upper mounts and force limiters; the rear belts have pretensioners, as well as head rests for all three passengers. Up front, the head restraints boast an Active Head Restraint system, which push up and forward in the event of a collision, cradling the occupants’ head and helping prevent serious whiplash-like injuries.

The inside tire pressure monitor system lets the drive know if a tire is low; and should a tire go flat, just call the Audi 24-hour Roadside Assistance line (standard for the first four years after the car is bought.)

Those who sometimes struggle when backing up their vehicle will delight in the rear-obstacle detection system. Those with young children will like the Lower Anchorage and Tethers for Children (LATCH system) in the rear, which keeps child seats in the proper position. Also included are child safety locks and window locks in the rear doors. There’s even a First Aid kit located in the rear center armrest, and an emergency inside trunk release.

The only feature that 4.2-liter adds, is daytime running lights.


Final verdict? Audi’s A6 is quite a tantalizing choice. With a great, plush interior and an amazing all-round driving experience, it’s on the wish lists for thousands of driving enthusiasts.

The hold-up? The price. At about $60,000 on average, it asks for too much cash without having a more established name like Lexus, BMW or Mercedes-Benz that would help qualify its hefty price.

A four-year, 50,000-mile warranty is included on all Audis, and the A6 has four years of 24-hour Roadside Assistance free. In California and the Northeast, expect to have a $150 emissions cost added onto the price. But if you’re paying 60G’s already, what’s the big deal with a couple hundred extra?

Ratings (1-10)

  • Style: 8
  • Performance: 8
  • Price: 7
  • Handling: 8
  • Ride: 9
  • Comfort: 9
  • Quality: 9
  • Overall: 8

More Data

Where Built: Germany

Major Options: Premium package, Sunroof package, Technology package, Cold Weather package. Rear side airbags, Navigation system, Adaptive cruise control, Upgraded leather upholstery, Front sport seats, Power liftgate, Satellite radio, Wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel, Heated steering wheel, Power rear sunshade, Manual side sunshades, Solar sunroof, Adaptive air suspension, Polished alloy wheels.

Seating: 5.

Number of Rows: 2.

Length in Inches: 193.3 - 194.2

Warranties: 3 years/36,000 miles Bumper to bumper, 5 years / 100,000 miles Corrosion, 3 years / 36,000 miles Free roadside assistance, 4 years / 50,000 miles Free scheduled maintenance.

Weight in Pounds: 3957 lbs - 4167 lbs.

Cargo Capacity in Pounds: Not Available.

Gross Maximum Vehicle Weight in Pounds: Not Available.

Towing Capacity in Pounds: Not Available.

Gas Tank Capacity in Gallons: 21.1

Destination Charge: $720