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2006 Audi A6 Mid-Size Luxury Sedan

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

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

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

MSRP As Tested: $52,720

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.

Standard 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.

I used to think modern electronics were assembled with tight tolerances. Then I sat in this car.

To test just how well the interior bits fit together in Audi's all-new A6 -- a car previously recognized as having one of the best interiors money can buy -- I compared my fancy cell phone to the various buttons, switches and pieces of trim in the A6's cabin. The car won in every way.

While an average cell phone has lots of itty-bitty buttons that fit almost perfectly to keep pocket lint and other crud from entering the phone, the pieces inside this Audi fit together even tighter. I couldn't even slide my fingernail inside most of the perfectly aligned gaps in the car, but the cell phone, on closer inspection, looked like it was assembled by a kindergarten class.

It's an incredible cabin with a level of detail I've never seen before -- not even in $100,000-plus superluxury cars I've tested.


  • It has precisely cut wood trim that's surrounded by a tiny, perfectly straight band of chrome that's so small you hardly notice it's there.

  • It has tight-fitting, soft-touch materials that envelop virtually everything that's not made of wood and chrome.

  • It even has subtle accent lights hidden under the footwells and along the door armrests.

It's the kind of car you don't want to leave the tiniest speck of trash inside because it looks so perfect. It's beautiful in every way, inside and out.

In fact, I could find very little to fault in this car after a week behind the wheel. There are only two minor troubles: the brakes feel "grabby," which isn't a problem once you get used to it, and the opening for the trunk is a tad too small.

Yeah, I know. Big whoop.

Everything else about the A6 is absolutely perfect, from its sexy new body to its velvety engine and transmission.

From behind the wheel, this car feels exactly like you'd expect from a high-end German luxury sedan and drives at least as well as its main competitors: the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E Class.

Even compared to those German stalwarts, the A6 is very stable and composed in corners thanks to its optional all-wheel drive system and high-tech, carefully tuned suspension. While it feels almost sports-car-like in corners, with virtually no body roll through tight turns, it also soaks up the bumps and potholes for a silky highway ride. It's a good combination of performance and comfort.

The engine-transmission combination is also smooth as a chocolate milkshake, especially with Audi's 3.2-liter V6 engine that uses Le Mans-winning technology. Called the 3.2 FSI, this engine injects gasoline directly into the combustion chamber for faster response and better fuel economy. It makes 255 horsepower and gets 29 miles per gallon on the highway in two-wheel-drive models, according to the EPA.

For even better performance, an optional 4.2-liter V8 makes 355 horsepower.

The V6 car starts at $40,820, while the V8 model, which comes with a higher level of standard features, starts at $53,770.

Both models address the major problem of the previous A6: its size. This new version is 3.3 inches longer and slightly wider than the '05 car, setting it up for head-to-head competition with BMW and Mercedes.

And this Audi is definitely ready for a fight.

Pros: Last year's A6 was a great car, but this one is unbelievable. Its interior is assembled so precisely it makes a cell phone look sloppy, and a new 3.2-liter V6 uses Le Mans-winning technology to deliver impressive performance and good fuel economy. It's gorgeous on the outside, too.

Cons: The brakes feel "grabby" at first, and the big trunk has an opening that's too small for bulky cargo. Some drivers may also be turned off by the high-tech interface that uses one knob to control everything from the radio to the trip computer.

Ratings (1-10)

  • Style: 10
  • Performance:9
  • Price: 7
  • Handling: 9
  • Ride: 9
  • Comfort: 8
  • Quality: 10
  • Overall: 9

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