Audi's previous A6 was a real looker, but
the all-new 2006 model is even better. A huge grille gives it a style
like no other car on the road, and the overall look is both
sophisticated and athletic - exactly like the car itself.
Every piece in the A6's cabin feels like it
was fitted by an expert jeweler. High-quality materials and outstanding
construction prove that Audi is still making some of the best car
interiors in the world.
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 a kindergarten class assembled it.
It's an incredible cabin with a level of
detail I've never seen before - not even in $100,000-plus super luxury
cars I've tested. Consider:
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 foot wells 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 the 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
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.
What was tested? The 2006 Audi A6 3.2
Quattro ($43,970). Options: Sunroof package ($1,450), premium package
($2,500), technology package ($3,800), premium leather ($1,000). Price
as tested: $52,720
Why buy it?
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
Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
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A6 does the 'Tighten Up'
2006 Audi A6 3.2 Quattro
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