All A6 models now have standard curtain-type airbags, and Audi stretches its warranty of the entire vehicle by one year to four years/50,000 miles, including scheduled maintenance.
The A6 is the midpriced model in Audis lineup, and it returns in sedan and wagon (called Avant) styling with a choice of front-wheel drive or Quattro permanently engaged all-wheel drive. Audi is the luxury division of Volkswagen, and about 80 percent of Audis U.S. sales are Quattro models.
Curtain airbags that deploy along the side windows in side collisions are a new standard feature on the A6 2.8 and 2.7T models, instead of as an option in previous model years. They already were standard on the top-shelf A6 4.2.
The Electronic Stabilization Program, a lateral-skid control system, is a new standard feature on the 2.7T and 4.2 sedans and optional on the 2.8 sedan. Steering-wheel controls for the audio system and a cellular telephone are now standard on the 4.2 sedan and optional on the others.
The A6s smooth, flowing shape was introduced for the 1998 model year. Revamped front styling with a longer hood debuted last year to accommodate a new V-8 engine. At 192 inches overall, the A6 is the same size as the Acura 3.2TL and slightly longer than the Lexus ES 300.
The elegant, luxurious interior provides ample room for five adults, and all are treated to leather-trimmed seats. Wood trim on the doors, center console and dashboard add touches of warmth. The dashboard has attractive white-on-black gauges, but Audi uses red instrument lighting that some find too harsh on the eyes.
Audi says the A6s trunk holds 15.4 cubic feet of cargo, which is unexceptional, but it looks much larger than that. The cargo floor is wide and goes well forward, and the trunk opening is large enough to easily load bulky items. The rear seatback folds for additional space.
One of the A6s coolest features is the Warm Weather Package, which includes a solar sunroof that activates interior fans when the car is parked in the sun.
Under the Hood
Audi uses engine size to designate models. The A6 2.8 uses a 2.8-liter V-6 with 200 horsepower. The A6 2.7T has a 2.7-liter V-6 with dual turbochargers and 250 hp, and the A6 4.2 has a 4.2-liter V-8 with 300 hp the same engine used in the A8 sedan.
Safety features are abundant. Besides the required front airbags, all models have side-impact airbags for the front seats and curtain airbags that protect the heads and upper bodies of all outboard passengers. Side airbags for the rear seats are optional. Antilock brakes also are standard.