Exterior Design: *****
Consider the competition: Mercedes-Benz E-Class (too old), BMW 5-Series (too ugly), and Lexus GS (too boring). It's not hard for the A6 to be the best looking car in its segment, but it goes a step further and is just plain good looking. Not an easy feat for a large sedan.
We live in a world where 335 horsepower is not that shocking any more, which means it's a great time to be alive. And taking off in the A6 4.2 is a great place to be alive, but it's lacking the kick-in-the-pants torque or audible engine howl that should go along with such terrific power.
Good initial bite with solid pedal feel. Very little fade. This category brought to you by
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Too stiff to be comfortable, but too soft to be sporty. And the suspension is just plain bad over rough surfaces from 30-50 mph. I suppose it would be great if you live in Germany or California, but anywhere the road isn't perfectly smooth the A6 makes you wonder out loud "shouldn't they have done a better job on this?"
To quote the late Douglas Adams, "Looks like a fish, moves like a fish, steers like a cow." It's as if, Audi engineers arrived at steering feel on par with the Lexus GS and just quit working on it right there.
Six speeds of smoothness, plus sport mode and a choose-your-own-adventure manumatic mode.
The Bose surround sound system and the seven-inch navigation screen make it easy to forget about driving, which is bad but still a testament to the level of entertainment. Too bad the CD changer is over in the glove box instead of integrated into the center console.
All it's missing is a power trunk (I miss you, Passat Wagon). Okay, and cooled and massaging seats. But the keyless ignition — and keyless entry for that matter - is a luxury that's all too easy to get used to. And the A6 has voice recognition and Bluetooth.
The short decklid is deceptive, because this trunk is huge. Unfortunately the short decklid also means that the trunk opening is not analogous to Julia Roberts' mouth.
You are not buying this car for value, there are other A6 models for that. You are buying it because you want people to know that you have lots of money. Value is for suckers when you can drop this much cash on a ride. Just keep telling yourself that and you'll be fine.
This is a very generous four stars, if only because any car this fast and this comfortable is still pretty awesome. But when you consider the price, and that both the BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-class drive better, the A6 doesn't sparkle quite so brightly.
[by Mike Austin]