2016 Audi A6 3.0T Review (With Video)

Alex L. Dykes
by Alex L. Dykes
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Fast Facts

2016 Audi A6 3.0T Prestige

3-liter DOHC V-6, supercharged (333 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm;
325 pounds-feed @ 2,900-5,300 rpm) 8-speed ZF Automatic, Quattro AWD 20 city / 30 highway / 24 combined (EPA Rating, MPG) 21.5 (Observed, MPG)
Tested Options: Black optics package, S-line package, Cold weather package, Rear side airbags
Base Price
$62,525* As Tested: $66,675* * Prices include $925 destination charge.
2016 audi a6 3 0t review with video

Audi is a brand associated with all-wheel drive, well-fitted interiors and design evolution that requires you to park a new model next to an old one to tell what has been changed. The 2016 A6 doesn’t diverge much from this formula despite being a thorough refresh of the outgoing A6.

This Audi plays in the crowded midsize luxury pool with competition coming from every angle. The big boys are, of course, the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but 2016 also brings an all-new and all-aluminum Jaguar XF. We also have Cadillac’s latest CTS, a Maserati Ghibli for those that want something less reliable than a Jag, the Lexus GS and Infiniti Q70 from the land of the rising sun and the Koreans have the Genesis — and that’s before we start including the more distant competition from Volvo, Acura, Lincoln, etc. The last A6 was a midsized luxury unicorn, because not even Nissan thought they could sell a front-wheel drive luxury car in America with a CVT. As it turns out, not even Audi could defend the CVT in a luxury entry, so 2016 sees the end of Audi’s dalliance with the cogless tranny. Fear not folks, the A6 is still the odd German out since the base model is still front-wheel drive.


The A6 is the farm girl in this segment with simple, wholesome lines that look refined and restrained. In a sea of aggressive and distinctive vehicle styles, the simple lines on the A6 are refreshing. Sure, Audi’s enormous grille has become a little meaner and the headlamps have gained a touch of “Angry Birds,” but the sheetmetal doesn’t seem to create same kind of polarizing reactions as Lexus’ F-Sport models.

Since 2016 is just a refresh, the A6 hasn’t gained any ground dimensionally compared to its predecessor. For Audi that’s not a problem since the A6 is already one of the larger entries in this category. Folks looking to upgrade from their CamCord should know that although the A6 is only a hair larger than Honda and Toyota’s midsize sedans, Audi’s long hood means you’ll find less room on the inside than the plebeian people haulers.


Fit and finish in our tester was generally excellent, however the optional heads-up display looks distinctly out of place. Unlike most luxury cars that use a slightly different dashboard design when HUD is equipped, Audi tacks on a very large “donut” on top of the gauge binnacle to house the projection unit. The result is a look that is less polished than the Cadillac or BMW. Since the HUD doesn’t provide quite as much information as the 5-Series’ display, it’s a $900 option I’d skip. The other area where you can see the A6’s age is in the overall design that doesn’t mimic the new A4 or A8. You also won’t find the latest in luxury interior options at any price such as a stitched leather dash like you find in the 5-Series (or even the Volvo.)

The front seats are among the best in the category, and leather upholstery is standard unlike many luxury brands that are equipping more and more cars with pleather. Rear seat headroom is generous thanks to the upright exterior profile and you’ll find two inches more legroom in the back than the E or 5. Of course, if rear passenger accommodations are your thing, the larger Genesis offers yet more room and the drivetrain packaging of the RLX expands things even further.


Audi’s MMI infotainment system has received a major overhaul for 2016 with new hardware and a faster graphics processor. The new hardware allows for smoother animation and screen changes, but we still don’t find expanded voice commands for USB/iDevice media library control like you find in the Lexus, Cadillac and Acura. The refreshed software adds support for a few new Internet-connected features such as INRIX traffic information as well as Apple Siri Eyes Free support. Sadly CarPlay and Android Auto were not along for the ride. On the hardware level, there’s a new LTE cell modem for faster downloads and an integrated WiFi hotspot.

The 8-inch LCD that is the heart of the system remains unchanged, and is still sporting a standard aspect ratio rather than the widescreen format preferred by BMW. Nestled between the speedometer and tachometer is an optional 7-inch LCD with an expanded feature set that includes a full navigation display with moving 3-D map and topographical information. Perhaps the most important change for 2016 may be the simplest: Audi finally ditched their proprietary media interface cable. Lifting the center armrest reveals two regular USB ports and you can now connect your device with any old cable you have lying around.


Base models get a revised 2-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine bumping power from 220 to 252 horsepower and torque from 258 to 273 pounds-feet. In addition to the increase in oomph, the fun-sucking CVT has been replaced with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (related to 7-speed DCT in the S6) that sends power to the front wheels. If you want AWD, Audi swaps the DCT for a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic. This strikes me as an odd choice when obviously the DCT in the S6 is Quattro compatible. The model we tested uses a refreshed 3-liter, supercharged V-6 that now cranks out 333 horsepower and 325 pounds-feet of torque. If you feel the need for speed, the S6’s 4-liter, turbocharged V-8 has been tweaked as well, now making 450 horsepower and 406 pounds-feet of torque, and it’s still mated to a 7-speed DCT. The only engine left untouched is the 3-liter V-6 turbocharged diesel that is still rated for 240 horsepower and 428 pounds-feet. As of this review, this diesel is untouched by the VW/Audi dieselgate drama.

The front-wheel drive A6 is unique — more than usual — since it still uses a longitudinal engine layout rather than the transverse design more common in FWD cars. This orientation is a byproduct of Audi’s Quattro design and their desire to reduce curb weight since the FWD 2.0T should be a little lighter than a RWD variant of the same model.

But we’re here to talk about the 3.0T, which has standard AWD. Audi’s Quattro integrates the center and front differentials into the case of the ZF 8-speed transmission, and places the entire engine in front of the front axle. This engine placement means that the A6 carries a greater percentage of its weight on the front wheels than essentially every RWD competitor. However, don’t confuse a front-heavy weight distribution with a front wheel drive power bias. The A6 may be “nose heavy” but the majority of the power is actually sent to the rear wheels. This is what separates the A6 from Lincoln or Volvo AWD systems that can never send more than 50 percent of the power to the rear axle unless there is wheel slip.


The A6 may carry more weight up front than a 535i xDrive or a Mercedes E400 4Matic, but in reality it doesn’t handle that differently until 9/10ths. Let’s be honest, the average buyer of a $65,000 luxury sedan will rarely find themselves at 9/10ths. However, should you end up there, the A6’s front end will display a reluctance to turn that you won’t find in the more neutrally balanced rear wheel drive competition. On the flip side, the A6 won’t handle that different from the increasingly popular AWD competition.

At 4,178 pounds, the A6 is about 400 pounds heavier than the Jaguar XF, 200 pounds heavier than a CTS VSport, but is actually a hair lighter than the BMW 535i xDrive. Curb weight is critical when it comes to handling, so it should be no surprise that the well-tuned suspensions and lighter curb weights in the Jaguar and Cadillac give them the edge when it comes to handling ability and feel (when equipped comparably.) What may be a surprise is just how close the A6 3.0T and 535i xDrive really are in terms of ability and feel. That’s due as much to Audi’s constant refinement of their steering and suspension systems (and the addition of wide tires) as BMW’s 5-Series getting heavier and more isolated with every revision.

The 2016 power bump is appreciated and noticeable and allows the A6 3.0T Quattro to scoot to 60 just 8/100ths slower than the last two wheel drive 535i I tested and the Audi actually clocked 1 mph better in the 1/4 mile. Interestingly, the 0-30 time of 2.14 seconds was notably slower than the 1.9 seconds I clocked in the 535 despite the fact that generally superchargers improve low-end torque. The steering is numb, but accurate, and slightly heavy in corners. Despite the curb weight, our 60-0 braking test measured an impressive 112 feet thanks to the optional 255 width rubber.

Audi’s final sales proposition has long been its price. Starting at $46,200, the A6 is one of the least-expensive sedans in this category — actually undercutting the GS 350 by $2,400 and the RLX by an eye-watering $8,250. Indeed, just the Cadillac CTS and Volvo S80 are less expensive. That said, the A6 2.0T isn’t the best deal anymore. The base CTS may have an old 6-speed automatic, but it’s heaps more fun than the FWD Audi. The Volvo’s dynamics aren’t any worse than the Audi in FWD form and Volvo tosses in more goodies for the same price with a dollop of increased fuel economy.

Jump to our 3.0T tester and things improve. At $57,400, the A6 undercuts a comparable 535i by $1,000, the E400 by nearly $6,000 and it’s just a few hundred more than a comparably equipped (but slower) CTS 3.6 AWD. Unfortunately for Audi, Jaguar’s new XF has been priced very aggressively and not only out-handles and out-accelerates the A6, but it undercuts the Audi by nearly $3,000 even when equipped with AWD. Jag’s new midsized sedan also beats Audi at the simple good looks game as well.

The A6’s 2016 refresh keeps the Audi in the lead of the German pack, slotting above the 535i xDrive and E400 4Matic where it counts. The Audi is less expensive, feels more fun to drive on your daily commute and flies just under the radar. The A6 is also attractive alternative to the well-priced GS 350 delivering a more premium experience and better performance than the Lexus. It goes without saying that you’d have to be insane to buy an Acura RLX over the Audi. Where the A6 stumbles however is when it is pitted against the less mainstream competition. The XF is a better deal, it’s faster and it handles better. The Genesis gives you V8 power, RWD dynamics and a longer warranty for less and Cadillac’s CTS is the naturally aspirated 5-series you have fond memories about. If my cash was on the line, I’d probably gamble on that new XF, but Audi’s second place isn’t a bad place to be.

Audi provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.14 Seconds

0-60: 5.38 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 13.9 Seconds @ 102 MPH

Alex L. Dykes
Alex L. Dykes

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6 of 59 comments
  • Mjal Mjal on Oct 12, 2015

    So, CoreyDL says Caddy and Acura can't be considered with Audi because of their "brand issues" ? So I guess we can completely separate Audi from VW and what's happened over the past few weeks?

    • See 1 previous
    • Hreardon Hreardon on Oct 13, 2015

      I'll add to this: within a year this scandal will be forgotten, just like the Honda airbags, the Toyota acceleration, Jeep exploding gasoline tanks, Chevy ignition locks, Ford Explorer Firestone tires, etc., etc., etc. The mass market doesn't really correlate brand ownership.

  • Mjal Mjal on Oct 13, 2015

    CoreyDL: You didn't state "long standing brand issues" in your post, you said Caddy & Acura had brand issues. Only a fool would say Audi is not suffering some kind of brand issues right now given Audi & VW share certain mechanical components, namely their smaller diesel engines. So, foot traffic has not slowed at all at a typical Audi dealership over this scandal?

    • See 1 previous
    • Dave M. Dave M. on Oct 20, 2015

      Slowed? Possibly. Permanently? I doubt it. VW has been tagged with this because they're The Peoples Car and hip every 20 years or so. Audi is Audi, and not a big TDI seller...

  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.
  • Stuki Moi "How do you take a small crossover and make it better?Slap the AMG badge on it and give it the AMG treatment."No, you don't.In fact, that is specifically what you do NOT do.Huge, frail wheels, and postage stamp sidewalls, do nothing but make overly tall cuvs tramline and judder. And render them even less useful across the few surfaces where they could conceivably have an advantage over more properly dimensioned cars. And: Small cuvs have pitiful enough fuel range as it is, even with more sensible engines.Instead, to make a small CUV better, you 1)make it a lower slung wagon. And only then give it the AMG treatment. AMG'ing, makes sense for the E class. And these days with larger cars, even the C class. For the S class, it never made sense, aside from the sheer aural visceralness of the last NA V8. The E-class is the center of AMG. Even the C-class, rarely touches the M3.Or 2) You give it the Raptor/Baja treatment. Massive, hypersophisticated suspension travel allowing landing meaningful jumps. As well as driving up and down wide enough stairs if desired. That's a kind of driving for which a taller stance, and IFS/IRS, makes sense.Attempting to turn a CUV into some sort of a laptime wonder, makes about as much sense as putting an America's Cup rig atop a ten deck cruiseship.