Emma Jayne Williams

Audi’s A6 sedan gets some styling updates for 2017, along with new Competition trim

The Audi A6 has received some styling updates for 2017, and a new Competition 3.0T trim level.
The Audi A6 has received some styling updates for 2017, and a new Competition 3.0T trim level.

Audi’s midsize luxury sedan, the A6, has a few subtle styling changes for 2017 and a new, sporty 3.0T Competition model.

Four other trim levels are available: 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Premium Plus, and 3.0T Prestige.

Prices range from $47,600 to $67,600, with either a turbocharged 2.0-liter 252-horsepower four-cylinder or a supercharged 3.0-liter 333-horsepower V-6 engine, depending on trim chosen.

The A6 also features a stop-start system, which shuts down the engine when the car comes to a halt, and starts again when the brake is released. Also, an energy recovery system feeds energy back to the vehicle’s electrical system during deceleration to help improve fuel efficiency.

A seven-speed automated manual transmission with front wheel drive is standard, with an eight-speed conventional automatic standard on A6 models fitted with “quattro” permanent all-wheel drive.

The S tronic automated manual combines sporty manual characteristics with automatic advantages. The Tiptronic conventional automatic completes gearshifts with a minimum of interruption in power flow, for outstanding drivability, and also allows the driver to override automatic mode for manual downshifting. A sport mode has later shift points for a more-sporty driving style.

My A6 was a 2.0 Premium Quattro ($49,800) upgraded to Premium Plus with a $4,000 package. The package added Audi MMI (Multi-Media Interface) Navigation with MMI Touch (recognizes handwriting), Google Earth integration, Google-powered search functions, AT&T based 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (can handle up to eight devices), and voice recognition; seven-inch color driver-information system; Audi Connect with online services (trial subscription); Audi advanced key (remote start/stop/enter); auto-dimming, heated, power-folding/adjustable exterior mirrors; Audi side assist, Pre-Sense Rear; Audi music interface with USB inputs; Audi smartphone interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; Bluetooth audio streaming; power-adjustable steering column with memory; four-zone automatic climate control; and Bose Surround Sound System with 14 speakers, AudioPilot noise compensation and 630 watts.

Side Assist monitors traffic in the driver’s blind spot, warning of vehicles approaching from behind by blinking LED signal lights integrated into the side mirrors, to help the driver avoid a collision while changing lanes. A vehicle approaching rapidly from behind activates continuous LED lights in the appropriate side mirror.

Working with Side Assist, Pre-Sense Rear detects the probability of a rear-end collision, flashes the brake lights to warn the approaching vehicle, tightens the seatbelts, closes the windows and sunroof, and adjusts the seats, head restraints, upper back rests and side bolsters. If a collision doesn’t occur, previous settings are resumed.

Standard equipment included Audi Drive Select, with adjustable modes for steering, gas pedal and transmission response, for driving characteristics ranging from extremely comfortable to seriously sporty, using a button on the center console. Settings include Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic.

Also standard are automatic xenon headlights; LED running lights, taillights, and rear fog lights; automatic wipers with rain and light sensors (automatically controls wipers and headlights, depending on the amount of rain sensed on the windshield and the amount of ambient light) and heated washer nozzles; power sunroof; front and rear parking sensors, rearview camera; and heated eight-way power front seats with driver four-way lumbar and memory settings.

Leather upholstery is included, along with 60/40 split/folding rear seatbacks with pass-through Bluetooth phone connectivity; Audi MMI electronics interface (upgraded with the Premium Plus package); CD/DVD player; SiriusXM All Access (trial subscription), and Audi’s proprietary music interface with an iPhone Lightning adaptor cable.

The PreSense Basic safety system was also standard. If sensors detect an impending collision, PreSense prepares the vehicle for impact, by closing side windows and the sunroof, pretensioning the front seat belts, and preparing the braking system for a quicker response.

My A6 came with the S-line exterior, with special details including larger alloy wheels; a lower, sportier suspension; a sport body kit; and updated, posher LED lights – front and rear.

S-line is easy to identify on the road, thanks to the small red and silver badge affixed to the front quarter panel. What can’t be seen are the S-line sill plates with the same red “S.”

More-aggressive body panels with large air vents and deep side skirts give the S-line a powerful look. The larger wheels fill the wheel arches better – all for a more eye-catching look.

A Sport package ($1,050) included 19-inch silver painted Audi Sport 10-spoke wheels with all-season tires. Sport suspension and black cloth headliner.

A deeply creased character line ran from the taillights to the headlights, and chrome outlined the side windows, the large front vents, the grille, the grille blades, the door handles, and the edge of the trunk lid.

My A6 was a deep Mythos Black metallic ($575) with Atlas Beige interior. The A6 is available in 11 special exterior colors for $575 extra – Silver Metallic, Tornado Gray metallic, Havanna Black metallic, and Java Brown to name a few – plus several customized paint finishes for $3,900 each.

Interior colors include Flint Gray Nougat Brown, and Black. Decorative inlays include Dark Brown Walnut, Achat Gray Fine Grain Birch Wood, and Layered Walnut Wood for $500 (mine).

The interior had excellent materials, an attractive dash layout, and a solid fit and finish – the very definition of luxury. The infotainment system was packed with functions and features, with a dash-mounted pop-up screen, logical menus and beautiful, crisp graphics. The stand-out feature was the touchpad with handwriting recognition. Google Earth is a nice aesthetic feature, sometimes helpful in locating a specific structure, but it often obscured map details such as road names. The feature can be turned off is desired.

Sport seats were supportive and comfortable, and the back seat had lots of legroom – 37.4 inches. With 14.1 cubic feet, the trunk is a little below segment average, but more than adequate for weekly groceries or luggage for a weekend getaway. The folding seatbacks and pass-through provided a little extra room for larger items.

Safety was addressed with advanced single-stage adaptive front driver’s air bag, advanced two-stage adaptive frontal passenger’s air bag; seat mounted front side air bags; Sideguard side-curtain air bags for both rows; side-impact protection; front and rear body crumple zones; and LATCH child-seat tethers in the rear.

My A6 was fun to drive, roomy, and EPA rated at 22 mpg city32 highway/26 combined. With about 50/50 city and highway, and some idling to warm up on chilly mornings, I managed 18 mpg.

With $950 destination charges and $6,125 in options added to the $49,800 base price, my A6 delivered for $56,875.

The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at emmajayne1948@gmail.com.