The 2020 Audi A6 underlines the fact that the premium midsize sedan class is a highly competitive arena — one that involves software as much as hardware, and silicon as much as gasoline. The big German rivals are the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Through these models, cutting-edge driving technologies are being pitted against each other.
For instance, in the new A6, a state-of-the-art infotainment system deploys two touchscreens. The lower one can read handwritten commands, and the system can also be controlled with smartphone-like gestures or by using natural speech.
Naturally, there are plenty of advanced driver aids available as well. Audi has crafted the A6 to appeal to both the luxury crowd and the enthusiast sector with a well-tuned suspension (adaptive dampers are optional) and a gutsy yet smooth V6 engine as part of its mild hybrid drivetrain. This hybridized configuration will no doubt be adopted more and more, and Mercedes-Benz is doing something similar with some of its AMG cars.
The cabin is also broadly attractive, featuring a smart design, quality materials and excellent seats. The exterior, meanwhile, shows off the newest developments in Audi’s design philosophy, which brings an arguably sharper look to replace the well-executed blobs of earlier models.
Finally, an A6 Allroad model to the A6 lineup for 2020, having last been sold in the US for the 2005 model year. Based on the not-for-North America A6 Avant (or ‘wagon’), the Allroad comes with added body cladding and standard air-suspension capable of giving it added ride height for tackling the occasional forest road. Altogether, the A6 Allroad is a welcome addition to the Audi lineup here in the US, as it splits the difference between sedan and SUV quite nicely.
The all-new, high-performance 2020 Audi S6 is reviewed separately.
What’s New for 2020?
The big addition to the A6 lineup for 2020 is the new Allroad model. Basically a long-roof version of the A6 with some body cladding and adjustable ride-height via an air-suspension system, the A6 Allroad offers all of the refinement of the regular A6, plus the added practicality and go-anywhere capability of an SUV.
While the Allroad will be offered strictly with a six-cylinder engine, the regular A6 sedan gains a new 248-horsepower entry level model, dubbed the 45 TSFI. The A6’s inventory of standard equipment is bolstered here by the addition of power-folding/self-dimming/heated side mirrors, high beam assistance, a vehicle immobilizer with motion sensing, an anti-theft alarm system and lane-departure warning.
The mid-level Premium Plus trim receives the Virtual Cockpit, a digital driver information display and a heated steering wheel. This trim is also eligible for the new Executive options package, which includes quad-zone automatic climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, powered trunk lid operation and multi-colored ambient cabin lighting.
The range-topping Prestige trim gains heated rear seats and an array of driver-assist features, such as adaptive cruise control, active lane departure with emergency assistance, intersection assistance and road sign recognition.
The top two trims are also eligible for a Black Optic exterior cosmetics package.
What We Like
- Muscular V6 engine
- Top-class interior materials and design
- Impressive safety equipment
- New Allroad model is a clever SUV alternative
What We Don’t
- There’s a bit of a learning curve with the infotainment system
- Extra body cladding on the A6 Allroad doesn’t make it an off-roader
A6 – $55,895 to $80,000; A6 Allroad – $66,895 to $85,000
The 2020 A6 range starts out with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in the 45 TSFI model. It makes 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fuel consumption is estimated at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving.
The A6 55 TFSI version is propelled by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, producing 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It’s augmented by a 48-volt mild hybrid system with a lithium-ion battery. This helps with fuel efficiency, as it provides the energy for the stop/start function and enables a fuel-saving "coasting" feature. Fuel consumption is relatively impressive at 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.
A 7-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels thanks to standard all-wheel drive.
The new-for-2020 A6 Allroad comes exclusively with the V6 and is rated at 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined by the EPA.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Audi A6 executive midsize sedan comes in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. Both engines are available in any trim level, and the 3.0-liter V6 is an extra $4,900.
The Premium Trim ($55,895) has 19-in alloy wheels, LED headlights with automatic high beams/daytime running lights/tail lights, a panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers and headlights, Audi’s Drive Select system (which features presets for steering, throttle and transmission responses), variable-ratio steering, leather seating surfaces, tri-zone automatic climate control (including separate rear controls), heated 8-way power-adjustable front seats with 4-way driver lumbar adjustment and driver’s-side memory settings, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, a self-dimming rearview mirror, power-folding/self-dimming/heated side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a universal garage door opener, forward collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, an anti-theft system, Audi Connect Plus services (including Wi-Fi), Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, a 10-speaker/180-watt audio system, satellite radio and Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI), which includes dual touchscreens (8.8-in and 8.6-in), navigation, a voice command function and four USB ports.
An optional Convenience package for the Premium trim includes wireless charging, a phone signal booster, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry/ignition, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and Exit Assist, which warns of any approaching hazards while the doors are being opened.
The Premium Plus trim ($59,595) includes the contents of the Convenience package as standard and adds a 10.1-in upper touchscreen, Matrix-design LED headlights with washers, a 360-degree camera system, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Plus with a 12.3-in configurable digital driver information display, traffic information, and a Bang & Olufsen 705-watt/16-speaker audio upgrade.
A new Executive package adds hands-free trunk opening, quad-zone automatic climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and multi-colored ambient cabin lighting.
The Premium Plus trim is also eligible for driver-assist features, including adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist (relieving the driver of some effort during stop/go conditions), active lane-departure with emergency assistance, intersection assistance and road sign recognition.
The Prestige trim ($65,795) includes the Executive bundle and the driver aids as standard. It also brings double-pane glass for greater sound insulation, power-closing doors, high-definition Matrix-design LED headlights, side/rear collision mitigation, heated rear seats and a heads-up display.
These top two trims can also be ordered with the Individual Contour Seating package, which includes heated/ventilated/massaging front seats covered with finer leather upholstery.
Other options include rear-seat-side airbags, sport suspension with 20-in alloy wheels, 21-in alloy wheels, adaptive dampers with rear-wheel steering, a night vision feature with pedestrian and large animal detection, and a Bang & Olufsen 1,820-watt/19-speaker audio setup.
The 2020 Audi A6 Allroad is offered in Premium Plus and Prestige trims.
The A6 Allroad Premium Plus ($66,895) comes with largely the same features offered on the A6 Premium Plus, the main difference being that the Allroad comes with an adjustable air suspension with five different settings and roof rails. While the A6 Prestige comes with HD Matrix-design headlights, the top-spec A6 Allroad Prestige ($71,395) is limited to mid-tier non-HD Matrix lights. The Allroad also gets standard four-zone climate control, while the A6 sedan comes with three-zone climate control on its Premium and Premium Plus trims. Non-allroad Premium Plus models get heated rear seats, which are present only on Allroad Prestige models. Other subtle packaging differences exist as well.
The A6 Allroad Prestige will also launch in a special 20th Anniversary Edition that comes with a Gavial Green metallic exterior color and a brown interior, plus fine grain ash Natural Noble Wood inlays and other subtle trim elements.
Trunk space in the sedan is 13.7 cu ft (Mercedes-Benz E-Class: 13.1; BMW 5 Series: 14.5). The rear seats split and fold (40/20/40) for some extra cargo flexibility. The A6 Allroad offers an impressive 30.0 cu ft of space behind the second row seats. For the sake of comparison, the Q7 comes with 37.5 cu ft.
The 2020 A6 comes with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, and front and rear parking sensors. A Driver Assistance package – standard on the Prestige trim – adds full-speed adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection and exit warning, lane keeping assist and intersection assist. The A6 also comes with eight standard airbags (front, front side, front knee and full-length side curtain). Rear airbags, oddly, are optional.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to put the new A6 through its crash test program. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), however, makes the A6 in Prestige trim a Top Safety Pick Plus because of its upgraded headlights.
Behind the Wheel
The 3.0-liter V6 delivers strong yet refined acceleration, while the chassis is perfectly able to contain and exploit that power. The suspension is always civilized, never jarring, and it’s nicely controlled and able to push the new A6 around S-bends with ease. The transmission, meanwhile, is super-smooth and uncannily able to select the right gear at the right time.
The 4-cylinder engine still has enough punch for most situations, but it will naturally feel a little more labored on speedier freeway jaunts.
As long as they’re not especially tall and wide, four adults should be perfectly happy with the amount of space the vehicle provides. The main thing to be wary of is how much the optional 21-in wheels might affect ride quality.
The A6 Allroad’s standard air-suspension allows it to sit as much as 1.8 inches higher than the A6 sedan. With the suspension fully-raised, ground clearance tops out at 7.3 inches. While this will allow you to clear obstacles you wouldn’t make it over in a regular A6, the A6 Allroad still rides considerably lower than vehicles like the Audi Q7, which offers just about 9.5 inches of clearance. The air suspension comes with five different settings. Auto and Comfort see the Allroad sitting at its default ride height which is 5.5 inches; Dynamic, which is akin to sport mode, sees the vehicle squat to 4.9 inches. Off-road mode sees clearance increased to 7.1 inches, or as much as 7.7 inches in Lift mode. Finally, an Individual mode lets the driver choose each setting according to personal preference.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 BMW 5 Series – The BMW 5 series is one of the great cars, regardless of the segment, and this generation holds the torch high.
2020 Mercedes-Benz E Class – Vibrating with cool technology, the updated E Class is a giant in this segment.
2020 Genesis G80 – The Genesis G80 has generous standard equipment, remains tranquil at speed, performs admirably in crash tests, and is quite reasonably priced.
2020 Lexus ES – The Lexus ES styling approach won’t be to everyone’s taste — perhaps an Audi fan least of all — but the ES is spacious, comfortable, solid, reliable and classy. It also comes in a hybrid version.
2020 Volvo S90 – Never let it be said that the premium midsize sedan segment is short on choices. The Volvo S90 is stylish and spacious, though it’s not up to the dynamic level of the A6.
2020 Volvo V90 Cross Country – A raised wagon version of the S90, the V90 Cross Country is the A6 Allroad’s only true competitor for 2020.
Used Audi A7 – For the same price as a new A6, you could get a gently used previous-generation A7 (a new generation debuted for 2019), which is essentially a sleeker and sportier A6 with a hatchback body. Shop around for a certified pre-owned (CPO) model and enjoy the reassurance of a comprehensive warranty.
A 45 TSFI version with the 4-cylinder engine, the Premium Plus trim and the optional driver-assistance features seems like a great way to go. It also has the Virtual Cockpit and 705 watts of B&O audio. The Individual Contour Seating package is worth considering for the extra comfort and support. The A6 Allroad is a unique alternative to a five-passenger SUV like the Q5. As with the A6 sedan, we’d probably aim for a Premium Plus model with the Driver Assistance package. Find an Audi A6 for sale