The 2021 Audi A6 is the German brand’s sophisticated player in the midsize luxury sedan segment, where it competes with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Those rivals may outsell the A6, but this luxury sedan is highly attractive to executives seeking to stand out from the crowd.
The A6 was revamped just two years ago and boasts a long list of innovative features. On the tech front, the Audi features everything from integrated Google Map satellite imagery, twin digital displays and handwriting recognition to a camera system that lets you see the vehicle from virtually any angle. A full roster of safety and driver-assistance systems are also on hand.
Another trait that sets the Audi A6 apart is its standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Known as Quattro, it makes the A6 especially alluring to those who live in cold-weather states and routinely deal with slick roads.
Audis have long perfected the balance between comfort and athleticism, and that remains the case here. A6 sedans offer a choice between a punchy 4-cylinder or a powerful V6 engine. The A6 Allroad is an adventurous luxury wagon with added ground clearance and the V6 standard. Both engines are mated to a specialized 48-volt mild hybrid system for added efficiencies.
Audi offers a higher-performance variant in the S6 sedan, which boasts a 444-hp twin-turbo V6. Then there’s the new RS 6 Avant. Long forbidden fruit to the United States, this station wagon seriously hauls with a thunderous turbocharged V8 and the ability to do 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
What’s New for 2021?
Keyless entry and an integrated toll module are now standard on base A6 Premium models. A surround-view camera and 10.1-inch display join the options list for that trim. Adaptive Cruise Assist is now standard on the mid-trim Premium Plus. Top-end Prestige models get a power rear window shade as standard. For the A6 Allroad wagon, a Black optic package becomes available for those desiring darkened aesthetics. 2021 also marks the U.S. arrival of the Audi RS 6 Avant, a super high-performance wagon. See the 2021 Audi A6 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Potent turbocharged engine with mild-hybrid assist
- Top-class interior materials and design
- Impressive safety equipment
- Allroad model is a clever SUV alternative
What We Don’t
- There’s a learning curve with the infotainment system
- Price increases quickly with options, like other luxury cars.
A6: $54,900 to $69,500
A6 Allroad: $65,900 to $71,400
S6: $74,400 to $81,100
RS 6 Avant: $109,000
The 2021 A6’s base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that Audi terms the 45 TSFI. It makes 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates it at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving.
Optional on the A6 sedan and standard on the A6 Allroad is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, producing 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Audi calls this engine the 55 TFSI. Fuel consumption is relatively impressive at 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined. The A6 Allroad is slightly less efficient, earning 20 mpg city, 26 mpg hwy, and 22 mpg combined by the EPA.
Both engines use a 48-volt mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) 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. The A6 uses a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels thanks to standard Quattro all-wheel drive.
The S6 performance sedan has a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 that makes 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque and sends power to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. The EPA rates the 2021 Audi S6 at 18 mpg city/28 hwy/22 combined.
The monster RS 6 Avant isn’t any ordinary station wagon. This thriller has a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 under the hood that makes 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. It also uses an 8-speed transmission. The 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant is rated by the EPA at 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/17 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
The 2021 Audi A6 executive midsize sedan comes in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. Both engines are available in any trim level, with the 3.0-liter V6 a $4,900 option.
The Premium Trim ($54,900) 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. New for 2020, the Premium trim also gains keyless entry.
An optional Convenience package for the Premium trim includes a larger 10.1-inch top screen, wireless charging, a phone signal booster, a heated steering wheel, 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 ($58,800) includes the contents of the Convenience package, Adaptive Cruise Assist including Audi active lane assist, 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.
The 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 Prestige trim ($64,900) includes the Executive bundle and additional driver aids like traffic sign recognition. It also brings a head-up display, 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 or 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 2021 Audi A6 Allroad is offered in Premium Plus and Prestige trims.
The A6 Allroad Premium Plus ($65,900) 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 ($71,400) 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 higher-powered Audi S6 is available in two trims – Premium Plus ($74,400) and Prestige ($81,100) – and offers similar features as the A6 in those trims but does come standard with 21-in wheels with summer tires.
The S6’s performance can be further increased with options like sport rear differential, sport exhaust, and all-wheel steering.
The Audi RS 6 Avant is available as a single trim. In addition to its V8 engine, the RS 6 Avant includes the Audi sport rear differential and RS-specific exhaust outlets, adaptive air suspension, 21-in wheels, panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, and heated/ventilated front seats.
Options for the RS 6 Avant include a Black Optic package with 22-in wheels, massaging front seats, soft-close doors, blind-spot monitoring, night-vision assist, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio, and ceramic brake package that also raises its top speed to 190 mph.
The 2021 A6 includes 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 side airbags, oddly, are optional.
The S6 and RS 6 Avant can also be upgraded with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2021 Audi A6 sedan a 5-star overall rating, but has yet to rate the A6 Allroad. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the A6 in Prestige trim a Top Safety Pick Plus because of its upgraded headlights.
Behind the Wheel
We’ve found the A6’s 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 main thing to be wary of is how much the optional 21-in wheels might affect ride quality – bigger wheels can mean a more jarring ride.
The standard 4-cylinder turbocharged 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 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 lower than a true crossover SUV like the Audi Q7. 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.
For the enthusiasts, the S6 is an executive sedan that can really move. It does 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and sticks to the road like a smaller sport sedan. We also like that the S6 tends to fly under the radar. Unless you’re a fellow enthusiast, most drivers will think it is an ordinary A6.
If the S6 is rare, the RS 6 is an automotive diamond in the rough. A real competitor to the slightly pricier and more traditionally styled Mercedes-AMG E 63 S wagon, the Audi RS 6 is the car for which a select group of enthusiasts have been pining. With 591 hp and RS-specific hardware to back up that power, the RS 6 will do 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds and has the ability to hit a 190 mph top speed. Oh, and it’s also a station wagon, so it’s practical!
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. It has long been a benchmark among executive sedans and offers engines ranging from a 4-cylinder to a V8.
2020 Mercedes-Benz E Class – Vibrating with cool technology, the updated E Class is a giant in this segment. It’s also available as a classy wagon, not to mention high-powered AMG models.
2020 Genesis G80 – The upstart Genesis G80 has generous standard equipment, remains tranquil at speed, performs admirably in crash tests, and costs thousands less.
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. It is also offered as a sleek wagon known at the V90.
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.
Questions You May Ask
How fast is an Audi A6?
According to Audi, the A6 45 with the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine accelerates to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. The A6 Allroad and A6 sedans with the 3.0-liter V6 do 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. The S6 hits that mark in 4.4 seconds, while the RS 6 rips to it in 3.5 seconds.
Where is the Audi A6 made?
Audi builds the A6 and S6 in Neckarsulm, Germany.
How much is an Audi A6?
The 2021 Audi A6 starts around $56,000, including destination charge. The ruggedized Audi A6 Allroad wagon begins closer to $66,000. The Audi S6 starts at $74,400, while the RS 6 is a lofty $109,000.
A 2021 Audi A6 45 TSFI Premium Plus trim seems like a great way to go. That trim is made even sweeter this year with the inclusion of the formerly optional Adaptive Cruise Assist including Audi active lane assist. 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. For individualists with deeper pockets, 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 Executive package. For the performance-minded, the S6 is an alluring sleeper. And if you have the deep pockets and desire, the RS 6 is one very, very special station wagon whose low numbers should keep it valuable in the future. Find an Audi A6 for sale