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2021 Audi A6 vs. 2021 Genesis G80: Which Is Better?

The exquisite all-wheel-drive 2021 Audi A6 takes on the newcomer from Korea, the sharp-looking, agile 2021 Genesis G80. Among performance luxury midsize sedans, which is better?

Quick Facts

  • Every 2021 A6 comes standard with all-wheel drive.
  • G80 powertrain warranty lasts 10 years or 100,000 miles.
  • 2021 Audi S6 makes 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.

2021 Audi A6

2021 Audi A6

Base price: $56,000 / Read our 2021 Audi A6 Review 

What we like: Handsome looks; standard all-wheel drive; choice of engines, with mild-hybrid assist; excellent materials and quality

What we would change: Add a hybrid or electric powertrain; price is high, particularly for the S trims

Overview: If the three German makes were the three bears, the 2021 Audi A6 would be the soup that’s just right, providing a perfect balance between the sportiness of BMW and the comfort levels of Mercedes-Benz. A superlative 7-speed automatic, combined with the excellent grip provided by Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system and a well-tuned suspension make the A6 an excellent handler. But it’s also plush and the suspension comfortable enough for long-distance touring, with plenty of space for passengers and acres of leather upholstery and walnut inlays. Also included are heated 8-way power-adjustable front seats, ambient interior lighting, and an infotainment system including navigation as well as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration.

Safety features include Pre Sense Front, which can automatically apply the brakes in an emergency, as well as lane-departure warning and front and rear parking sensors. Options are numerous, including an upgrade stereo system and a sport suspension. At the very top is the S6, with power coming from a twin-turbo V6. These models are almost in a different category, not dissimilar from a BMW M or an AMG Mercedes, with much more aggressive suspension tuning, steering, and brakes. However, the S6 is priced accordingly, starting at $80,000. Due to their excellent build quality, Audis hold their value well.

What’s new for 2021: Given that the A6 was redesigned just a couple years ago, changes for 2021 are relatively mild, including keyless entry now becoming standard and both a surround-view camera and 10.1-inch display being added to the base model options list. Adaptive Cruise Assist now comes standard on the Premium Plus trim, and a power rear window shade comes standard on the Prestige trim.

Features and technology: The 2021 Audi A6 comes with a choice of three engines, although the top twin-turbo V6 model is actually called the S6. Trim levels start with the basic Premium and include the Premium Plus and Prestige, although the Premium model is still quite well equipped, with leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, heated 8-way power-adjustable front seats, keyless entry, and a power-adjustable steering wheel with shift paddles. The standard infotainment system includes twin-panel displays, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, and a navigation system. Standard safety features include Audi’s Pre Sense Front, which can automatically apply the brakes in an emergency; lane-departure warning; and front and rear parking sensors. The Premium Plus adds a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, adaptive cruise assist, Audi Side Assist, and Pre Sense rear, and a top-view camera with a virtual 360-degree view.

The top A6 is the Prestige, with heated and ventilated 12-way power front seats, adaptive cruise control, all-wheel steering, and four-zone automatic control. Models equipped with the 2.0-liter turbo are designated 45, while those with the 3.0-liter turbo are designated the 55, and also add the S line exterior appearance package.

The S6 Premium Plus model, aside from its 444-hp twin-turbo V6 engine, includes the S exterior design with 20-inch wheels and an adaptive air suspension, and the top dog S6 Prestige adds a cabin air ionizer, power soft-close doors, a head-up display, and adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist.

What does the future hold: Given that the A6 was redesigned only two years ago, we don’t expect too many changes in the near future, although since Audi uses mild-hybrid technology and already makes an electric sedan (the e-tron), we would like to see either a hybrid or full-electric A6 (E6?) in the near future. Find a 2021 Audi A6 for sale

2021 Genesis G80


2021 Genesis G80

Base price: $47,700 / Read our 2021 Genesis G80 Review

What we like: Unique looks; optional all-wheel drive; plenty of driver assists; powerful optional V6; optional adaptive suspension; great warranty.

What we would change: Add a V8 option and a hybrid; increase the trunk size; console dial is challenging to use while driving.

Overview: Completely redesigned with a bold new look and a choice of engines ranging from a turbocharged four-cylinder to a twin-turbo V6, the 2021 Genesis G80 is a distinctive-looking midsize sedan that provides luxury, comfort, and a load of standard features at a reasonable price. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, but all-wheel drive is also available, as well as a camera-based adaptive suspension, and various drive modes change the response of the steering and throttle. Visibility is solid and the front seats are comfortable and supportive. Despite the sloped roofline, rear seat comfort is also good, although if we do have one complaint, the trunk is a little small. The interior is clean and uncluttered, although a 14.5-inch infotainment screen takes up a big part of the dash. It’s operated by a console-mounted dial that also incorporates handwriting recognition, although that isn’t terribly practical while one is driving. The G80 also comes loaded with standard features, including plenty of driver-assist and safety functions, 12-way power heated front seats, keyless entry, and both navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. For an extra bit of confidence, Genesis includes a class-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

What’s new for 2021: A complete redesign means everything is new for 2021, with a new shape and a new interior. A new camera-based adaptive suspension reads the road and adjusts the ride for more comfort and precise handling. Most significantly, the base V6 has been replaced with a turbocharged four-cylinder, and the top V8 engine has been dropped.

Features and technology: As with the Lexus, the Genesis G80 comes well equipped right off the bat, although there are only five trims compared with the eight of the Lexus. Standard features include 12-way power and heated front seats, keyless ignition, adaptive cruise control, 18-inch wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, and forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian protection. A 14.5-inch infotainment screen includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a navigation system.

Options include a camera-based adaptive suspension, surround-view monitor, both 19- and 20-inch wheels, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, Nappa leather upholstery, wireless device charging, remote smart-parking assist, and a panoramic sunroof, among other things.

What does the future hold: We expect Genesis to follow the lead of Lexus by staying the course and building its brand cachet against the Germans. Given that the 2021 redesign was significant, we don’t expect more than incremental changes in the years ahead, although we would like it if there was a G80 hybrid. Find a 2021 Genesis G80 for sale

A6 vs. G80: Strengths comparison

A6 Benefits: Brand prestige; standard all-wheel drive; high-performance S6 models

G80 Benefits: Much lower starting price; more powerful base engine; longer warranty

2021 Audi A6 vs. 2021 Genesis G80: Which is better?

There is no doubt that both the 2021 Audi A6 and the 2021 Genesis G80 are exceptional automobiles, offering luxury, performance, and comfort. So the choice really comes down to what is important to you. The 2021 Audi A6 is an exquisite automobile, but there’s no escaping the more than $8,000 difference in starting price. If you can afford it and brand prestige is important, then the 2021 Audi A6 is an excellent choice. But we say save a few bucks and go for the 2021 Genesis G80. You won’t be disappointed. Find a 2021 Audi A6 for sale or Find a 2021 Genesis G80 for sale

2021 Audi A6 2021 Genesis G80
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 2.5-liter turbocharged I4
Horsepower 248 hp @ 4,300 rpm 300 hp @ 5,800 rpm
Torque 273 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm 311 lb-ft @ 1,650 rpm
Transmission 7-spd automatic 8-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 26 mpg (23 city/31 highway) 26 mpg (23 city/32 highway)
Also Available 3.0-liter turbocharged V6; 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6; 8-spd automatic 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
Basic warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 10 years/100,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating n/a 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 115.1 inches 118.5 inches
Overall Length 194.4 inches 196.7 inches
Width 74.3 inches 75.8 inches
Height 57.4 inches 57.7 inches
Turning Diameter 36.4 feet 38 feet
Headroom, Front 38.0 inches 41.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.1 inches 38.1 inches
Legroom, Front 41.3 inches 42.5 inches
Legroom, Rear 37.4 inches 38.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 57.8 inches 58.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.5 inches 57.1 inches
EPA Passenger Volume n/a 103.8 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 13.7 cubic feet 13.1 cubic feet

Doug Lloyd
Doug Lloyd
Doug Lloyd is an author specializing in comparison tests. A veteran of the automotive press world, Doug started at Sports Car International and Vintage Motorsport magazines and has worked at both Porsche Panorama magazine and Doug is also a jazz piano player and a composer for television.

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