2005 Audi A6

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$41,900

starting MSRP

2005 Audi A6

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Performance with either engine
  • Transmission operation
  • Confident handling
  • German engineering

The bad:

  • MMI complexity
  • Somewhat hard seats
  • Bouncy ride on some surfaces
  • Glove box space and access

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2005 Audi A6 trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • V-6 or V-8
  • Standard quattro AWD
  • Six-speed automatic
  • Optional adaptive headlights
  • Head-curtain airbags

2005 Audi A6 review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

We met as strangers and remained that way. It happens. Sometimes, there is no communication between car and driver. There is a profound disconnect. But that sort of thing often occurs in nondescript economy cars. My estrangement came in the padded luxury of the 2005 Audi A6 4.2 Quattro sedan.

It was a matter of dealing with too much. In its obsessive bid to become a high-end automobile manufacturer, Audi has abandoned simplicity in pursuit of excess. The company says it is offering new levels of convenience in its automobiles. I experienced higher levels of frustration instead.

Take the test car’s ignition system. It’s actually two systems in one. You can start the car the traditional way by twisting a key after inserting it into the ignition lock. That’s simple enough.

But Audi has added a twist of its own — an optional companion push-button starter that requires no key insertion. You keep the ignition key on or near your person. An electronic pulse transmitter in the “advanced key system” communicates with the ignition and steering systems, preparing both for operation at the push of a “Start” button. At the end of your journey, you shut the car down by pushing a “Stop” button.

Of course, push-button ignition is nothing new. Many luxury and entry-level luxury cars nowadays have that feature. But none of the rival systems I’ve used are as complicated and redundant as that found in the new A6 — two ignition modes; and two separate buttons, as opposed to one found in competitive automobiles, to handle the “Start” and “Stop” functions in the “advanced key” program.

And then there is MMI, which stands for Multi Media Interface. Okay, I get it. We’re in the advanced computer age. We no longer write letters. We “e-mail.” We don’t just talk on telephones. We “text-and-photo-message.” And we’re getting to the point where we don’t make love as much as we “interface.” I understand. It’s a new world.

But I still like dials, especially for doing things such as turning on the car radio and adjusting the air conditioner’s temperature setting and fan speed. Dials are simple. They give you a sense of control. You turn them one way, or another, and they generally do what they’re told.

But working with Audi’s MMI system, which displays its various monitoring messages on a seven-inch, color screen in the instrument panel, is more like trying to reason with a smart aleck teenager. You say: “Do this.” It responds: “What do you mean?” It drives me nuts. All you want to do is something simple, basic, such as changing the radio station or CD, or resetting the “climate control system.” Why do I need a degree from MIT to work Audi’s MMI?

It’s not that I don’t appreciate technology. I do. I like technology that makes sense; and, in fairness, the new A6 has ample servings of smart tech. There are, for example, the “Bi-Xenon adaptive light cornering headlights,” standard on the A6 4.2 Quattro. I like those lights. Depending on steering angle and the car’s speed, the Bi-Xenon lights illuminate the road ahead, effectively bending their rays up to a maximum of 15 degrees into corners and turns. That helps vision. That’s good.

I also like the engineering that went into making the A6’s body stronger — 34 percent more rigid than that of its predecessor. The car is tight, solid. You feel secure in its expertly crafted cabin, which is a splendiferous work of fine wood veneers, supple leather, and aluminum accents.

The A6’s standard all-wheel-drive system is excellent. It provides reassuring traction control on wet and muddy roads. In sudden downpours, the car’s rain-sensing wipers, which come on automatically, can be a blessing.

Yet, despite those virtues, I am left unimpressed by the A6. There is something not quite fun-to-drive about it, even with its big 4.2-liter, 335-horsepower engine. It is a car that takes itself seriously, perhaps too much so. It finds comfort in complexity, which is off-putting to those of us who just want the pleasure of an unfettered run.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior design 4.6
  • Performance 4.5
  • Value for the money 4.6
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.4

Most recent consumer reviews

4.3

Lovely car in excellent condition 110,000 genuine

I find this car a joy to drive 14 yrs old and still looks very good (classy) 6 speed box manual and 4 X 4 I have driven the car for 5 years maintenance could be expensive but I buy my spares from the Czech Republic much cheaper than Britain. MPG around 34.

5.0

Love This Car

My wife and I bought this car new in 2005. We both retired a decade ago so it's had very few miles put on it since. It has been well cared for and well maintained, zero accidents and always garaged. We really love this car but we just bought a new one and we don't need two. With only 82k miles, this car will continue to run for someone else as well as it has for us.

4.6

Best all around car. Sporty too!

My first Audi. Smooth and solid. Comfortable, luxurious, and moves pretty quickly. It's roomy, and has a huge trunk hidden inside. Headlights can be expensive if assembly is broken. I had one fail. Still, other repairs are not as pricey as you may think. I find it's worth strangely expensive fixes, because the value and overall quality is still there. I mean, I had to repair a headlight assembly (AFS aiming headlights), and a fuel pump. New rotors and pads. 3 years of ownership. Keep oil changed on these! Sludge can kill these (timing chain tensioners). Just test drive one.. It will sell itself. I bought two more A6's after this one. I love them.

See all 28 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
144 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
48 months/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/unlimited distance

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