The 2008 Audi A6 has plenty of competition, but its graceful look and feel set it apart from more brutal German and more clinical Japanese iron.
Available in both sedan and Avant wagon forms, the 2008 Audi A6 sports a svelte shape fronted by Audi's new wide-frame grille, which TheCarConnection.com's team of car experts thinks is a big distraction from the otherwise clean lines of either the wagon or four-door. For the current model year, Audi has made new exterior trim standard, including "S-line" badges, 18-inch wheels, and new front and rear bumpers.
The Avant wagon has some specific styling cues other than its handsomely rounded haunches, and includes a cargo-securing rail system behind the seats; it can transport 20 cubic feet of cargo with the seats in place and 58.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. A power-operated tailgate is optional.
The 2008 Audi A6's interior isn't as handsome as the previous generation's, but it's still a functional and cleanly designed place to work, with wood and metallic accents livening up the typically dark trim. It's also stocked with safety gear, earning top safety ratings from the government and the insurance industry.
A choice of powertrains across sedan and wagon lines includes a 3.2-liter V-6 that generates 255 horsepower, as well as a 4.2-liter V-8 rated at 350 horsepower and available only in a sedan body. Power is transferred in front-drive models by a gearless Multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), which has been programmed so that it can be "shifted" like a manual transmission in seven stages. Models with standard quattro all-wheel drive, including the V-8 sedan, use a six-speed automatic transmission. There's also a high-performance S6 powered by a V-10 engine, which TheCarConnection.com covers separately.
With any of the engines, the A6 lineup has a distinctly light touch to its controls, far from the hefty responses you'd get from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5-Series. The steering is deft and quick, the brakes responsive, and even with the less powerful V-6 engine, the A6 feels lighter on its feet than most of the cars in this class.
All A6 audio systems get MP3 capability, and a trip computer/driver information center is standard on all models. There's also a new overhead console, and a rearview camera system has been added to the Technology Package. A wealth of high-tech options includes optional adaptive xenon headlamps, which automatically pivot to illuminate the road through corners, and a Multi-Media Interface (MMI), which incorporates navigation, audio, climate control, and other operations into a single system operated by a joystick-like center console control and dashboard-mounted video display.