Another in a series of my reviews that appeared in the online version of African Americans On Wheels, a now defunct automotive magazine that was included as an insert in the Sunday newspapers of major cities.
As you can tell from reading the review, I really liked this car. Surprisingly, so did my wife, and she’s not easily pleased when it comes to cars.
Audi was on a definite roll near the end of the millennia. The 1996 A4 was a certified hit, followed by the dramatically improved A8 (formerly V8). The final offering in the trifecta was the new A6. The mid-sized Audi seemed to lose its mojo after the groundbreaking 1984 5000, which is what the C3 generation was known as in the U.S. The follow-up 100/200/A6 was nice but forgettable. The C5 A6, on the other hand, was the perfect balance of aerodynamics and style. It also set the high standard for Audi interiors that still exists today.
Remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? The all-new Audi A6 is the baby bear’s bed – not too hard, not too soft, but just right.
The A6 is Audi’s mid-size model, slotted between the A4 and the A8. For 1998, the sedan gets a slippery new shape highlighted by a dramatically sloping rear window (a wagon is also available). Audi says it wanted a sedan with the style and elegance of a coupe. It works, creating far more visual impact than its BMW 528i and Mercedes E320 competition. Inside, instead of the classic, stark Germanic interior, there was pleasant melange (beige) interior trim with light wood accents and sumptuous leather seats. It’s one of the A6’s three “Atmospheres” – an interior environment which buyers can match to their personal styles – a first for a mass-market manufacturer. I was surrounded by “Ambiante” (the others are “Ambition” and “Advance”). There are plenty of lights, storage bins and cupholders, and the dash even has a sliding card holder (to hold gas or security cards). It is one of the most inviting interiors I’ve experienced.
The “just right” theme of the A6 is even more exemplified when driving. It’s dimensions are almost identical to the Buick Century, but it feels much smaller and lighter. The multi-link suspension and Audi’s excellent Quattro all-wheel drive system give the A6 superior handling while maintaining a well-controlled ride, while the 200 horsepower V6 provides good balance between power and fuel economy. Even though a manual transmission is not available, a version of Porsche’s Tiptronic five-speed “manumatic” transmission comes standard. You can leave it in drive like a normal automatic, or move the lever to the right gate to shift manually. The only complaint is that in automatic mode it’s sometimes hesitant to downshift.
Besides plenty of interior room, the trunk is cavernous. Our tester came with the optional “Cold Weather” package which, besides heated seats and steering wheel, includes a ski sack that allows ski storage in the trunk without folding down the rear seats while protecting the interior.
Overall, Audi A6 Quattro is one of the few cars that will leave you feeling satisfied without mortgaging your family to purchase it.
For more information contact 1-800-FOR-AUDI
Engine:200-horsepower, 2.8-liter V6
EPA Mileage:17 city/26 highway