2009 Audi A6

Change Year or Vehicle
$2,675–$21,615 Inventory Prices
(4.5) 6 reviews
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2009 Audi A6. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    19-22 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    255-hp, 3.1-liter V-6 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    7-speed CVT w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Cabin materials
  • Crash-test ratings
  • Power
  • Trunk volume
  • Folding backseat
  • Quick-shifting transmission

The Bad

  • Accelerator lag (supercharged V-6)
  • Touchy brakes
  • Highway wind noise
  • V-8 doesn't offer much more performance
  • Aging MMI system
  • Smallish cabin
2009 Audi A6 exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2009 Audi A6

  • New 300-hp, supercharged V-6
  • FWD or rear-biased AWD
  • Available 350-hp V-8
  • Revised styling
  • Six-speed automatic

2009 Audi A6 Road Test

Kelsey Mays

Audi impressed me last summer with its redesigned compact A4 — a rare intersection of elegance and driver-friendliness among entry-level luxury cars — but I can't get fired up about the A4's larger sibling, the midsize A6. The elder Audi has no shortage of clever innovations, and its styling is vintage Audi: unassuming at first, then desirable in all its subtleties a day or two later. Alas, for a number of reasons — most of them related to the driving experience — it can't combine driving thrills with cabin quality like a number of its competitors do.

The Audi A6's last full redesign was for the 2005 model year, so 2009 brings a number of late-cycle updates (which you can compare to the 2008 model here): new lights, revised equipment packages, tweaked underpinnings and a new supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. The supercharged six, included on the inaptly named A6 3.0T — in Audi parlance, "T" normally stands for turbocharging — comes with standard Quattro all-wheel drive in both sedan and wagon body styles.

The Audi A6 lineup also includes two normally aspirated engines, both available only in sedan body styles: a 3.1-liter V-6 in the base, front-wheel-drive A6 3.2 (Audi rounds up the engine's 3.123-liter displacement), and a top-of-the-line 4.2-liter V-8 in the A6 4.2 with Quattro. Three trim levels — Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige — speak to the level of features you'll find. I tested an A6 3.0...

Audi impressed me last summer with its redesigned compact A4 — a rare intersection of elegance and driver-friendliness among entry-level luxury cars — but I can't get fired up about the A4's larger sibling, the midsize A6. The elder Audi has no shortage of clever innovations, and its styling is vintage Audi: unassuming at first, then desirable in all its subtleties a day or two later. Alas, for a number of reasons — most of them related to the driving experience — it can't combine driving thrills with cabin quality like a number of its competitors do.

The Audi A6's last full redesign was for the 2005 model year, so 2009 brings a number of late-cycle updates (which you can compare to the 2008 model here): new lights, revised equipment packages, tweaked underpinnings and a new supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. The supercharged six, included on the inaptly named A6 3.0T — in Audi parlance, "T" normally stands for turbocharging — comes with standard Quattro all-wheel drive in both sedan and wagon body styles.

The Audi A6 lineup also includes two normally aspirated engines, both available only in sedan body styles: a 3.1-liter V-6 in the base, front-wheel-drive A6 3.2 (Audi rounds up the engine's 3.123-liter displacement), and a top-of-the-line 4.2-liter V-8 in the A6 4.2 with Quattro. Three trim levels — Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige — speak to the level of features you'll find. I tested an A6 3.0T Premium Plus. A high-performance S6 with a 5.2-liter V-10 is also available; I'll cover some of its specifics in this review, but the S6 is listed separately in Cars.com's Research section.

 

Classic Lines
Roughly 8 inches longer and an inch taller than the A4, the A6 is one of the longer cars in its class. It doesn't immediately stand out amid brasher-looking competitors like the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF, but I suspect Audi's design restraint has lasting power. It's elegant from any angle, and it grows on you.

New on the sedan this year are wider taillights that closely resemble those on the A4 sedan and A5 coupe. Premium trims get 17-inch alloy wheels, while Premium Plus and Prestige editions add 18-inchers, silver exterior trim and LED daytime running lamps, similar to those offered on the A4 and Audi's R8 supercar. They illuminate when you unlock the car at night, which is a nice touch that suits the car's businesslike leanings. On most trims, you'll have to push a button on the key fob to unlock the doors; only the Prestige includes keyless access, with a remote that stays in your pocket and push-button ignition. The Infiniti M, Lexus GS and a number of other competitors include the keyless feature standard.

Nineteen-inch wheels come with an S-line sport package on the A6 3.0T.

Going & Stopping
Audi's latest direct-injection engines aren't lacking for low-end power, so you won't have to wait until higher revs before the cavalry arrives. The A6 3.0T is no different: Rated at 300 horsepower and 310 pounds-feet of torque — the latter coming at just 2,500 rpm — its supercharged V-6 delivers surefooted thrust whether you're passing delivery trucks on the interstate or overtaking slower traffic before your lane runs out. It feels more authoritative, especially at the low end, than Infiniti's M35 or Cadillac's V-6 STS; I drove a Jaguar XF a few days after testing the A6, and its V-8 couldn't deliver the same low-end power. Despite the all-wheel-drive A6 3.0T's hefty curb weight — 4,123 pounds — Audi says it hits 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, a figure that beats the Mercedes-Benz E350 and nearly ties the Lexus GS 350 and BMW's twin-turbo 535i.

I question why anyone would buy the less fuel-efficient A6 4.2, whose 350-hp V-8 hits 60 mph just 0.1 seconds quicker. Perhaps Audi somehow quelled accelerator lag in that version — which brings me to my chief complaint, something that sapped the drivetrain's thrills so much it was an outright deal-breaker for me: gas-pedal lag. Encouraged in part by the auto industry's migration toward drive-by-wire electronic throttles, this annoyance is rampant in competitors like the E-Class, but it's especially vexing here, in part because of its inconsistency. From stop-and-go driving to highway passing, the A6 exhibits as much as a full second of delay between pressing the accelerator and, well, accelerating. The depth of the pedal has little effect on the outcome: Whether barely prodded or given a concerted stab, the delay emerged — but not always: I didn't notice it early in the week, and one colleague took the A6 home and discerned no major lag. Two others who drove the car reported noticeable lag.

The base Audi A6 3.2 and the 4.2 version might behave differently — though all three engines employ electronic throttles — so if you experience anything different, shoot me an email. Audi spokesman Christian Bokich looked into the issue and said the automaker's quality teams have found no throttle failures with the 3.0T.

"There is some lag" at low speeds, he said, "but the engine is behaving quite well for an all-new setup." I wish I could agree.

The BMW 5 Series has its own acceleration issues — thanks mostly to its fussy six-speed Steptronic automatic — but a slew of other competitors, from the XF and M to the Acura RL and Cadillac STS, have lag-free acceleration.

Audi's six-speed automatic does its best to iron things out. It's a fairly responsive gearbox, particularly in Sport mode, and it delivers swift kickdown and smooth upshifts. There's a manual mode for clutchless shifting, and the Prestige trim gets steering-wheel shift paddles if you're into that sort of thing.

Power ratings for the lineup range from 255 hp in the base A6 3.2 to 435 hp in the V-10 S6. Here's how they stack up:

Engines Compared
  A6 3.2 A6 3.0T A6 4.2 S6
Base price $45,100 $50,100 $60,950 $75,900
Engine 3.1-liter V-6 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 4.2-liter V-8 5.2-liter V-10
Transmission CVT auto Six-speed auto Six-speed auto Six-speed auto
Driveline FWD AWD AWD AWD
Horsepower (@ rpm) 255 @ 6,500 300 @ 5,100 350 @ 6,800 435 @ 6,800
Torque (lb-ft. @ rpm) 243 @ 3,250 310 @ 2,500 325 @ 3,500 398 @ 3,000
EPA gas mileage (city/hwy., mpg) 18/27 18/26 16/23 14/19
Acceleration (0 - 60 mph, sec.) 6.9 5.9 5.8 4.9*
*Estimate, based on 5.1-second 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time.
Source: Automaker and EPA data.

 

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard, with beefier discs in the A6 3.0T and 4.2. The pedal in my test car elicited strong but touchy braking, making it difficult to stop smoothly even after practice.

Combined EPA city/highway gas mileage works out to 21 mpg in the A6 3.2 and 3.0T — meaning the latter, considering its standard all-wheel drive, is particularly efficient — and 18 mpg in the A6 4.2. Compared to other popular models, Audi does well:

 

EPA Combined City/Highway Gas Mileage (mpg)
  Six-cylinder V-8
Lexus GS 20 - 22 20
Audi A6 21 18
BMW 5 Series 19 - 21 18
Infiniti M 18 - 19 16 - 18
Mercedes-Benz E-Class 18 - 19 16 - 17
Source: EPA and automaker data for 2009 models. Ranges are due to drivetrain variants (i.e., BMW 528i and 535i are both six-cylinders; both cars also have manual or automatic transmissions, as well as RWD or AWD). Includes mainstream six- and eight-cylinder variants; excludes Mercedes E320 Bluetec and E63 AMG, BMW M5, Audi S6 and Lexus GS 450h.

 

Ride & Handling
Last year's S-line sport suspension is optional only on the 3.0T; mine didn't have it. Other drivetrains have the base suspension setup, which Audi retuned this year for quicker shock-absorber response. The previously available adaptive suspension with air springs has been dropped. The A6 I drove in 2007 — a model with the S-line package — proved far too rough for the daily grind. The base suspension is better: Even with the 18-inch wheels' lower-profile tires, this setup yields little cabin disturbance over bumps and low highway road noise. Wind noise is another story; it's not overly intrusive, but on a highway trip from Detroit to Chicago it became a constant backdrop to the stereo. In this price range, that shouldn't happen.

The steering setup should be familiar turf for any Audi driver. The wheel turns with a light touch, rendering easy parking maneuvers; that's the opposite of the 5 Series' and the M's steering, which are heavier, more direct affairs. Audi's isn't loosey-goosey, but it gives up something in turn-in precision to those cars. I doubt most drivers will mind; the A6 goes where you point it well enough, with none of the vagueness that the current E-Class and a great many lesser cars exhibit.

Body roll remains reasonably concealed in harder turns, and Quattro's new rear-biased setup delivers rear-wheel-drive-like handling; it defaults 60 percent of power to the rear wheels, but under hard acceleration it can transfer as much as 85 percent of power rearward, Audi says. The A6 feels more balanced and less nose-heavy than the A4 when you throw it into a turn.

City drivers take note: In tight spaces, the A6's turning radius measures 39 feet with front- or all-wheel drive. The rear-wheel-drive GS cranks a narrow 34.1-foot circle, while the all-wheel-drive GS comes in at 35.4 feet. Rear- and all-wheel-drive versions of the M, E-Class and 5 Series fall in between that and the A6.

Avant Wagon, S6 Sedan
The A6 wagon, which Audi calls the Avant, receives similar updates as the sedan this year, though its rear lights haven't changed as radically (see photos). It's available only in Quattro 3.0T form. Compared with the sedan, the wagon packs an extra 132 pounds — enough to bring zero-to-60 mph times up nominally to 6.1 seconds. Its $3,210 premium gets you 33.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than double the sedan's trunk space.

Fork over $76,000 and you can get the 435-hp S6, which comes only as a sedan. Besides a 435-hp V-10, the S6 adds bolstered sport seats, new bumpers, a sport-tuned suspension, massive 15.2-inch front brake discs — larger than a $194,000 Porsche 911 GT2's 15-inch discs — and 19-inch wheels with low-profile performance tires. It's quick, but if you really have the need for speed, $10,000 more will get you a BMW M5 or a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, both of which are quicker still — at least until Audi brings the 580-hp twin-turbo RS6 our way (it's already available in Europe).

The Inside
Roominess is not a strength in the A6. The front seats lack the space to spread out that other cars in this class — particularly the M — provide, and the rear bench sits too low to the ground for adequate adult thigh support. In both rows, headroom is merely adequate. The trunk is Audi's biggest asset: It measures 15.9 cubic feet, tying the E-Class and besting the M (14.9 cubic feet), 5 Series (14.0) and GS (a paltry 12.7). The A6 also has a standard 60/40-split folding rear seat, a feature that's optional on the E-Class and largely unavailable elsewhere. The S6 adds a center pass-thru. Either way, the folding seatbacks are well-executed, with a wide, ledge-free opening and no seat belts hanging in the way.

The dash looks the part of most Audis, with simple, soft-touch textures rather than the leather-wrapped surfaces in vogue in today's luxury cars. It mostly works, in large part because the finishes feel consistently high-rent, from eye-level to thigh-level. This isn't the case for all $50,000 cars; the Cadillac STS has glaring inconsistencies, and even Mercedes' redesigned 2010 E-Class has some spotty finishes here and there.

Most controls operate well enough, but Audi has yet to match the craftsmanship of the GS or RL, both of which are standouts in terms of uniformly high-quality buttons, knobs and stalks. The Audi A6's Multi-Media Interface controls the center display and, if equipped, the navigation system. It uses a knob below the gearshift but adds plenty of shortcut buttons alongside the knob. It's easy enough to use, but leading knob-based competitors — Mercedes' Comand system and BMW's iDrive — have leapfrogged MMI in usability and graphics quality with recent upgrades. (BMW's iDrive overhaul in particular has delivered beauty from a beast.) Audi says a third-generation MMI system is due next year, however, so there's potential for more leapfrogging yet.

The standard stereo — a 10-speaker system with full iPod integration and a six-CD changer — cranks out adequate quality. A 13-speaker Bose stereo is optional; I didn't hear it, but I already long for the day when the Audi A6 adopts the Bang & Olufsen system from the A4, A8 and R8. It ranks among the best in-car stereos I've ever heard.

Safety & Reliability
In crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Audi A6 received top scores for front, side and rear impacts. Accordingly, IIHS named the Audi A6 a Top Safety Pick for 2009. Among the A6's larger group of competitors, that's a distinction also enjoyed by the RL, Lincoln MKS and Volvo S80. The GS and M scored well in front and side tests, but not rear impacts, while the E-Class and STS earned Acceptable side-impact scores. The 5 Series remains the group's bogey, with Marginal side-impact scores. IIHS had not tested the XF as of publication.

Standard safety features for the A6 include dual front airbags, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows. Antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are also standard. Rear-seat-mounted side airbags and a blind spot warning system are optional.

Reliability for the current generation is so-so, with Consumer Reports rating V-6 models average in predicted reliability. Neither the V-8 A6 4.2 nor the V-10 S6 has been rated. Among popular competitors, Audi ranks midpack: The 5 Series and E-Class both rank average to below average in CR's reliability ratings, while the Lexus GS is generally above average. The Infiniti M boasts the group's best reliability by a fair margin.

Features & Pricing
The Audi A6 3.2 Premium starts at $45,100, right in the thick of its competition. Standard features include 12-way power front seats, leather upholstery, a moonroof and dual-zone automatic climate control. The 3.0T Premium costs an additional $5,000 — $8,210 if you want the wagon — but throws in heated front seats, which are just an option with the lesser engine. The $1,500 S-line sport package, available only on the 3.0T, includes a sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels.

Premium Plus models — an extra $1,320 to $1,800, depending on drivetrain and body style — add aluminum exterior moldings (sedan only; the wagon has them standard), bi-xenon headlights with the aforementioned LEDs, larger wheels and a memory driver's seat.

The Prestige edition, which runs $5,100 more than the base, Premium A6, has Premium Plus equipment plus steering-wheel paddle shifters, a power-adjustable steering column, keyless access, a navigation system and a backup camera. The A6 3.2 doesn't come in a Prestige version, while the A6 4.2 comes only in Prestige.

Heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, rear side airbags and the blind spot warning system round out the list of features available on any trim. Load up an A6 4.2, and the price will run about $62,000; a similarly equipped A6 3.0T costs about $6,000 less. Considering their near-identical performance, I see little point in getting the V-8.

A6 in the Market
Behind the E-Class and 5 Series, the Audi A6 is one of the most popular cars in its segment. I have a hard time understanding why, considering Infiniti has a compelling alternative in the M, Jaguar has the XF and Lexus has the GS. If you're doling out this much money, a car ought to be free of drivetrain issues like those the A6 suffers. Give the A6 an honest workout on your test drive, and if you really find no fault with the driving experience — accelerator lag, touchy brakes, highway wind noise or otherwise — then perhaps its strengths deserve a closer look. I can't summon enough enthusiasm to overlook such issues, and for 50 large, there are plenty of competitors with serious strengths and fewer compromises. Audi has a contender in the A4, but the Audi A6 still needs some work.

Send Kelsey an email  

 


Latest 2009 A6 Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.3)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Great car

by HydroWolfie from Milton, KY on July 3, 2017

When we set out to buy a car we knew we wanted an all wheel drive car. The 09 Audi A6 exceeded our expectations. It has all the creature comforts one would want and a sporty ness that no other all ... Read full review

(4.0)

Audi A6

by audi boy from ny ny on September 1, 2012

Beautiful car..have had a problem with power steering noises..i took to audi and they said its the body bending making that noise....if u want a car that will get u plenty of girls and attention this ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2009 Audi A6 currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2009 Audi A6 3.2 Premium

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
acceptable
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Audi

Program Benefits

Comprehensive 300+ point dealer inspection, 24/7 roadside assistance including towing and trip interruption reimbursement, 1 Year/Unlimited Miles Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty coverage, transferability of the Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty to a subsequent private owner, and CARFAX® Vehicle History Report.

  • Limited Warranty

    1 Year / Unlimited Miles

    1 Year/ Unlimited Miles Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty features 1 Year / Unlimited Miles of warranty coverage after the expiration of the new vehicle limited warranty or from the date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired and coverage honored at over 300 Audi dealerships service centers throughout the U.S., total confidence is yours as you take the road less traveled.
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 60,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 300+ point inspection.

    See inspection details.

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The A6 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker