2012 Audi A6

Change year or vehicle
$11,368 — $23,316 USED Shop local deals
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2012 Audi A6. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    23-29 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    211-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    8-speed CVT w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Supercharged V-6 performance, efficiency
  • Interior quality, attention to detail
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Split-folding backseat's utility
  • Distinctive optional LED daytime running lights

The Bad

  • Small backseat
  • Mushy, non-linear brake feel
  • Lack of steering feedback
  • Audi Connect requires its own data plan
  • Left-side B-pillar limits visibility

Notable Features of the 2012 Audi A6

  • Redesigned for 2012
  • Turbo four-cylinder or supercharged V-6
  • Optional all-wheel drive with rear-biased torque split
  • Optional LED headlights
  • Optional in-car Wi-Fi

2012 Audi A6 Road Test

Mike Hanley

While debate rages over whether there are too many distracting features in cars today, automakers continue to roll out increasingly connected models, like the redesigned Audi A6 midsize luxury sedan. With features like real-time news updates, Google Earth navigation integration and in-car Wi-Fi, it's enough to make U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood break out in a cold sweat.

In this relentless quest for enhanced connectivity, does anything remain for the Luddites who just want a luxury car that's engaging to drive? With the new A6, the answer is yes — albeit a half-hearted one.

The 2012 Audi A6 has the high-tech gadgets and style to attract luxury shoppers, but it lacks the dynamic driving experience of the BMW 5 Series, the benchmark of the class.

The A6 starts at $41,700 and comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. We tested the optional supercharged V-6, an all-wheel-drive model that goes for $49,900. Loaded with features, though, our as-tested price climbed to $60,130. To see how the A6 compares with the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Infiniti M, click here.

Styling
The A6's design represents a welcome evolution of the themes introduced on the Audi A8 full-size sedan. Up front, there's the latest iteration of Audi's single-frame grille, which has a much flatter appearance than the outgoing A6's, flanked by aggressively styled headlights that make the A6 look agitated. Full LED headlights ar...

While debate rages over whether there are too many distracting features in cars today, automakers continue to roll out increasingly connected models, like the redesigned Audi A6 midsize luxury sedan. With features like real-time news updates, Google Earth navigation integration and in-car Wi-Fi, it's enough to make U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood break out in a cold sweat.

In this relentless quest for enhanced connectivity, does anything remain for the Luddites who just want a luxury car that's engaging to drive? With the new A6, the answer is yes — albeit a half-hearted one.

The 2012 Audi A6 has the high-tech gadgets and style to attract luxury shoppers, but it lacks the dynamic driving experience of the BMW 5 Series, the benchmark of the class.

The A6 starts at $41,700 and comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. We tested the optional supercharged V-6, an all-wheel-drive model that goes for $49,900. Loaded with features, though, our as-tested price climbed to $60,130. To see how the A6 compares with the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Infiniti M, click here.

Styling
The A6's design represents a welcome evolution of the themes introduced on the Audi A8 full-size sedan. Up front, there's the latest iteration of Audi's single-frame grille, which has a much flatter appearance than the outgoing A6's, flanked by aggressively styled headlights that make the A6 look agitated. Full LED headlights are optional, as are LED daytime running lights that switch from white to amber when a turn signal is active — a neat, completely unexpected trick.

From certain angles, one might mistake the new A6 for its predecessor, but a closer look reveals many differences. The 2012 has a low-slung stance with a less bulbous greenhouse. Newly styled LED taillights accent a pronounced trunk crease. It's a design that impresses when you see it in person, but all of Audi's sedans now look remarkably similar to each other.

Going & Stopping
The supercharged V-6 engine never left me wishing for a V-8, which the prior generation offered at one time. The V-6 has good low-end power that makes it feel like a bigger engine, but what impressed me most was its eagerness on the highway. It still has good reserve power for high-speed passing if you stand on the gas pedal, as the eight-speed automatic transmission swiftly drops a few gears and the A6 lunges forward with authority.

All that happens without much supercharger noise; the engine has an appealing growl, but it's refined and not overwhelming. There is, however, a fair amount of tire noise. (Our test car was fitted with 19-inch summer tires.)

Putting the automatic gear selector in Sport mode made me appreciate the supercharged V-6 drivetrain even more. The Drive mode is tuned to keep engine rpm low, but Sport holds the transmission in its lower gears longer before upshifting. The result is enhanced responsiveness in city driving, but without the annoying habit some Sport settings have of holding gears too long.

Considering its performance, the supercharged A6 still gets respectable EPA gas mileage estimates of 19/28 mpg city/highway. Choosing the front-wheel-drive four-cylinder model improves gas mileage to 25/33 mpg.

The A6's disappointing brake-pedal feel is a drag on the driving experience. It feels mushy and doesn't yield predictable, linear braking.

Ride & Handling
When equipped with the optional sport suspension, the A6 rides firmly, responding sharply to bumps and potholes. Audi's standard Drive Select system adjusts steering, throttle and transmission settings, but it doesn't tailor suspension damping like some systems do.

The available Quattro all-wheel-drive system has a rear-biased torque split — 40 percent to the front wheels and 60 percent to the rear ones under normal conditions — for improved handling.

The A6 corners well, keeping its line as you accelerate out of a turn, and the sport suspension keeps the car flat. In spite of that, the A6 doesn't connect the driver with the driving experience the way a 5 Series can. Part of the problem is the steering, which has a light-effort smoothness that's characteristically Audi, but also isolates you from the driving experience. It's as if you're turning a steering wheel connected to a video game — without the force-feedback on.

Tech-Centric Cabin
Some automakers rely on a driver's smartphone to enable in-car internet connectivity and the advanced features that use it, but Audi has turned the A6 itself into an internet-enabled device with the optional Audi Connect system. Audi Connect includes a six-month free trial subscription, but after that you'll have to pay for a data plan to support most of its features. Those include Google Earth satellite image overlays for the navigation system; weather and gas price information; and the ability for up to eight devices to use the A6 as a Wi-Fi hotspot. T-Mobile is the data provider, and after the trial it costs $30 per month for unlimited 3G data, or $25 per month if you sign a two-year contract.

Audi Connect integrates with the MMI system, which is Audi's version of the knob-based control systems — like BMW's iDrive and Mercedes' Comand — that have swept the luxury-car market in recent years. Audi Connect's screen graphics aren't as refined as the rest of the MMI system, which changes menus and makes selections with an appreciated snappiness.

A digital scratchpad is optional for MMI. Dubbed MMI Touch, it's located near the knob controller and can be used to "write" letters — when entering a destination address in the navigation system, for instance. It works as advertised and is a better entry method than the rotary knob, but it's still not as easy to use as a touch-screen system.

The power-adjustable leather front seats are comfortable for taller adults. I'm 6-foot-1, and the driver's seat cushion had acceptable thigh support, while the seat's side bolsters weren't particularly confining. The left-side B-pillar limits visibility when checking to see if it's clear to change lanes, but thin front roof pillars improve forward views.

The A6's backseat feels about as roomy as the one in Audi's compact A4, even though the A6 has a 4-inch longer wheelbase. With the A6's front seat adjusted for me, my knees were nearly touching that seat when sitting behind it. You sit low on the rear bench, too, which isn't very comfortable. Headroom, meanwhile, is good, and I like that the standard 60/40-split backrest — an uncommon standard feature among midsize luxury cars — folds flat with the cargo floor, revealing a big opening to the 14.1-cubic-foot trunk. Audi's attention to detail here makes this nice-to-have feature even more useful.

Safety
The 2012 A6 received a 2012 Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, reflecting Good overall ratings in the frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests, roof-strength test, and rear-impact neck-protection evaluation.

Standard safety features include antilock brakes and an electronic stability system, which are required on all new vehicles as of the 2012 model year. Additional standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats, front knee airbags and side curtain airbags for both rows. Rear-seat side-impact airbags, front and rear parking sensors, and a backup camera are optional.

A number of high-tech safety features are bundled in the optional Innovation Package. Available on Prestige models, the package includes adaptive cruise control, a blind spot warning system, night vision with pedestrian detection and a collision warning system dubbed Audi Pre Sense Plus. Pre Sense Plus can ready the brakes and cinch the seat belts and, in certain cases, automatically apply the brakes.

For additional safety-feature information, check out the Standard Equipment & Options page.

A6 in the Market
If you've seen any of Audi's recent TV ads, you already know the brand is trying to position itself as the modern luxury alternative to so-called traditional brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Combined with futuristic-looking models like the A6 and A8, the strategy seems to be connecting with luxury shoppers; Audi's U.S. sales growth through November 2011 is outpacing Mercedes and BMW. The fact that the Audi brand isn't weighed down by luxury stereotypes at a time when people across the country are railing against the highest wage earners doesn't hurt, either.

Image aside, Audi delivers a lot of substance with the new A6. That's bound to appeal to luxury-car buyers — no matter how much they earn.

Send Mike an email  



2012 A6 Video

Cars.com's Mike Hanley checks out the 2012 Audi A6 3.0. It competes with the BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS, Jaguar XF and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Latest 2012 A6 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

I love this car

by Andy from Orlando on October 21, 2018

I see heads turn everywhere I go with this car .Be sure to cater for maintenance, because it is substantially more than the average car. Nevertheless it's worth every penny. Read full review

(5.0)

Perfect car

by Nora from New York on October 19, 2018

This car is perfect and looks good, I own a car like this and is very comfortable for a women.. Have a very good design, is perfect as a first car !! Is just a perfect car Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Audi A6 currently has 8 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Audi A6 2.0T 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
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
acceptable
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 Warranties

Backed by Audi
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 model years or newer/less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    1 year/unlimited miles after expiration of new vehicle limited warranty or from date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired

  • Powertrain warranty

    N/A

  • Dealer Certification Required

    300-plus-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program 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