In 2009, the 335d was the most fuel efficient car BMW had ever sold in the United States, and it feels insanely powerful. The A6 TDI is larger, heavier, adds all-wheel drive, and gets significantly be...
In 2009, the 335d was the most fuel efficient car BMW had ever sold in the United States, and it feels insanely powerful. The A6 TDI is larger, heavier, adds all-wheel drive, and gets significantly better fuel economy. It's quite miraculous, really.
One reviewer complained about the overly harsh ride. Compared to a Lincoln Town Car, maybe. Mine has the optional 20" rotor wheels and sport package, and I am absolutely amazed how smooth and compliant the ride is. It is a total comfort cruiser compared to my BMW 335d.
Another reviewer complained of the nose-heaviness. I have found no fault with handling dynamics. And my last daily driver was a very sporty BMW with a nearly perfect 49-51 front-rear weight distribution and rear wheel drive.
Audi has historically been criticized by serious enthusiasts for understeer associated with the more front biased weight distribution as compared to BMW; however, continued tweaking of the quattro all-wheel drive system (including rear wheel bias and torque vectoring) has brought Audi's handling very much on par with its most direct BMW competitor, the 5 Series. I drove a 2014 BMW 535d shortly before purchasing the A6, and I thought the A6 was a noticeably more athletic feeling car.
For those who have never driven a modern clean diesel, you really owe it to yourself to try one before opting for the gas engine. Audi's 3.0T engine has won virtually universal acclaim in the auto press, but the TDI feels more potent (and indeed, actually is quicker in some real life driving situations), while offering a ridiculous advantage in fuel economy
I routinely exceed EPA fuel economy figures. Achieving north of 30 MPG in city driving (albeit not stop-and-go, bumper-to-bumper traffic jams) is common, and cruising at 75 MPH has yielded 40 MPG on road trips. My total average fuel economy in my fist year of ownership in very mixed driving is over 33 MPG--an incredible feat for a 4,300 pound all-wheel drive luxury vehicle that sprints from zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds.
I had a 2014 A7 as a loaner for a week, putting more than 700 miles on it (and which I reviewed on this site, too). Not only did fuel economy underperform EPA figures (while my diesel overperforms), the engine felt less potent in almost all real world driving situations. With the exception of winding the tachometer to 7,000 RPMs, which most A6 drivers don't do often, all activity that occurs in more normal rev ranges makes the TDI feel MUCH stronger. The rush of torque that pins you to the driver's seat just barely off idle is highly addictive--and conspicuously absent in the gas engine.
In response to diesel questions that (mostly older) folks ask me all the time, no objectionable noise, no smell, no cold starting problems, no gelling fuel problems, and no smoke--ever. Yes, the soundtrack is different. It is totally imperceptible at speed. At idle and off the line, there is a distinctly different sort of baritone sound and slightly more engine vibration, but not objectionable. This still feels and sounds like a very sophisticated, refined luxury performance car.
I carry adult passengers frequently. They will sometimes ask, when they hear and feel the auto engine start-stop at stop lights, if it is a hybrid. No one ever guessed it was a diesel until I told them, "No, even better, it's a clean diesel, offering much better performance, similar fuel economy, super clean emissions, and no chemical cocktail of lithium ion batteries."
Should you buy the diesel? For almost everyone, it is the better performing, more enjoyable, and vastly more fuel efficient choice. You simply must test drive to appreciate.
Should you splurge for the mechanically identical, but more distinctive back-end styled, A7? Probably not. As I concluded in my review of that car, which I really wanted to love, most people are better off saving the several thousand dollar premium charged for the A7 and using it for some indulgent options packages on the A6. My A6 is very well equipped with thousands of dollars of options that were lacking on the A7 loaner I drove, yet my A6 stickered for close to $5,000 less.