Midsize Audi Review
Fri, 21 Feb 2014
That life is not fair is one of its most important lessons. Some are born with what others work for; some are born to be who others work for; and some are born without any real concept of what work even is, but they get elected to public office just the same.
If you’re the sort who’s upset by such karmic imbalances, Audi’s mid-size range might bother you, as these cars have been given more than their fair share of gifts. They certainly bother BMW and Mercedes-Benz. There’s nothing the Audis don’t do well. When you’ve got 1000 freeway miles separating the morning’s first cup of coffee and the comfort of your own bed, the A6, S6, and A7 are as serene as a suite at the Trump Plaza. But when your fortunes take a turn toward blind crests and devilish twists, the Audis prove their adaptability with precision steering and body control. No matter the task, an overwhelming sense of solidity and unflappability pervades every move these Audis make.
They are as amazingly designed as they are engineered, with deceptively simple exterior styling. And their interiors are not just well ordered, but meticulously and artfully so. Woods that look as though they might once have been the end tables in Neuschwanstein Castle segue into spears of satin chrome and rich stitched leathers, lending the impression that Audi is somehow budgeting three to five times more on materials than its competitors. Regardless of whether they control the HVAC, audio system, or the side mirrors, knurled knobs provide a rare consistency of feel thanks to a faction of the interior-design team that focuses solely on haptics, the science of touch. And the MMI infotainment system [see below] sets the standard for the rest of the industry.
Between the A6 and A7, Audi offers a choice of maximum passenger volume or a seductive roofline atop the same faultless mechanical base. Powertrain choices range from hyper-efficient—38 mpg highway with the 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6—to simply hyper—420 horsepower from the S6’s twin-turbo V-8. Audi offers a 2.0-liter engine in the A6, but, as good as that engine is, Audi has never provided that model for evaluation. Audi’s wing in the 10Best clubhouse is reserved for six- and eight-cylinder engines. With all of these various powertrain and body-style combinations, there’s no way to go wrong, just a handful of different ways to go right.
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