Very few luxury cars are as versatile as the 2021 Audi A6. The base model is a gas-sipping sedan powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Meanwhile the top-tier RS6 Avant is a performance wagon powered by a monstrous twin-turbocharged V8 engine. Between those two extremes sits the sporty S6 sedan and the A4 Allroad, a high-riding luxury wagon. Regardless of the body style or engine, all A6 models come equipped with a luxurious cabin and loads of tech. Continue reading to learn more about the 2021 A6.
Note: If you’re not familiar with Audi naming conventions, it can get a it confusing. Both the A6 and S6 are traditional sedans, except the S6 is considered the “sportier” version. Despite their appearances being almost identical, Audi lists the A6 and S6 (and their various trimlines) as different models on their website. However, they are more like additional versions of the same sedan.
New for 2021
Audi made slight tweaks to several A6 trim levels for 2021. New standard features include 19-inch wheels, keyless entry and an integrated toll-road payment device for the base Premium trim. There’s also adaptive cruise control with active lane assist for the Premium Plus model and power rear window and manual side window sunshades for the Prestige trim. New standard features for the S6 include 21-inch wheels, Audi’s virtual cockpit and carbon twill cabin inlays.
Exterior Styling: More Stately Than Sporty
Audi isn’t known for taking risks with design. The 2021 A6 is (mostly) no exception. The A6 and A6 Allroad have subdued, modern styling highlighted by an aggressive grille and futuristic head and tail light designs. The S6 is a little less buttoned-down. It has a more aggressive stance courtesy of its larger wheels, with its bright red brake calipers and quad exhaust further highlighting its status as a sports sedan.
Still, the S6 skews more toward luxury than performance. However, the RS 6 Avant is a different story with its low-ride height, massive front air intakes, beefy diffuser and dual exhaust. Overall, the A6 doesn’t necessarily stand out in a crowd. However, it’s a sharp sedan that won’t look out of place in any luxury car parking lot.
What’s Under the Hood: Something for Everyone
The 2021 A6 offers four different engine options. There’s a turbocharged four-cylinder, a turbocharged V6, a twin-turbocharged V6, and finally a twin-turbocharged V8. The A6 is available with both a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque and a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that kicks out 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Both engines send power to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Those craving more power will want to check out the S6 instead. Its twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6, which is rated at 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, is mated to an eight-speed auto. If that’s not enough ponies, there’s always the RS 6 Avant and its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that is good for 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Like the S6, the RS 6 Avant comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The A6 isn’t exactly a slouch. Car and Driver recorded a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds in the V6 version. That’s actually 0.3 seconds faster than Audi’s official rating. The outlet also praised the A6’s cornering, handling, and steering. However, they concluded that the A6 was still more of a luxury cruiser than a true sports sedan.
The S6 skews a bit sportier. CNET commended its power delivery and its handling, steering weight, and brakes. According to Audi, the S6 will do 0-to-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. It’s a respectable time, but one that pales in comparison to what the RS 6 Avant is capable of.
Audi’s performance wagon sprints from 0-to-60 in just 3.5 seconds. It can hit 190 mph when equipped with the optional carbon ceramic brake package. In addition to a 591-hp engine, the RS 6 Avant also features a self-leveling suspension system, optional all-wheel steering system, and adjustable suspension system.
As expected, the A6 with the turbocharged four-cylinder wears the fuel economy crown. That engine is rated at 23/31/26 mpg (city, highway, combined) by the EPA. The more-powerful V6 comes in at 22/29/24 mpg. The A6 Allroad, which is only available with the V6, is rated at a dismal 20/26/22 mpg.
Despite its focus on performance, the S6 actually does decent on gas. It’s rated at 18/28/22 mpg by the EPA. As expected, the RS 6 Avant is a pig at the pump, averaging just 15/22/17 mpg. But who cares, since that V8 will have you roaring around the roads.
What’s Inside: A Luxurious and Cutting-Edge Cabin
Audi is known for building some of the best interiors around, and the 2021 A6 doesn’t disappoint. It’s the perfect marriage of modern luxury and tech. The 2021 A6 comes standard with a leather interior, wood inlays, a power panoramic sunroof, tri-zone climate control, and heated front seats that are eight-way power-adjustable.
Optional features include 18-way power adjustable and ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, heated rear seats, power soft-closing doors, a power rear sunshade, and upgraded leather upholstery. The A6 offers 13.7 cubic feet of trunk space, while the A6 Allroad and RS 6 Avant offer up to 30 cubic feet of storage space.
Speaking of technology, the 2021 A6 comes standard with two infotainment touchscreens. The top one measures 8.8 inches and controls the radio and sound. Meanwhile the bottom screen measures 8.6 inches and is home to the climate control system and other settings. Dual-screen infotainment systems can sometimes be overly complicated and cumbersome. However, the general consensus among reviewers is that Audi’s system, which provides haptic feedback, works pretty well. Additional standard tech features include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, GPS navigation, and a 10-speaker sound system.
Optional tech includes Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, a customizable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch upper touchscreen, a 16- and 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and a wireless charging pad.
Standard safety tech and driver’s assistance aids include front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, and a forward collision-warning system with automatic emergency braking. Unfortunately, a lean list of standard safety tech is, well, standard in the luxury segment. The good news is that Audi offers a laundry list of optional safety features, including a night vision camera, heads-up display, surround-view parking camera, and adaptive cruise control. It will just cost you a bit extra.
Pricing and Trim Levels: Performance Comes at a Price
The 2021 Audi A6 starts at $54,900 and maxes out at $109,000 for the RS 6 Avant. Of course, very few consumers are looking to spend over $100,000 on a luxury performance wagon. Instead, most buyers will focus their attention on the A6 and its three different trim levels. Here’s a quick rundown.
Those on the hunt for performance at a value will want to consider the A6’s entry-level trim, which can be had with the available turbocharged V6 for $59,800.
The Premium Plus is available with both the four-cylinder and turbocharged six-cylinder engine. They are priced at $58,800 and $63,700, respectively. While more power is always better, the four-cylinder version is actually the more intriguing option. It’s cheaper than the V6-powered A6 Premium and comes with significantly more standard features, including an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system, surround-view camera, the larger top touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
The Prestige lives up to its name with standard ventilated 12-way power-adjustable front seats, four-zone automatic climate control, and a power-opening trunk. The Prestige comes standard with the turbocharged V6 and has an MSRP of $69,500.
The A6 Allroad is offered in just two trims, which match the features offered by the A6 sedan, but only with the turbocharged V6 engine. The A6 Premium Plus starts at $65,900 and the Prestige is priced at $71,400. The S6 is the same story but with higher price tags. The S6 Premium Plus and S6 Prestige are priced at $74,400 and $81,100, respectively. The features are mostly the same, but you’re paying more for that power.
The Last Word
It’s inaccurate to call the 2021 Audi A6 a luxury sedan. That’s because it’s also a sports sedan, family hauler, and a pseudo supercar. It just depends which version you’re driving in. The A6 is trying to be all things to all people. And it mostly succeeds, making it one of the most interesting options in its fiercely competitive segment. If you’re on the hunt for a tech-savvy luxury car (and are the type of person who can never have too many options to choose from) then you definitely need to check out the 2021 Audi A6.