When choosing a midsize luxury car, it helps to know how the main rivals in the field stack up against each other. The 2010 Audi A6 is one of the most advanced designs ever produced by the company famed for its quattro® all-wheel drive and amazing interiors. Putting the Audi A6 up against its main German competitor – the Mercedes-Benz E-Class – reveals differences between the two automobiles that stack the equation in favor of the Audi.
To begin with, the 2010 Audi A6 (MSRP $45,200) comes out on top when comparing six-cylinder powerplants. The base Audi A6 3.2 trim starts out with a 3.2-liter V6 tuned to provide 265 hp – comparable to the entry-level Mercedes-Benz E350’s 268-hp 3.5-liter V6, but offered at $3,400 less than the E350. Audi then steps up with a mid-tier trim level – the 3.0T. The Audi A6 3.0T features a 3.0-liter V6 that makes use of turbocharging and Fuel Stratified Injection (TFSI) direct fuel injection technology to effortlessly deliver 300 hp and 301 lb/ft of torque. Not only does power go up, but also quattro all-wheel drive is included as standard equipment. From a value perspective, the A6 3.0T clocks in at almost $1,800 less than the 4MATIC all-wheel drive edition of the less powerful E350. For buyers concerned with getting as much luxury car as possible for their dollar, this is another very compelling argument in the Audi’s favor.
It is also worth noting that the Audi quattro all-wheel drive system in the A6 sedan is one of the most advanced examples of its kind. Splitting power so that 40 percent of engine torque is sent to the front wheels and 60 percent is sent to the rear wheels during regular driving, the quattro system is able to preserve sporty driving dynamics while also retaining the ability to instantly – and intelligently – redistribute output to whichever wheel has the most traction when conditions turn slippery.
In terms of technology, the Audi A6 also has a lot going for it that the Mercedes-Benz E-Class simply can’t match. An excellent example is Audi’s next-generation Multi Media Interface (MMI) Navigation Plus system. Matched with a seven-inch full-color LCD screen, this unique vehicle interface comes with a 40GB hard drive and complete voice control over the vehicle’s entertainment, hands-free phone and navigation systems. Most importantly, the MMI Navigation Plus interface features NVIDIA®-powered graphics processing, which means that it is capable of offering 3D views of major American cities that include local buildings and landmarks. This provides a much more intuitive and immersive navigation experience, one the E-Class cannot duplicate.
The Audi A6 also offers a value advantage when it comes to the MMI Navigation Plus system, as it is standard equipment, even on the A6 3.2. For those interested in even the basic navigation system offered by Mercedes-Benz, the company offers it as an extra-cost option. Not only is navigation optional, it is part of a $3,950 Premium 1 Package that forces buyers to pay for a host of other equipment that comes along with the feature, whether they like it or not. When looking at the bottom line, adding navigation to the Mercedes-Benz E350 increases the price differential between the base model E-Class and the equivalent Audi A6 to a whopping $7,350.
Continuing on the technology front, the Audi 3.2 is also available with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This elite unit is designed to keep the vehicle’s motor at an rpm level that offers the best combination of power and fuel efficiency, and represents the fine point of automatic transmission development. While Audi has been perfecting its CVT designs for years, Mercedes-Benz has yet to step into this advanced automotive arena, preferring to stick with the traditional automatics found in even the latest E-Class sedans. Once again, the brand is forced to cede technological leadership to Audi.
The 2010 Audi A6 is a versatile performer that also offers technological leadership in a very competitive segment of the market where failing to embrace new concepts and ideas can often see a particular automobile stranded at the back of the pack.