By Colin Ryan
Style, tech, space, and grace
Superb S6 model
Extreme RS 6 Avant wagon version
No plug-in hybrid or all-electric versions
Premium trim gains more standard equipment
45 TFSI variant now eligible for Black Optic package
RS 6 Avant offers optional RS Design package
Price: The 2022 Audi A6 lineup starts at $55,400.
The 2022 Audi A6 premium midsize sedan competes in a class of perfect cars. The size, style, equipment, tech, and driving talents are all here in virtually ideal amounts. Just as they are in the A6’s German rivals.
Not every buyer of luxury cars needs the space or indulgence of a Mercedes-Benz S-class. It might be argued that anything bigger and plusher than an Audi A6, BMW /zigman2/quotes/202432319/delayed XE:BMW -0.21% 5 Series, or Mercedes-Benz E-Class could be seen as overdoing it.
This current generation of Audi A6 is the fifth, which made its debut for the 2019 model year. Everything is fresh, then, including some aspects like wireless Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +2.62% CarPlay smartphone integration that are still a rarity. Anyone considering a luxury midsize sedan really needs the A6 on their list.
The S6 amps up the performance factor, and the awesome RS 6 Avant is seriously special. The 2022 Audi A6 Allroad wagon/crossover is reviewed separately.
2022 Audi A6 pricing
In Premium trim and with the 45 TFSI drivetrain, the 2022 Audi A6 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $55,400 plus destination charges.
The most expensive A6, before getting into S6 territory, is the 55 TFSI Prestige at $69,500. This version has plenty of equipment as standard and we could only add about another $5k in options.
The S6 super-sporty sedan is $81,500, and the RS 6 Avant hyper-sporty wagon comes in at $112k.
Checking out the competition, the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class are priced similarly. The Genesis G80 begins a few thousand less, while the Lexus ES looks like the bargain of the class, as long as buyers are happy to forgo any hints of sportiness.
The KBB.com Fair Purchase Price can show you what others in your area paid for their new A6. So it’s worth having a look before walking into the Audi dealer, checkbook in hand. Lexus enjoys the best resale values; the A6 is about average.
Driving the 2022 Audi A6
Although BMW has the reputation for having a driver’s edge and Mercedes-Benz covers profound comfort, the Audi A6 is still an entertaining car on a canyon road as well as a great companion for long trips. It flows nicely through corners, even with its regular suspension.
All-wheel drive is standard in every 2022 A6 and its high-performance variants. In the 45 and 55 drivetrains, it uses what Audi calls Ultra technology, which predicts how much torque should be sent to which wheels for optimum traction and grip. The normal bias, though, is more toward the front wheels than the rears.
Naturally, the 2022 S6 is on another level, with greater power and precision. The balance of extra equipment and accessible performance really makes this car a great package overall. The optional rear-wheel steering also increases the car’s agility.
The 591-horsepower RS 6 Avant has a particular niche appeal, but we’re grateful Audi is bringing it over to the U.S. It pays homage to the old RS 2 Avant from the mid-1990s that was really a Porsche with a wagon body. Weirdly, there’s a rival: the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon that packs an extra 12 horsepower. How fast is the RS 6 Avant? It blasts from standstill to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 190 mph.
Just as Audi exteriors are works of automotive art, so are the company’s cabins. Not in overly ornate ways, however. The interior of the 2022 A6 is imbued with a clean, modern elegance. Undoubtedly upscale and tech-rich, yet still welcoming and comfortable.
Occupant space is plentiful. Rear legroom of 37.4 inches is better than the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but the Genesis G80 and Lexus ES have more. Trunk volume is 13.7 cubic feet, which is roomy yet about average for the class. It’s hard to imagine anyone buying the ballistic RS 6 Avant primarily for its wagon practicality, but there’s 30 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats.
Depending on color choice (white and black don’t cost extra), the 2022 A6 premium midsize sedan could be a car that blends in with the rest of the traffic (assuming we’re talking about well-off neighborhoods here) or stands out as something special.
That’s not to say it’s bland. There’s a subtle sharpness to the looks. But with other manufacturers following the “let’s come up with a giant grille and stick a car behind it” approach, it’s heartening to see Audi retain its sense of proportion.
The whole 2022 A6/S6/RS 6 Avant range is offered with a Black Optic package, making various exterior elements the same color as an accountant’s favorite ink. For further differentiation, the S6/RS 6 cars also have extra aerodynamic treatments and quad exhaust outlets.
Matrix-Design LED headlights Naturally, they’re way too sophisticated to be explained in one paragraph, but these units contain lots of small LEDs that can be activated or turned off to create as much illumination as possible in front of the 2022 A6, yet still reduce glare for oncoming vehicles.
Bang & Olufsen audio systems One of the top audiophile brands, B&O supplies a 705-watt/16-speaker option for the A6 cars, and an air-shaking 1,820-watt/19-speaker setup for the S6 and RS 6 Avant.
More standard equipment makes it into the 2022 A6, such as a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen (replacing an 8.8-inch unit), the latest version of the Virtual Cockpit 12.3-inch digital driver information display, rear side airbags, and direct tire pressure monitoring (where each wheel has a sensor).
Other features in the entry level Premium trim include 19-inch alloy wheels, powered panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated/8-way power-adjustable front seats, and a power-adjustable steering column.
The infotainment system also comes with navigation, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration (with wireless CarPlay), and four USB ports. In the safety department are automatic high beams, forward-collision mitigation, front/rear parking sensors, and lane-departure warning.
A Convenience package for the Premium trim adds wireless charging, phone signal booster, blind-spot monitoring, rear collision mitigation, and a top-view/360-degree camera system. All these items are standard in the next-up Premium Plus. This trim also brings adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist/Turn Assist, and Active Lane Assist.
Premium Plus qualifies for an Executive package that includes quad-zone automatic climate control, heated/ventilated/12-way power-adjustable front seats, heated rear seats, and a powered open/close trunk lid. These two lower trims are also offered with a sport suspension that comes with 20-inch alloy wheels.
The Prestige trim (not available with the 45 TFSI drivetrain) has the Executive package’s contents, plus a head-up display and road sign recognition. Buyers may specify higher-quality leather upholstery.
The S6 comes in Premium Plus and Prestige trims, with most of the same equipment as the 2022 A6, but enhanced by a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension, 21-inch alloy wheels, nicer leather, and an S Performance setting for the driving modes. It’s also eligible for night vision with large animal/pedestrian detection, rear-wheel steering, and a sport rear differential.
Some of the more advanced driver aids are optional in the RS 6 Avant, which is also offered with a Carbon Optic package (22-inch alloy wheels, carbon-fiber exterior elements), ceramic brake discs, and a top speed raised to 190 mph.
Engine and transmission
Both engines in the 2022 A6, as well as the V6 in the S6 and the V8 in the RS 6 Avant, are augmented by a mild hybrid setup to optimize fuel efficiency and make those engine restarts (after stopping at idle) much smoother. In the case of the S6 and RS 6 Avant, it also energizes an adaptive suspension.
The 45 TFSI drivetrain has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit making 261 horsepower. A turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 is in the 55 TFSI setup, producing 335 horsepower.
The S6 has a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 developing 444 horsepower. And the RS 6 Avant has a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 generating an awesome 591 horsepower. Premium gasoline is recommended for every engine.
The 45 and 55 drivetrains include a 7-speed dual-clutch automated transmission. The higher achievers have an 8-speed automatic transmission. A version of Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard across the range.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (45 TFSI)261 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (55 TFSI)335 horsepower @ 5,000-6,400 rpm369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,370-4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg
2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (S6)444 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm443 lb-ft of torque @ 2,700 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (RS 6 Avant)591 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm590 lb-ft of torque @ 2,050 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg