Used Vehicle Review: Audi A6, 2012-2017

Vehicle Type

Luxury Sedan

History/Description

Overall performance, feel, design and content seem to have hit the mark for the majority of owners.

Do you like selection, traction, and luxury fanciness? If so, and if you’re in the market for a new-to-you luxury sedan, the Audi A6 is a worthy candidate for consideration of your used luxury sedan needs. Look for leather, wood and aluminum trimmings within the cabin, generous seating for four or five adults, and no shortage of luxury sedan must-haves, including a full suite of automatic and connectivity features, premium audio, memory seating, navigation, a high-tech MMI central command interface, and plenty more. Don’t miss the available head up display system, or the potent LED headlamps.

The Audi Drive Select system is also available, allowing drivers to effectively ‘toggle’ various driving modes that match their current intentions. Adaptive suspension and a redesigned power steering system furthered the A6’s ability to deliver on-demand comfort, agility and performance. Handsome looks and selection galore helped round out the package.

Engines

Used copies of the A6 will offer up a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine (211 hp), a 3.0L supercharged gasoline V6 (310 hp), or a 3.0L turbodiesel TDI V6 (428 lb-ft). Look for an eight-speed transmission with paddle-shifters on all models. If you’re set on a TDI-powered model, you’ll need to shop a 2014 or newer unit.

What Owners Like

Owner reviews reveal a community of largely-satisfied drivers who enjoy pleasing fuel efficiency with any engine option, pleasing performance, and confidence-inspiring all-season traction. Space, a feel of luxury, styling, and high-tech feature content are highly rated, too. Many drivers appreciate the high-tech assistance systems, and most report a stable and planted feel in all manoeuvres. Overall performance, feel, design and content seem to have hit the mark for the majority of owners. Finally, the A6’s seats are almost universally praised for their softness and comfort.

What Owners Dislike

Owner-stated complaints are few and far between, though many centre around a relatively steep learning curve to the central command interface, and some of the high-tech features.

Here’s a look at a few owner reviews of the 2012+ Audi A6

The Test Drive

Depending on your budget and needs, finding a newer A6 from this generation with plenty of remaining warranty, and available add-on warranty, is a strong possibility. A model sold as part of a dealer Certified Pre Owned (CPO) program, with any available extended warranty coverage, is ideal for maximum peace of mind if your budget allows for it. Due to potentially pricier-than-average replacement part and labor costs in the event of a repair, the used A6 is likely a good candidate for add-on warranty coverage, for many shoppers.

And though an extended warranty can add a layer of protection and peace of mind, shoppers are still advised to make several important checks of the used A6, and to be aware of a few things, for successful shopping, and especially if they’re after an older, higher-mileage unit from this generation.

First, familiarize yourself with this helpful discussion thread, in which A6 owners advise a potential new-to-the-brand owner on some considerations as he debates buying a higher-mileage used A6. The gist? Most owners report few issues, though they note that as a top-line luxury car, repairs and parts can be expensive, and even moreso if the vehicle has been poorly maintained in the past. The A6 was a pricey luxury car when new, and will turn in pricey luxury car repair bills should any work be required.

Try the brakes on your test drive, several times, with a keen eye for signs of pulsations and vibrations that could indicate a problem. Brake with light, and then moderate pressure, several times, to try and coax any pulsation out of a potentially warped set of brake rotors. Though relatively rare, owners of earlier A6 units from this generation have reported premature brake component wear on occasion.

Next up, check the Auto Stop system, which shuts the engine down in many cases once the vehicle comes to a stop, to eliminate idling. Be sure the Auto Stop system is turned on (it self-engages whenever you start the engine), and stop the car, several times, for several seconds, throughout your test drive. While the engine is off, all accessories, including the climate control, stereo and wipers, should remain operational. When the brake pedal is released, the engine should start back up instantly. If this isn’t the case, be sure to have the system inspected by a qualified Audi technician before you agree to purchase. In many cases, updated computer software, which controls the system, is the fix. Here’s some more reading on wonky Auto Stop functionality.

Note that a look at the owner’s manual ahead of your test drive to clarify how the system operates may be useful, too.

Another common potential issue with fussy navigation systems can also be addressed, in many cases, with updated software for the system, available from your dealer. In fact, as many issues with newer, high-tech cars like this one are corrected with software, buying a used A6 that’s always been dealer-serviced on schedule, can reduce the likelihood of experiencing issues. The reason? Dealers often install the latest available software to correct issues with a half-dozen or more systems when the vehicle is in for regular servicing.

Considering a model with the 2.0T engine? Be aware that in numerous other applications, the owners community has documented issues with timing chains and timing chain tensioners, which could fail and cause engine damage, possibly of the catastrophic variety. Some owners have pre-emptively replaced timing chains and tensioners on their own dime with revised parts, to avoid potential problems down the line. Another alternative is to select another engine: the 3.0T unit looks solid, though shoppers should have the thermostat, water pump and cooling system inspected for signs of leakage or any other issues before agreeing to buy.

The available TDI diesel engine looks fairly solid too, though it should have its fuel system and emissions system, as well as its sensor network, professionally assessed prior to purchase for maximum peace of mind.

Three more notes on A6 engines.

First, with any gasoline engine option, a computer system scan for stored trouble codes is highly advised. Stored misfire codes can actually indicate a problem with excessive valve-gunk buildup, or even issues with the timing system, on the 2.0T unit. If the engine has any codes stored within its computer, seek out a recommendation from your service advisor regarding how, or if, to proceed with the vehicle in question.

Second, note that some owners alter the supercharger or turbocharger system with non-factory parts or software to generate more power and performance. The average driver should likely avoid a model with modifications like this, as they can adversely affect engine reliability, durability, and void any remaining warranty coverage, even if the parts are set back to stock before a visit to the dealer.

Third, and this one’s important, be sure that spark plug change intervals have been followed closely, and plan on continuing to follow them during your ownership. Failing to replace the A6’s spark plugs on time, a part of regular maintenance, can have a snowball effect and cause issues with valve gunk, misfiring, and even damage to certain engine components.

Other relatively rare issues to be on the lookout for include differential fluid leaks, radiator leaks, and a busted centre console latch. Here’s some more information.

The Verdict

Thanks to a fairly large and active online owner’s community, shoppers after a used A6 have plenty of information available to help guide them effectively through the selection and purchase process and into a used Audi A6. Like any used luxury model, the A6 is not trouble free – though most issues are easily detectable and addressed via a pre-purchase inspection. For most shoppers, a six-cylinder model sold via a dealer CPO program and carrying any extended warranty available, will be the best choice.

A short list of recalls.

Crash Test Ratings

IIHS: Top Safety Pick(2012)

NHTSA: 5/5 Stars (2014)

A great candidate for extended warranty coverage 3/2/2017 6:27:03 AM