We had trouble getting a handle on the dimensions of the 2007 Audi A6. Inside the cabin, we felt as if it were a big monster of a European sedan. Looking at it among other cars, it seemed more in the midsize range. Driving the A6, it felt almost like an A4, but with substantially more power. And all these perceptions work to the A6's advantage.
We had the top-level A6 sedan, powered by a 4.2-liter V-8, a step above the base level 3.2-liter V-6 version. The A6 represents a long leap over the Audi A4 in cabin luxury, and a pretty significant price increase, as well. But at a little more than a foot longer than the A4, the A6 isn't really all that big.
The A6 embodies the look of a refined European sedan. There are no harsh edges and the roofline has a pleasing curve, which, unfortunately, compromises rear-seat headroom. An extra set of side windows aft of the rear-seat side windows lets in a little extra light and prevent an overly wide C-pillar. The A6 sports slight wheel flairs and a front end that looks as if its various parts are precisely fitted together. The grille looks oversize, the better to feed the beast under the hood.
With the Technology package, our test A6 offered all the amenities we could want. Its Bluetooth hands-free cell phone system is excellent, the Bose audio system sounds very good, and the navigation got us where we wanted to go. We also got to try out Audi's iPod integration.
Test the tech: Backward slalom
Among the features listed as part of the Technology package was the Advanced Parking System. After putting the car in reverse a couple of times, we realized that this system consists of a backup camera overlaid with distance and direction lines, along with an audible parking distance warning. Because Audi's press materials highlighted this feature, we decided to put it to the test by running a backward slalom.
We constructed a fairly tight slalom course, as we didn't expect to be driving particularly fast in reverse. Cunningham went first, putting the car in reverse gear and gunning the accelerator. The LCD showed the line of pylons behind the car clearly. Cunningham made it through the first set, but it quickly became obvious that he wouldn't make the next one. The pylon loomed in the LCD view, and even with the wheel cranked hard, the direction lines showed the pylon in the path of the car. Cunningham continued in reverse until he tapped the pylon, disqualifying him from the race.