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With its solid performance and high-quality interior design, the 2021 Audi A6 is a stand-out competitor in the luxury mid-size SUV segment. After being redesigned in 2019, the A6 has been receiving even better reviews from buyers and car gurus alike. The dual touchscreen has made quite the splash, but it does mean that there is a totally different control system to get used to for features like the audio controls and the built-in navigation. Sure, this system is a lot more complex than the previous one, but once you navigate the learning curve, you will find that the dual-screen system is much more functional than the previous iteration.
This vehicle is at the pinnacle of technology for its segment, and its classy and comfortable interior styling make it an even more attractive buy. There are, however, some compromises made in the name of performance. If you go for the 21-inch wheels and the lowered sport-tuned suspension, you will find that the ride quality is pretty stiff and will generate a fair amount of road noise. Still, the front seats are padded for comfort, and even though little bumps will make their way into the cabin, they will only be felt once. The climate control system is easy to use and will quickly pump out air at the temperature you need to make the cabin comfy.
As far as its performance goes, the A6 can be quite the athlete if you properly equip it. The turbo V6 engine is a real 'must' for power, and if you do get the sticky summer tires, you will enjoy a nice amount of road grip. On the V6 turbo, the A6 can make it to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, which makes it one of the fastest times in this segment. Not to mention, you get controls that feel exact: strong linear braking, a super short stopping distance from 60 mph of 103 feet, impeccable handling, and the ability to quickly change directions upon input.
Utility, however, could be better. The A6 is a respectable as a people-hauler and can easily fit most child car safety seats into the LATCH system in the rear. Unfortunately, there are few areas for storing small items, and the ones that are available seem somewhat small. The cargo area itself is also smaller than average for this segment, coming in at 13.7 cubic feet of space with all seats left in place. The trunk is deep-set, and there is a low lift-over height that help to compensate, but the amount of space trails behind what you get in most of the A6's competitors.
The 2021 Audi A6 offers just three trim levels to choose from: the Premium, Premium Plus, and the Prestige. The Premium and Premium Plus come with the standard 45 TFSI engine but can be optionally equipped with the 55 TFSI, which comes standard on the Prestige. All offer quite a few standard features as well as some optional packages to help you customize the A6. So, which trim level might be the best fit for you? Read through this trim level comparison review to find out.
Compare the 2021 Audi A6 Premium vs Premium Plus - What is the Difference?
The 2021 Audi A6 trim level starts with the base Premium trim level. As already mentioned, the Premium is powered by the standard 45 TFSI engine. This engine is a 2.0-L 4-cylinder that generates 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Of course, it can also be paired with the 55 TFSI, which is the turbocharged 3.0-L V6 that has a power output of 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Instead of the 45's cast-iron engine block, the 55 gets upgraded to aluminum alloy. It also takes the acceleration time from 6.1 seconds down to just under 5 seconds. Also, take note that the 55 has a mild hybrid system, meaning that there is a 48-volt battery and recuperation capability built into the system. The 45 only has a 12-volt mild hybrid system. Both engines come paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel-drive.
Both trim levels come with a standard 5-link front independent steel spring suspension as well as one for the rear. A sport suspension is optional on these trims. You also get an electromechanical parking brake and standard multi-step anti-corrosion protective measurements taken by Audi on the steel and aluminum lightweight body design.
Now, standard features are just as important as mechanical specs, and they could make a difference in which trim you decide to buy. Both the Premium and Premium Plus come with standard airbags for the driver and front passenger (including knee air bags), a tire pressure monitoring system, the ISOFIX child seat mounting system.
The Premium's exterior design - which is essentially the same on the Premium Plus - includes dual exhaust outlets, a floor jack and vehicle tool kit, and full LED headlights and LED taillights with dynamic turn signs. 19-inch bi-color wheels done in a 5-spoke design come standard, as do all-season tires. The side and rear windows all have heat insulation on them, and there is aluminum trim that envelops them on the outside.
Very few interior design elements differ between these two trim levels. They both share the standard storage package, a power panoramic sunroof, door sill inlays done in aluminum, a tri-zone automatic climate control system, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with an integrated Tolle module and a digital compass, and interior ambient lighting. They also have a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with multiple functions mounted on top of it, but the one on the Premium Plus gets wrapped in leather. There is a standard front center arm rest, illuminated vanity mirrors on both front sun visors, carpeted floor mats, and wood inlays done in dark brown walnut. The Premium Plus upgrades the interior to leatherette with contrast stitching on the knee bolster and arm rest.
As far as the seating itself goes, that remains the same between the two trim levels. The rear seats are 40/20/40-split folding with a center arm rest, and there is power lumbar support on the 4-way driver seat. You also get leather upholstery on the seats and heating on the standard front seats.
Where the biggest changes occur is with the infotainment features. Both trim levels come with Audi pre sense front, Audi drive select, and a trial subscription to Audi connect CARE and security services. The Parking System Plus comes equipped, but the Premium Plus gets upgraded to Audi pre sense basic and rear collision prevention and preparation system. The Audi music interface includes USB charging ports for the rear, and the Premium's basic cruise control gets upgraded to an adaptive cruise control system with turn assist and traffic jam assist on the Premium Plus. Also, the rear-view camera on the Premium is swapped out for the top-view camera system with 360-degree surround view on the Premium Plus. High beam assist comes equipped too.
The Premium's driver information center with a 7-inch color display gets upgraded to the Audi virtual cockpit on the Premium Plus. This gives you a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster display with three modes from which you can view data: Classic, Dynamic, and Sport. The MMI Navigation plus system comes with MMI touch response technology, and the base 8.8-inch infotainment display gets upgraded to the 10.1-inch system on the Premium Plus. A trunk lid release is standard equipment, as is smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Bluetooth is standard on the Premium, and the Premium Plus has wireless phone charging with the Audi phone box feature. There is even a 6-month trial subscription to the Audi connect PRIME and Audi connect PLUS online services; you can choose to keep it or let the subscription expire if you don't dig these services.
On top of all that, the Premium Plus adds a stellar Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System and Audi side assist with rear cross traffic alert.
Compare the 2021 Audi A6 Premium Plus vs Prestige - What is the Difference?
What does the Prestige trim level offer that the two lower trim levels do not? Well, quite a few things, to be quite honest. And it mainly revolves around a combination of a sporty performance and more high-end features. Bear in mind that the 55 TFSI is the only powertrain available on this trim level.
Exterior features see a few upgrades. The LED taillights gain a cool animation function, and the front and rear doors get upgraded to dual pane acoustic glass. There are also S line badges equipped on the fenders, just to let everyone else know you are riding in a sport-oriented SUV.
Inside, you get quite the boost as well. The door sill inlays get changed to S line stainless steel material, and there is an upgraded air conditioning system that gets swapped in, instead of the tri-zone automatic climate control system from the lower trim levels. This makes it a 4-zone climate control system instead! The cabin also receives multi-colored contoured/ambient interior lighting and a power sun shade for the rear with manual sun shades on the rear side windows.
There are also soft-close front doors, 4-way power lumbar support on the front passenger's seat, heating and ventilation on both front seats, and heating for the rear outboard seats.
Additional infotainment features on the Prestige trim level include a power trunk lid opener and closer, a head-up display that projects driving data onto the front windshield for the driver to read, and a traffic sign recognition function.
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Which Trim to Choose?
Which of the 2021 Audi A6's three trim levels should you get? Which one offers the best deal? What we recommend doing is going for the base Premium trim level but getting the 55 TFSI engine equipped, not the 45. The 45 is too under-powered, and the V6-powered 55 is only $1,200 over the cost of the 45. For the massive power boost, this extra cost is totally worth it.
So, why the Premium trim level? It offers a lot of features for the cost and leaves plenty of room for you to customize it. We do recommend adding the Driver Assistance Package, which will give you adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane centering, and other helpful driver aids for a relatively justifiable added price. These features all seem to work pretty well and definitely serve important purposes. They do come standard on the Prestige trim level, but that trim level will make your total cost jump quite a bit. And, if you don't want these driver aids, you don't have to get them with the Premium.
All in all, this model year's Audi A6 is a top-notch contender in an ever-growing segment. As far as midsize luxury SUVs go, you cannot do too much better than the A6's stand-out driving performance and plethora of creature comforts.
• Compare the 2020 Audi A6 Trim Levels