What other cars were you considering other than the A6? I'm about 4 months down the road when my current lease expires and the A6 is at the top of the list. The only other car I am even considering is the BMW 530i. Here is the way I compare the 2 vehicles:
Exterior: Slight advantage to the A6 (I like both cars, but the Audi has a more unique style)
Interior: Big advantage to the A6. (No explanation needed)
Performance: Advantage to BMW. (A nice handling, well-balanced car plus it's lighter.) In addition, the gas mileage of the BMW is really good in the 6 speed manual. All Audi's seem to be a little porky.
Overall value: Advantage to A6. (When comparing list of standard and optional features, the A6 is around $5000 less the the BMW).
Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
07-15-2005, 10:20 PM
07-16-2005, 04:58 AM
Weather is not a factor, but my current car is quattro and I would definitely miss it.
07-16-2005, 05:26 AM
I too was in a similar quandry, as my new car needs coincided w/ a relocation from SoCal to NoCal. This market segment is crowded w/ loets of contenders/pretenders. Models considered-
Infiniti M45; Acura RL; BMW 5 series; MB E500;
and Jag S Type R.
Final answer: 2005 Audi A6 4.2 S Line
No regrets, and lots of double-takes...
07-16-2005, 06:37 AM
This was a difficult decision to make, and I spent weeks comparing and test-driving to narrow down my choice. I finally went with the A6 but not without alot of angst. The other cars I considered were: Acura RL, BMW 530xi, Infiniti M35x, Lexus GS300 AWD, and the Mercedes E350.
Acura RL: Great car on paper, but didn't quite feel up to task. The interior was really comfortable (great seats, nice layout) and had nice toys (awe-inspiring stereo, XM traffic was suprisingly accurate and useful), but didn't feel "luxury" (like a really nice Honda). The exterior likewise looks nothing special. The drive was rather weak, with lots of body roll and the engine definitely lacked low-end torque. Great price though, nothing was lower. A family cruiser in my opinion, but a great one.
BMW 530xi: first thing that struck me was how ugly the interior was. The wood look plasticky, and the double-hump was awful. The exterior looks really sharp in certain colors, but weird in others. Had most of the toys found in this class, but controlled with the hell-spawned iDrive (I drove a 745 for 2 weeks, and still couldn't fully use the navigation... and I know how the use computers). The car is expensive too, with the options really skyrocketing the price. Still, BMW does what it does best. The drive was fantastic. Feels like a smaller car, the way it moves through the curves you can't help but smile. The power was a bit weak but smooth delivery. I have to say that nothing I drove came that close to the driving feel of the 530xi. But since I'm not going to be racing everyday, I ruled this one out.
Infiniti M35x: I really wanted to like this car. I was excited before I went to the dealership, but left with it off my list. The exterior looked pretty nice but nothing special (think Maxima). On the inside, the car screams IKEA. Tries to be nice but ends up looking cheap, the worst of the class. Switches pulled from Nissans, and the best wood laminate found off of elementary school desks. But the toys, oh the toys. Cooling seats were simply sublime (you can actually feel them unlike the lexus and 745), and the stereo almost made me forget about the wood panelling. Rear DVD entertainment and power seats are great, but I'm not married so not a biggie for me. The driving felt nice, but not fun. Power is there, cornering is mostly there, but somehow it lacked an ectasy feeling. It was also the noisiest cabin, which you care about on long trips with your lady (or partner, to be PC). Value is the best in this class. In the end the interior killed it. For this price I want to feel special, and this car doesn't do it.
Lexus GS300: My second choice. Exterior looks like the Infiniti but had touches that gave it a better feel. The interior was the most comfortable, with the best seats, best controls, and the best stereo (maybe because a smaller space, but sounded better than my home theatre), but looked a bit plain. DVD nav is easiest to use, but the screen resolution and display was grainy and not up to par. The drive, well, flat-out sucked. Like a boat, a slow boat, though the track numbers in car magazine tests say differently. Perhaps Lexus designed the ride this way, since I never felt a bump in the road and the cabin was eerily quiet. Terrific value, just behind the Infiniti. Also, Lexus' reputation for quality and reliabilty are a huge plus, considering how many problems are being found in other cars.
Mercedes E350: Dead last on my list. Price was exorbitant, like I was being mugged. You could skimp on a couple options (which brings the price down alot), but should you have to in this class? Outside was classy and sporty at the same time, the best looking in my opinion. The interior was also really nice and rich. Had all the toys and then some, but the DVD navigation is horrible (screen too low, input ackward). The drive was great, firm without being harsh, good power, good stability through the curves. Have to put it right next to the BMW, and, for some who appreciate smoothness, above it. But price just killed it, and the E350 I wanted was almost in A8 range.
Audi A6: The first time I looked at this car, I didn't really like it. The second time I fell in love with it. Its all the little touches that makes this car the winner. Aluminum trim, solid switches, MMI execution, soft lighting. The outside looks both flashy and plain, but I have to say just behind the E-class and way past the others. Interiors are what Audi is known for, and this one blew the competition out of the water. Nothing could touch it. Seats had that mysterior combination of instant comfort with enough firmness for the long crusing. Layout was near perfect, only wishing the Nav screen was bigger. Stereo was not outstanding to me, but others said it sounded good. Everyone is impressed with the interior, though I really wish it had cooling seats and DVD-video playback. The drive was great, but had its limits. I felt that it matched the BMW for 90% of the driving, but at the extremes it just fell off. Not a super sports car, but a sports car nonetheless, and enough for just about everyone. In the end, the style, the attention to detail, and being great (but not the best) in every category won me over. Still, it was the winner by a hair, with Audi's somewhat shoddy reputation for reliability nearly killing it.
07-16-2005, 06:57 AM
I placed an order for a Liquid Platinum Bourbon Leather M35X with the Journey and Technology Packages (and Sat Radio.) With the factory rear decklid spoiler and splash guards, the MSRP was about $50,500. I had test driven all of the usual suspects and had only sat in the Acura RL at and Lexus the auto show. A key, for me, was the need for AWD.
The Infiniti M35X has a feel that can only be described as "nearly German." The BMW, however, really pushed me away from the Audi A6 TOWARD the Infiniti.
Using two web browsers at the same time, I had configured a new A6 3.2 AND a new BMW 5 series (at the time the BMW was RWD only, but that's not the point.) The Audi had an MSRP of $53,500-ish as I wanted it. A comparable BMW was about $57,000.
Cut to the chase: the BMW was about $120 per month less on a 36 month lease. Then, I priced the BMW down, by taking off some options, to $53,000. The mo pay was about $200 in favor of the BMW.
The fact that I didn't even want the BMW was immaterial, at that point.
After 27 Audis since 1977, I had thought NOTHING could ever displace Audi. So, the BMW made me "look elsewhere." My wife had her selection narrowed to a new A4 3.2 (@ $44K and $684/mo lease) or a BMW X3 3.0 (@ $47K and $581/mo.) We drove her choices literally back-to-back and over the exact same test loop. They were more similar than they were different and my wife wanted a stick shift -- but was willing to step down to an automatic (hence the A4 3.2.)
Again the "content and value proposition" worked against the Audi and she custom ordered a new X3 which took 9 weeks to arrive -- Audi lost a long term customer.
Pricing the Infiniti M35X against the A6 3.2 was even a bigger eye opener than when I had priced the Bimmer against the Audi. The Infiniti M35X is more like an Audi A6 3.7 (speaking of HP and torque) since it has 280HP. The Infiniti is chock full of electronics that include a fantastic DVD-Audio system. I resigned myself to making my first ever non-German car purchase in nearly 30 years.
I wrote Audi a letter explaining the above -- I sent the letter also to my long term Cincinnati Audi dealer, The Audi Connection.
About 3 months later, a combination Audi and Audi Connection deal was verbally offered to me.
In a nutshell, I was able to cancel my Infiniti M35X order, receive a full refund of my sec-dep and get EXACTLY the Audi A6 3.2 that I wanted with a 36 month cost differential of about $4,000 (considering lease price, gas mileage estimates, and the Audi Advantage.)
There are gives and gets. The Infiniti is more powerful, to the tune of perhaps a .5 advantage to 100kph. A couple of electronic gizmos are part of the Infiniti package that Audi won't offer for at least another year -- "automatic cruise control and lane departure warning system" to name two (and don't forget the afforementioned DVD-Audio system.)
Yet, the Infiniti is "nearly German" in feel -- the Audi is in many ways superior. Some things, such as style and interior design are certainly subjective, but the Audi is superior (in my estimation) in these areas. Fit and finish remain an area where Audi dominates. The feel of the switchgear, too favors Audi.
Frankly, the only thing that pushed me to the Infiniti over the Audi was $200 a month on a similar lease deal.
But, $200 is (or was) the elephant in the room -- and despite the product advantages that I could list, the Infiniti had the "comparative advantage" of "higher value."
Personally, I think the 530 looks like a Pontiac and is an underwhelming performer UNLESS you get it with the manual transmission. Locally it is almost impossible to find a 5 series "in stock" with a stick (but that is no biggie, I have ordered virtually every car I have ever purchased save for one used pearl white Audi 5000 CS turbo quattro back in 1987.)
Moreover, if you must have AWD, the 530xi, as nice as it is in most aspects other than its off-putting exterior sheet metal, is damn near $60K.
If you can or are willing to spend this much, you can have an A6 4.2 Sline.
Game over (at least for us): Audi, when priced competitively is a "nooooooo brainer."
Audi may or may not be changing the way it markets its cars via its financial arm, Audi Financial. I certainly hope so. For years, Audis could be had for even or better money than BMW's (in 2001 a BMW 5 maxed out was $49+K, and an Audi A6 was about the same -- at MSRP -- the Audi, however was less money per month to lease, had a V8 instead of an I6 and the Audi was AWD, while the BMW was RWD): game set & match.
It was only in 2005, that Audi squandered its "secret lead" when it was nominated and voted into the Premium Class (for real this time). Wham, overnight the price of the Audi skyrocketed past the BMW (speaking of leases which comprise nearly 50% of all Audis sold) -- as if Audi had been in the Premium Class "for all eternity."
My personal belief that Audi had been in the Premium Class for decades, didn't make it so, however.
Audi has made the best Audi ever in the new A6 3.2, yet it fights tooth and nail every month for the sales success last place with the Acura RL, while the BMW remains, mostly, in the number one sales spot.
One favorable comparo (Automobile) has not managed to allow the Audi A6 to displace such nameplates as:
. . .with Audis fine A6 brining up the rear or barely outselling the Acura.
The BMW is built in the same neck of the woods as the Audi -- currency issues, therefore, alone, cannot explain the "marketing approach" that has placed Audi's "best car in the world" at the bottom of the list of Premium Sport Luxury Automobiles.
Oh the ignominy.
Get the Audi -- if the price comparo is even close. You will NOT regret it.
07-16-2005, 12:30 PM
with 14mpg in about-town driving. If we intended to keep it past its warranty period we would have gotten a Lexus or Infiniti with AWD, which will probably require fewer repairs than a European car. Since we have a very good dealer who is not far away, and we have the older, more complete warranty, I am not worried about repairs.
07-16-2005, 12:58 PM
Very nice write up! I can only confirm and agree! Came to absolutely the same conclusion! That's funny :-) Although I didn't consider the M35x but the M35 Sport. I am extremely pleased with the choice (see signature :-)).
One thing to add: For me personally, image is very important. For my taste do create especially BMW and Benz a certain image if you arrive somewhere with it. Audi is IMHO image understated but heavily capable - simply for those that don't want to 'show off'.
Again, extremely happy with our choice :-)
07-16-2005, 01:09 PM
The only point I would disagree on was you comment about the shoddy reputation of Audi. I would not consider it shoddy, but more on par with other German autos. Most auto mags (even Consumer Reports) rates the cars reliability fairly high. Not rock solid as with the Japanese cars but still good.
07-16-2005, 01:20 PM
I agree. My only reservation with the Audi is it's fairly poor gas mileage, but I guess that's the price you pay for all wheel drive.
I would hope that you're gas mileage would improve as the car gets broken in. My 3.0 had below it's stated gas mileage for at least the first 8000 miles. Now I'm averaging around 21 mpg for mixed driving.
07-16-2005, 04:24 PM
Although I haven't driven mine in about 2 months (rearended by an idiot in May, and still in the shop due to problems with his insurance-now being handled by my company), intown mileage was around 17/combined 20-21.
All-wheel drive cars will always lose mileage to rear/front drive cars primarily due to extra weight.
If you drive in S when you don't need to, your mileage will suffer quite a bit.
I've found that on uphill grades at between 40-45 mph, the auto tends to stay in 5th. Switching to tip and shifting to 6th when between 40-45 mph and going uphill, seems to improve mileage.
07-16-2005, 07:18 PM
I'll bet my wife and I have had more Audis than the vast majority of Audi owners (since 1977).
The A6 3.2 has two things to comment about: it is relatively "adequate" in terms of performance ("quickness") but it is impressive in terms of gas mileage (26.6).
Over the past 28 years Audis have been impressive in so many ways, mileage has never been one of them. The new Audi A6 3.2 has fantastic mileage -- based on 27 total Audis prior to this one.
My wife's new BMW, on the other hand, drinks gas.
The new A6 is many things, one of them is a gas sipper from my perspective.
I specifically did NOT go with the non FSI 4.2, after having 3 of them, because they cannot pass a gas station.
What some folks must be used to and my experience are worlds apart.
07-17-2005, 10:39 AM
I love the A6 and the 6 cylinder is not bad but I was coming out of an Allroad 2.7T so in comparison the A6 3.2 didn't feel too quick. I test drove it at least 4 or 5 times since everything else about it I loved.
The Infiniti M35x was definitely the best for the buck if leasing since you can get one for low to mid $600 range for a 2 year lease !! I loved the interior (though the wood is too fake looking) and the seats were amazingly comfortable. Also the power was always there (kind of like driving the Audi in sport mode) where the car is always in the right gear to take off. ALso felt the car handled really well and it had some fun toys top play with like the rear camera when going in reverse.
Acura- The RL was amazing, I got into it thinking I wasn't going to like it but since they had great deals on them I decided I had to at least test drive one. BNoy was I in for a surprise, I felt the car's performance was great and it has all the toys plus more ... For $46k it is the bargain if purchasing (not leasing)
GS300 AWD - I wanted to love it and went into the dealer expecting to purchase one but to describe it best, it just didn't have a driver's feel to it and I need a car that wants to be driven ... the GS430 on the other hand was awesome but I really wanted AWD.
530i - drives great, reminds me of the BMW's I have had in the past, the steering was the best and the car was fast but I couldn't get over the interior and this comes from a HUGE BMW driver/fan. It was just so plain and ugly ...sorry bmw but for $50k I want a luxurios feel.
In the end I decided to get the M35x but then made one more stop at Audi just to give it one last shot and as you can tell from my name, I never made it to infiniti.
07-17-2005, 12:06 PM
I have been consistently getting 14 mpg in my 90+% city driving. Where did AOA get the 17 mpg estimate? I've had my car now since October but no improvement...
I agree that it really excels at highway miles but is terrible for us "city dwellers"...
07-17-2005, 07:31 PM
07-18-2005, 06:45 PM
...I thought the new FSI engines, even with the lean-burn technology disabled, were supposed to be decent on gas mileage. Guess that's not the case.