1999 Audi A6

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1999 Audi A6
Available in 2 styles:  A6 4dr Wagon shown
Asking Price Range
$1,459–$5,867
Estimated MPG

17 city / 26–27 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 3 of 3

By 

The Detroit News

Don't be confused by the Avant part of the 1999 Audi A6 Avant. Audi says that's the name for beautiful German "estate cars." Well, here in the United States, we call 'em station wagons. But our $39,625 A6 Avant with Quattro (don't be confused by that either - it means permanent all-wheel drive) test car is a cut above what most Americans think of when they think station wagon.

Our A6 wagon had a luxurious feel, with its maroon leatherette upholstery, polished wood trim and ritzy options such as a heated steering wheel.

The big question: Can a fairly expensive, refined station wagon lure sport-utility-crazed buyers into the Audi fold? Let's say there's a reason Audi folks refer to the Avant as an un-SUV.

She: I would advise salespeople who sell the Audi A6 Avant to pop the rear hatch and start talking. That's where sales are going to be made because that's where the car's versatility shines through.

He: You mean the rear overhead light that shines on your head when the Avant's rear hatch is open. That's pretty neat.

She: No, silly. I'm talking about how Audi thought of everybody from families to empty nesters when they designed the A6 Avant. You can take advantage of the big rear cargo area, with its standard rear luggage cover, net and multiple tie-downs, as we did on a recent trip to northern Michigan. Or you can buy the optional $700 rear-facing child's bench seat, which is really clever. It can be swung to the side or tipped up if you have to stash groceries. It weighs only about 40 pounds, so it can be removed, too, and put in its zippered case in the garage. If you don't buy it initially, you can go back to the dealer to get one later - as your family expands.

He: You're obsessed with the rear of the Audi. I'm obsessed with the front.

I was fascinated by those optional xenon headlights, which come bundled in a $950 "enhanced security" package along with a fairly rare option - rear side air bags. That means with the standard front and side air bags, you can get up to six air bags in the Avant. Those xenon headlights are terrific, too. They come very close to duplicating natural daylight. Any baby boomer with diminishing night vision is going to notice a big difference. I know I did. Best headlights on the market, period.

She: You know, we can't compartmentalize the Audi A6 Avant and say, well, pieces of it are great, so buy it. And we don't have to. Because the big picture is this is one terrific vehicle. It may not have the physical stature of a sport-utility - you're not sitting up high and you don't have the commanding view. But there's little else lacking that I can see.

He: Performance aficionados will love the A6 Avant. Audi's 2.8-liter, 200-horsepower V-6 does duty here, sending its power through a five-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic - a device that lets you leave the transmission in Drive or flick the shift knob back and forth to shift manually. The styling won't disappoint either. The German automaker has long been on the verge of being a prestige marquee, along the lines of Toyota's Lexus division. The A6 Avant, a sister vehicle to the A6 sedan, is notable for its graceful lines. A traditional station wagon is pretty much a big box - but not the A6 Avant. I hate to say it, but it's much prettier than our Volvo wagon.

She: I know you're nuts about the Avant and got all huffy when I pointed out its minor shortcomings. I wish the right side mirror was a little bigger. I wish it came with a standard CD player. We found on our long trip that the front cupholders - some are mounted in the dash and another pops up out of the console - sometimes didn't fit our beverages, such as my McDonald's bottled water.

He: All minor stuff. The only other thing families need to know is that the A6 Avant isn't the suburban station wagon from your childhood in the 1960s. If you can afford it - the A6 Avant is well worth it.

1999 Audi Avant

What we liked: Fairly rare options such as rear side air bags, xenon headlights; elegant styling; clever rear cargo/seating configurations that can be changed even after you purchase the car; permanent all-wheel-drive system; powerful 200 horsepower V-6; lots of cargo room; standard roof rails

What we didn't like: At close to $40,000, our test car may be too pricey for many families; right side mirror too small; gas cap needs a tether (Anita); cupholders don't fit all beverages; no standard CD player

Type: Front-engine, four-wheel-drive, five-passenger station wagon

Price: Base, $36,600; as tested, $39,625 (including $500 destination charge)

Engine: 2.8-liter V-6; 200-hp at 6,000 rpm; 207 lb-ft torque at 3,200 rpm

EPA fuel economy: 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway.

12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan: $1,593

Where built: Neckarsulm, Germany


    Expert Reviews 3 of 3

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