Two of the best-selling luxury cars constantly vie for top honors in the midsize segment. In one corner, the Audi A6 returns for 2023 with a new standard infotainment system and the evergreen Quattro all-wheel drive system. In the other corner, the BMW 5 Series continues on relatively unchanged from the previous year.
But both cars stand out from the crowd with their combination of performance, luxury, features, and technology. For 2023, MotorTrend has them ranked first and second in the midsize luxury class over stalwarts like the Mercedes-Benz E Class, Lexus ES, and Volvo S90. The battle is closely fought for any given year, with the outcome settled by less than a point. This year, Audi edges out BMW by a slim margin, and we’re about to find out why.
Performance and fuel economy – which luxury sedan has the edge?
The 2023 Audi A6 offers several engines, including a fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder, an insanity-fueled V8, and a powerful V6 that combines the best of both worlds. All models come standard with Quattro AWD, which inspires confident handling on any road and in any weather. Performance ranges from 4.5 to 5.8 seconds 0 to 60 mph times for the four and six-cylinder engines, which also deliver up to 32 mpg on the highway.
Like Audi, BMW offers a fuel-efficient four-cylinder, a powerful V8, and a turbocharged inline-six. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available as an option. The same power- and drivetrains from the 2022 5 Series return for 2023. Performance is comparable to the Audi with 0 to 60 times in the 4.6 to the 5.9-second range and fuel economy estimated to be in the same 30 to 32 mpg neighborhood.
Where the Audi stands out is with the RS 6 Avant. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 591 horsepower and will knock the wind out of you, slingshotting to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. BMW has the M550i XDrive, which serves up 523 horsepower from a twin-turbo 4.4 V8, but takes a half second longer to reach 60 mph.
Safety features and ratings – the 2023 Audi A6 earned high marks
The 2023 Audi A6 received the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award thanks to its crash test scores and good headlight ratings. It also gets a five-star overall crash safety rating from the NHTSA.
New for 2023, Audi made adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist as standard equipment to go with the automatic emergency braking and automatic high beams. Also available are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, side cross-traffic alert, and traffic sign recognition.
By comparison, the 2023 BMW 5 Series received Good ratings from the IIHS and is listed as a Top Safety Pick+. However, the 2023 5 Series did get slightly lower marks regarding its headlights and LATCH ease of use.
Most of the 5 Series’ active safety features are part of the standard Active Driving Assistant package, including lane-keeping, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitors, speed limit information, and adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams. Additional features like adaptive cruise control and a front cross-traffic alert are available as part of the Driving Assistance Plus package.
Interior features and technology – could it be a tie?
Audi vehicles offer a blend of cool aesthetics and high technology, and the 2023 A6 is no different. Every new A6 model includes an infotainment system with a 10.1-inch center touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. It integrates seamlessly with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, their 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Heads-up display, remote park assist, and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio are also available at higher trim levels.
The 2023 BMW 5 Series includes most things you would expect to be standard in a luxury car. In fact, it comes with a standard 12.3-inch central touchscreen and a similar-sized gauge cluster. The infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and is available with 12-speakers standard or an upgrade to 16-speakers. Other options include a heads-up display and an assortment of M Sport equipment.
Is the 2023 Audi A6 a Good Car?
Yes, the 2023 Audi A6 is a good car and deserves its top rating from MotorTrend. It’s well-built with quality materials and a design that blends technology and luxury. The cabin is quiet and serene, even when putting the A6 through its paces. Ride quality is excellent, with responsive handling and brakes.
No matter what trim level you choose, the A6 comes standard with Quattro AWD. Audi pioneered all-wheel drive more than forty years ago, and the Quattro system sets the standard for luxury cars. The system works seamlessly in the background to provide a sure-footed grip on any surface and makes the A6 reassuring to drive in any weather.