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The Audi A6 Really Isn’t a Reliable Luxury Car at All

With the cost of purchasing a luxury vehicle, buyers should be able to assume that it’s reliable. That’s not always the case though. What is the verdict for the Audi A6? Read on to see if the Audi A6 is a reliable luxury car.

Reliability ratings from Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is one source for reliability information on vehicles. Consumer Reports collects survey responses from its members for information in 17 categories on any problems they’ve experienced with their vehicles during the past 12 months. Those vehicles are then also compared to other similar vehicles in the same model year.

The Audi A6’s reliability ratings

Over the years, the Audi A6 has not fared well in its reliability ratings from Consumer Reports. Data is available for model years 2012 through 2019, and almost all the years are given a three out of five for their overall reliability rating. Model years 2018 and 2019 have the worst ratings with scores of one out of five.

The biggest reliability issues are given red ratings. Engine problems are flagged for 2012 and 2013. The fuel system had reliability issues in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Brakes caused issues for 2014 and 2016 models. Power equipment problems showed up in reports for 2013 and 2019, and in-car electronics was an issue for 2018. Additional concerns are flagged in orange and yellow. The good news is that the green rating is given to two categories across all model years: transmission (major) and electric system.

The 2020 Audi A6

Consumer Reports gives the 2020 A6 a one out of five for overall reliability, but that rating is forecast based on previous years. It has an overall score of 65, which places it 10th out of 15 luxury midsize cars. Car and Driver says the 2020 A6 delivers a “refined ride, quiet powertrains, and a feature-packed cabin.” However, it looks a bit bland and doesn’t have very sporty handling. The Audi A6 was redesigned for 2019, and Consumer Reports says it is “among the best midsized luxury sedans [they’ve] tested.” The firm way it drives, though, prevented it from ranking higher among its competitors.

Consumer Reports also predicted the newest model’s overall reliability rating by averaging the most recent three years of ratings. The results were then compared against competitors. The Audi A6 came in last out of the ten cars listed, getting 14 percent out of 100 percent. The top four cars all scored 75 percent or higher and are the Lexus GS, Lexus ES, Lincoln MKZ, and Genesis G80. The Lincoln Continental came in fifth with 57 percent.

Why the Audi A6 falls short

Audi A6 50 TFSI e qauttro on display at Brussels Expo
The 2020 Audi A6 | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Looking at the details for the 2018 and 2019 model years, which have the worst reliability ratings, it’s clear that these model years don’t measure up to the top competitors. These years had lowest marks for their power equipment and in-car electronics. 

When rating power equipment, Consumer Reports looked for owner issues with “cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system.”

And, for the in-car electronics, Consumer Reports examined problems with the “CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.”

The 2019 model year also had average reliability ratings for minor engine issues and body integrity. The 2018 model raised additional concerns for its brakes.

With a number of midsize luxury cars available, the Audi A6 may be one to skip if reliability is your top priority. Consider the Lexus GS, Lexus ES, Lincoln MKZ, or Genesis G80 instead.