2012 Audi A6 3.0T: Speed us into temptation


(Photo courtesy of Audi)
Warren Brown
Columnist November 11, 2011

The light-emitting diodes on the front end of the redesigned all-wheel-drive 2012 Audi A6 3.0T look better than those on any other luxury sedan.

The Bang & Olufsen premium sound system — 1,300 watts, 15 speakers — sounds better than those put in most of Audi’s rivals.

Warren Brown is a columnist who writes about autos for The Washington Post. View Archive

Always a global leader in interior design and materials quality, Audi has upped its game with the new A6 model line.

The turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine (310 horsepower, 325 foot-pounds of torque) is a gently redeveloped carryover from previous models. But it is now installed in a lightweight, mostly aluminum body. A wondrously wide torque band plus a maximum-horsepower engine combined with a lightweight sedan body equals a car that launches from 0 to 60 miles in 5.2 seconds, assuming that you are more concerned with running around a racetrack than you are in arriving on time at Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Just remember that a quicker-than-thou start from a city stoplight turned green can get you a ticket much faster than you can earn a trophy with a rocketlike launch on a racetrack.

That is the thing about the Audi A6 3.0T. It is the perfect car for rascally speed freaks and relative saints. Adhering to the theory of situational ethics, I was a bit of both during my week in the A6 3.0T — the highly contented (including options), standard-all-wheel-drive Premium model in my hands.

I am not promoting scofflaw behavior. But a car as fast, as precise in steering and as stable as the A6 3 3.0T on lonely back roads puts me in what my Catholic faith deems the “near occasion of sin,” and I sinned greatly.

I beg forgiveness from those of you who are rightfully appalled by such behavior. But I had so much fun — operating on the escapist theory that it is “better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission,” especially when so many people would’ve objected to what I was doing.

I drive like a relative saint on heavy-traffic, high-speed highways. The caveat is needed because being in the equivalent of a fine house of ill repute (a thoroughly enjoyable sedan cabin in this case), with a high-torque, big-horsepower engine at your disposal is putting yourself in the “near occasion of sin” when you are addicted to hot, fast automobiles.

But being on well-policed, often congested highways is as much fun-to-drive as it is on seemingly abandoned back roads in the A6 3.0T—largely thanks to its raft of amenities, including options such as perforated premium leather seats; polished brown ash wood inlays; a simply beautiful, 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system; and connectivity for practically every mobile device infotainment device now offered for sale.

I love this car — love it so much that I have to check myself. Is it true love or infatuation?

It is easy to love a car this well engineered when the only thing you are paying for is operational costs. What if I had to drop big bucks on routine maintenance or on a huge repair bill? Could I live with the high price of the required premium gasoline, filling a 19.9-gallon fuel tank, getting a mediocre 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway?

It is easy to love something when you don’t bear the full responsibility of loving it. It is one of the reasons I became an automobile columnist — driving cars that I mostly could not afford, without flirting with bankruptcy in real life.

I love this job, and I love this Audi A6 3.0T. Both are reasons for getting up in the morning — fair weather or not.

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