Audi has been among the best sedan designers in the business for decades. Few brands can make sedans as well-proportioned, athletic, and handsome looking as Audi. The current Audi A6 is no different, as it’s sharp and modern but still understated and sophisticated. However, the A6 is getting a bit long in the tooth and is going to be replaced with an all-new model next year. So maybe it isn’t fair to compare it to the brand-spanking new BMW 5 Series but them’s the breaks.
The new G60-generation 5 Series is sharper looking than ever before, has proportions that are entirely new for the brand, and looks incredibly modern. The Audi A6 still looks good, and will likely age very well, but its design is a bit old now. So how will the two stack up, for the year or so that the Audi is still around?
From the front, the Audi A6 is very typical Audi—large Singleframe grille, slick headlights, and small-ish front air intakes. While the BMW 5 Series has bold looking kidney grille (that’s mercifully small for a modern BMW), funky looking headlights, and a sharply sculpted hood. I can’t tell if it’s just the newness of the 5 Series but I do like it more than the A6.
From the Side
This is where the BMW 5 Series really stands out. Its silhouette isn’t just different for a BMW, it’s different in the segment. Its aggressively raked A and C-pillars, sloping trunk line, and low-slung roof line make it far sexier than the previous-gen 5 Series and far more interesting than the Audi. While the Audi A6 is fine looking from the side, and it does have a nice rear fender flare, it just looks a bit too ho-hum to compete with the new 5er.
The Audi A6 is completely unoffensive from the rear, with hammer-like taillights that feature cool LED dance moves. They aren’t exciting, they aren’t special but they’re handsome. The 5 Series, though, features two very slim LED bars in each horizontal taillight, which makes them seem both modern and timeless. It’s a simple enough design that will likely look good for many years to come. However, the 5 Series is also guilty of far too much black plastic, some of which pretends to be a diffuser. It’s forgivable but it isn’t great. So the 5 Series wins out back but only just.
This part isn’t exactly fair. The Audi A6 looked great inside four or five years go. Now, though, it looks flat-out boring, especially compared to the new 5 Series’ superb new interior. BMW smartly took the 7 Series’s fantastic cabin and made it tighter, sportier, and simpler. It features better tech than the Audi, flashier ambient lighting, nicer materials, and just an overall nicer design. Interiors age far quicker than exteriors now that tech dominates them, so the Audi unfortunately can’t compete here.
This is a landslide victory for the BMW, which is unusual when taking on Audi. However, Father Time is undefeated and the Audi A6 is just too old to compete. A new generation of A6 is on the horizon and it’s shaping up to be very good looking. Hopefully we can revisit this comparison soon enough with two far more competitive cars.