2. Audi A6 – Turbos, turbos, turbos
Base price range: $47,125-$71,825
Automakers are turning to turbochargers to boost smaller engines’ power without undue sacrifices to fuel economy. It’s a new tact for some makes but Audi has been leveraging the technology for generations. Indeed, the midsize A6 sedan offers four turbocharged engines with varying degrees of muscle. For 2016, the base 2.0-liter turbo four gets a power boost to 252 horsepower. The 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 affords V-8-like acceleration, with 240 horsepower and a whopping 428 pound-feet of torque, yet it’s the fuel-economy leader in the line, at an EPA-estimated 24/38/29 mpg city/highway/combined.
The 3.0T model features a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 with a lively 333 horsepower, while the ferocious S6 flagship packs a 450-horsepower twin-turbo V8 augmented by an array of performance-enhancing upgrades. Every A6 save the front-wheel-drive base model comes with Audi’s “quattro” all-wheel-drive system for added traction over wet or snowy roads. This car’s interior is beautiful to behold and smartly designed. There’s plenty of room up front for six-footers to stretch out, though back-seat legroom is compromised with the front seats adjusted more than three-quarters of the way rearward. There’s no shortage of available high-tech, from most of the latest accident-avoidance gear to a navigation system that allows a driver to enter destinations via fingertip-writing recognition on a center-console trackpad. Built-in Wi-Fi Internet connectivity is on tap, as is Google Earth satellite mapping that projects a realistic view of the surroundings on the navigation screen. With an eye toward best dollar value, we choose the A6 over its A7 “four door coupe” cousin; it’s less expensive, has more rear-seat room, and essentially the same performance.