Audi A6 C7, BMW 5 Series Sedan 520i Review
Entree level

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
11 Feb 2012

In range topping guise, the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series are two of the most convincing executive saloons out there. Are the entry level four-cylinder variants just as good? We pit the A6 2.0 TFSI against the BMW 520i.

Introduction, styling

Four-cylinder engines in entry-level German executive saloon models used to be rather gutless and unrefined – remember the snail-like straight line performance past generation BMW 520is? The latest forced aspiration technology used by Audi and Mercedes-Benz for the A6 and E-Class respectively though has changed things in recent years. BMW might be one of the pioneers of turbo technology in road cars but the Bavarian car maker was somewhat slow to introduce forced aspiration to their entry level executive models.

BMW has now caught up with Audi and Mercedes-Benz by utilizing turbocharger to boost the performance and speed of its new entry-level 5 Series variant – the tax-friendly 2-litre 520i. Just like the 520i, the entry-kevel Audi A6 is also powered by a 2-litre turbocharged direct injection engine which will it rather interesting to pit these two entry-level executive saloons against each other, especially since the range topping variants of both the 5 Series and A6 are the preceding year’s and reigning oneshift car of the year respectively. 

Thanks to its unprecedented sales success, the F10 5 Series is becoming a rather common sight on our roads these days. The F10 is hardly the most distinctive looking 5 Series model ever – its E60 predecessor not only looks more distinctive but sportier and more athletic as well. The F10 though, is what I would describe as an inoffensive looking car, even though some might find its oversized double-kidney grille a tad too in-your-face.

Next to the svelte and dynamic looking A6 though, the F10 5 Series does look a tad clumsy and bloated. The A6 just looks more streamlined and sportier thanks to its well-honed proportions and cleaner surfaces. Along the flanks, the distinctive lines, together with the low roofline, create a dynamic impression. The relatively short front overhang further adds to the A6’s dynamic stance and plays an important part in giving the A6 its handsome proportions. Inevitably, many will say that the A6 looks either like a scaled down A8 or a scaled up A4 at first glance but look closer and you’ll start to notice that the A6 has its own visual character, especially up front where the nose features the latest iteration of Audi’s corporate face as seen on the A7 Sportback and the updated A5 and A4. Compared to the 5 Series, the A6’s styling should also prove to be more timeless over its lifetime.

The entry level status of the A6 2.0 TFSI and 520i means that they make do without the higher end models bigger alloy wheels, with their standard 17-inch wheels sitting unconvincingly under both the 5’s and A6’s wheel arches. The A6 also makes do without the 3.0 TFSI’s S-line aerodynamic kit while the car in the pictures here runs on optional 19-inch alloys from the range topping model.

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Engine Capacity 1984cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 180bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque 320Nm @ 1500rpm
Power to Weight 105 bhp per ton


Acceleration 8.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 226 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 20.4 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed Multitronic
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4915 x 1874 x 1455) mm
Wheelbase 2912 mm
Turning Circle 5.95 metres
Kerb Weight 1715 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 65 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs


Engine Capacity 1997cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 11:1
Bore x Stroke (84.0 X 90.1 )mm
Power 184bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 270Nm @ 1250rpm
Power to Weight 109.2 bhp per ton


Acceleration 8s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 226 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Steptronic
Drive Type FR


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4899 x 1860 x 1464) mm
Wheelbase 2968 mm
Kerb Weight 1685 kg
Boot Capacity 520 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 70 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs