THE 2013 AUDI A6 3.0T REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: How to Write a Car Review
This is the alpha and omega installment of “How to Write a Car Review – the Straight Talk,” where mediocre automotive reporting is placed under the microscope and discussed. To be used as an example is the 2013 Audi A6 3.0T premium large sedan.
The most popular tactic to write about a car is the copy-and-paste approach. Authors steal statistics and quotes wholesale from the manufacturer’s website, stir the information into a stuttering mush, slap a byline on it and send the bill, e.g., “The Audi A6 is an extremely pretty car. Audi says it has ‘undeniable presence.’” A vague description and a quote that does not substantiate the topic – common examples of bumbled writing (fragments are acceptable). The reader is not informed of the subtle European design that distinguishes the A6, characterized by an authoritative single-frame grille, a gently arched shoulder character line, and gorgeous LED headlamps.
(See 80+ images of the 2013 Audi A6).
Another poor modus operandi, the rhetorical equivalent of nails screeching on a chalkboard, is the overuse and misuse of metaphor. Rather than describing the A6’s engine in reasonable terms, melodramatic authors write the following: “The beating heart of the beast is a blown one-and-one-half-soda six-pot mill with 310 ponies and 325 lb-ft of axle-ripping twist hand-in-hand with an eight-gate flappy-paddle slushbox that directs muscle to all the rubber when the loud-pedal meets the metal.” What was so wrong about succinctly listing the horsepower and torque output of the 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine and including pertinent information about the eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive?
The two previous examples have also lacked analysis, the defining characteristic of an effective automotive review. If a weightlifter claims he can lift 220 pounds, is that impressive? If he can curl a 220-pound barbell, then he is a modern Hercules. Yet if that is his maximum bench press, then he is naught but a limp featherweight. A car is always judged in juxtaposition to its peers. For instance, the A6’s EPA fuel economy rating is 18/27 mpg. No compact car owner would be satisfied with an average of 22 mpg; the driver of a large sedan like the A6, however, should be elated. New for 2013 is standard stop/start technology that further boosts the sedan’s fuel economy.
Many authors ignore analysis because an over-dependence on numbers. In almost no sector are statistics as importance as automobile history, from the quarter-mile times of the 1970s to the gas prices of the 2000s. What car fanatic does not know the meaning of Boss 302, Camaro Z28, or 426 HEMI? Yet numbers are only actors in a larger theater. For instance, the Audi A6 goes from 0-60 mph in approximately 5.3 seconds. That number relays its quickness. Yet neither a 0-60 sprint time nor a skid pad rating can accurately describe the sensual balance of the 2013 A6 sedan with its sure-footed traction, quick turn-in, and grippy tires. All trims come with Drive Select, which allows drivers to modify driveline responses to their preferences. Then again, what words, however cleverly composed, can provide, and not merely describe, the visceral emotion of being at the helm of an A6?
That is the limitation of a car review. Describing a vehicle is simple, but providing a sense of it, its charisma and aurora, is not. There comes a point where the author must admit his or her constraints. No matter how much ink is spilled, an article cannot fully depict the elegance of the 2013 A6 sedan. It is more than the sum of its minimalist Bauhaus design, its crisp MMI graphics screen, and genuine, warm wood trim. Most importantly, the A6’s design is both thoroughly modern and timeless, aging it well in the future. A top-notch competitor, lean and aggressive, is the Jaguar XF sedan.
The requisite listing of features is indisputably the most mind-numbing part of any car review. Readers’ eyes glaze over faster than when having a flashback of high school lectures. Yet these droning lists often take up most of the page. Instead of including tedious feature rosters, an engaging car review explains major feature highlights. The 2013 Audi A6 3.0T, for instance, has three feature trim levels. The Premium has few notable features, though it remains a bargain in its class. The Premium Plus model adds the award-winning MMI with Navigation infotainment system and safety advanced safety features, such as xenon headlamps, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera. The top-notch Prestige trim tweaks the exterior and adds adaptive headlamps, LED cabin lighting, cornering lights, ventilated seats, and other features.
3.0-liter supercharged V6: 310 horsepower/325 lb-ft of torque
eight-speed shiftable automatic
18/27 mpg (AWD)
0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
Top speed: 130 mph
Base MSRP: $50,400
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