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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A6 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Nissan Maxima doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The A6’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Maxima doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The A6 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Maxima doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
The A6 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
A passive infrared night vision system optional on the A6 Prestige helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Maxima doesn’t offer a night vision system.
Both the A6 and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The Audi A6 weighs 658 to 788 pounds more than the Nissan Maxima. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The A6 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Maxima’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The A6’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Maxima’s (12 vs. 5 years).
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 7 places higher in reliability than Nissan.
The A6’s 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 35 more horsepower (335 vs. 300) and 108 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.
Regenerative brakes improve the A6’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Maxima doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A6’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Maxima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A6 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Maxima requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The A6 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Maxima (19.3 vs. 18 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the A6’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Maxima:
For better traction, the A6’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Maxima (255/40R20 vs. 245/45R18).
The A6 Prestige’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Maxima 3.5 SR’s 40 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A6 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Maxima. The A6 Prestige’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Maxima 3.5 SR.
The A6 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A6’s wheelbase is 5.8 inches longer than on the Maxima (115.1 inches vs. 109.3 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A6 is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Maxima.
For better maneuverability, the A6’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Maxima’s (36.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The design of the Audi A6 amounts to more than styling. The A6 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the Maxima (.29 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A6 get better fuel mileage.
The A6 has 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 3.2 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Maxima.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A6 Prestige has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Maxima doesn’t offer a power trunk.
The engine in the A6 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Maxima. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 47% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 20th.
The A6 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Maxima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The A6’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Maxima’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A6 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Maxima doesn’t offer headlight washers.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the A6 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Maxima doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The A6’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.
The A6 has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum. The A6 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Maxima.
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