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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 and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Acura RLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
Both the A6 and RLX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The A6 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The RLX’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
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 RLX 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.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A6. But it costs extra on the RLX.
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 RLX doesn’t offer a night vision system.
Both the A6 and the RLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A6 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The RLX has not been fully tested, yet.
The A6’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the RLX’s (12 vs. 5 years).
There are over 12 percent more Audi dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the A6’s warranty.
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the A6’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RLX’s camshafts. If the RLX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 22nd in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 47 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 14 places higher in reliability than Acura.
The A6 55 TFSI’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 341) than the RLX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6 hybrid.
Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the A6’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Acura only offers a regenerative brake system on the RLX Sport Hybrid.
Regardless of its engine, the A6’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Acura only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the RLX Sport Hybrid.
The A6 has 4.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the RLX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (19.3 vs. 15.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the A6’s brake rotors are larger than those on the RLX:
RLX Sport Hybrid
The A6’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the RLX are solid, not vented.
The A6 stops much shorter than the RLX:
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
For better traction, the A6’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RLX (255/40R20 vs. 245/40R19).
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 RLX’s 40 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A6 Prestige offers optional 21-inch wheels. The RLX’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.
The A6 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the RLX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
The A6 offers an available 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 RLX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A6’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the RLX (115.1 inches vs. 112.2 inches).
The A6’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the RLX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the A6 more stable handling and braking.
The A6 Prestige handles at .93 G’s, while the RLX pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The A6 Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.4 seconds quicker than the RLX (24.9 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the A6’s turning circle is 4.1 feet tighter than the RLX’s (36.4 feet vs. 40.5 feet).
The A6 is 3.7 inches shorter than the RLX, making the A6 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The A6 has .4 inches more front headroom and 1.2 inches more rear headroom than the RLX.
The A6’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The RLX doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A6 (except Premium) offers an optional 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 RLX doesn’t offer a power trunk.
The A6 has a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. The RLX has no towing capacity.
The engine in the A6 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the RLX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RLX, the A6 offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The A6’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The RLX does not have an oil pressure gauge.
The power windows standard on both the A6 and the RLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the A6 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The RLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The A6’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the RLX’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”
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 Premium Plus/Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The RLX doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the A6 offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The RLX doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The A6 Prestige offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the RLX.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi A6 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The RLX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The A6 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A6 will retain 35.72% to 36.55% of its original price after five years, while the RLX only retains 32.48% to 33.89%.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the A6 third among midsize premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The RLX isn’t in the top three in its category.
The Audi A6/S6 outsold the Acura RLX by over 17 to one during 2019.
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