2020 Audi A6 vs. 2020 Nissan Maxima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/10

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 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.

Both the A6 and Maxima 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 Maxima’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 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, driver and front passenger 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.

The Audi A6 weighs 423 to 707 pounds more than the Nissan Maxima. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

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 front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A6 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 55 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Maxima is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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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).

Reliability

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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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

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.

Engine

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The A6 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The A6 55 TFSI’s standard 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.

As tested in Motor Trend the A6 55 TFSI 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid is faster than the Nissan Maxima:

A6

Maxima

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

8.1 sec

9.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

12.8 sec

14.7 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.5 sec

2.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.5 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

102.7 MPH

99.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/10

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.

The A6 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Maxima (19.3 vs. 18 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A6 higher (5 out of 10) than the Nissan Maxima (3). This means the A6 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Maxima every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the A6’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Maxima:

A6

Maxima

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.13 inches

The A6 stops much shorter than the Maxima:

A6

Maxima

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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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 SR/Platinum’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 SR/Platinum.

Suspension and Handling

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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 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 1.8 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Maxima.

The A6’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the Maxima’s (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the A6 more stable handling and braking.

The A6 Prestige handles at .93 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A6 Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the Maxima Platinum (24.9 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A6’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Maxima’s (36.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

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The design of the Audi A6 amounts to more than styling. The A6 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .28 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.

Passenger Space

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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.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A6 easier. The A6’s trunk lift-over height is 27 inches, while the Maxima’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Towing

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The A6 has a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. The Maxima has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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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 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 25% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Maxima SR/Platinum, 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 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Maxima’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the A6 and the Maxima 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 Maxima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The A6’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Maxima’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

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 Maxima 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 Maxima doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade and manual rear side window sunshades are optional in the A6 Prestige to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Maxima doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

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.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A6 is less expensive to operate than the Maxima because typical repairs cost much less on the A6 than the Maxima, including $240 less for a timing belt/chain and $300 less for a power steering pump.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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