Photo Comparison: All-New 2021 BMW 5 Series Facelift vs 2020 Audi A6

The new Audi A6 is a great looking car and potentially the best looking premium sedan in its class. However, another really good looking car in the same class is the BMW 5 Series. The Bimmer’s problem as of late was that it was getting a bit old, being the oldest car in the class. So Audi’s Bavarian neighbors decided to give it a bit of a facelift (LCI — or Life Cycle Impulse — in BMW-speak), to update the 5 Series and give it a better shot against its much newer competition. From the looks of it, the new 5 Series seems to be much improved and it looks like a serious competitor for the much newer Audi A6.


We haven’t driven the new A6 and it’s been ages since we’ve driven a 5 Series, so we’re not going to comment on how these cars drive but we will comment on how they look. Both cars are very good looking luxury sedans with more technology than anyone will need. But which is the better looking Bavarian?

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Up front, it seems as if the BMW 5 Series has been given just enough of an update to keep it modern, among the rest of its competitors. The Audi A6 is a handsome thing, with a sharp grille design and aggressive headlights. However, the new 5 Series LCI’s new headlights look good as well and its bumper and grille designs much improved. While the 5 Series lacks the glitz and glam of the A6, it makes up for that with a calmer, more sensible approach to luxury. Personally, I like the new A6 a lot but I think I’d take the 5er instead for its sleeker, more understated face.


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In profile, it’s a closer call. Both cars sport really good looking silhouettes, just in different ways. For instance, 5 Series’ strong shoulder line and flared front wheel arch give it a muscular, yet sophisticated, look. Its Hofmeister Kink, along with the body sculpting surrounding it, also looks nice and reminds us of what traditional Kinks used to look like. Though, the Audi A6 looks good, too. It’s low, sleek and muscular looking, thanks to a nicely blistered rear wheel arch and crisp lines. Honestly, I can’t figure out which one I like more and I tend to say that whichever one I’m looking at looks best. So I’m calling it a wash.

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Out back, each car looks fine. The Audi A6 has better looking taillights, so I was initially going to give it the nod. However, the A6 commits a Cardinal Sin, by using fake exhausts. The 5er still gets real-deal exhaust pipes, so it wins out back. It’s really that simple.


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Inside, the victory nod has to go to the Audi A6. The 5 Series has a lovely interior, with rich materials, a pleasant design and outstanding technology. However, so too does the Audi A6, except that the Audi’s design is far more special looking. Sit inside a loaded A6 and you feel as if you’re in something costing twice as much. Don’t get me wrong, no one would ever complain about sitting inside the 5er for hours on end but the Audi A6 will make its occupants feel more special, thanks to its more interesting design.

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So that’s two wins for the BMW and two for the Audi and one tie for each. That makes them dead even and I think that’s fair. Both cars are great looking in their own ways. The BMW 5 Series is handsome, sophisticated and understated, like a good BMW should be. While the Audi A6 is flashier, more high-tech and more stylish. So it really comes down to personal taste. Are you the understated type that wants to go a bit under the radar or do you want to announce your arrival wherever you go?

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.