Audi A6 Avant 3.0 TDI

24 Dec, 2011 10:00am Sam Hardy

Our verdict on the powerful diesel version of the classy new A6 estate


The A6 Avant is a superb all-rounder – and this 201bhp 3.0-litre TDI is the pick of the bunch. It’s fast, refined and economical. Add one of the classiest cabins available at any price, a flexible load bay and a brilliantly secure driving experience, and it’s the kind of car on which Audi’s reputation is built. For more space, buy an E-Class Estate; otherwise this is all the car you’ll ever need.
If you had to have one car that could do it all, what would you pick? Despite the popularity of SUVs, the virtues of a good estate are difficult to ignore – and one of the best is Audi’s A6 Avant.

We’ve already tested it in £33,630 entry-level 2.0-litre TDI diesel trim, but if you need a bit more power – and don’t want to stretch to the £40,950 price of the 242bhp 3.0 TDI – there’s this £37,730 201bhp 3.0-litre diesel.

The big V6 is a superb engine, providing gutsy acceleration and instant urge thanks to its 400Nm of torque, delivered from just 1,250rpm. In the 201bhp car it’s mated to a smooth eight-speed Multitronic auto, which provides effortless high-speed cruising, along with rapid overtaking.

As well as being fast, it’s economical, capable of 50mpg-plus while emitting just 136g/km of CO2. It’s not only the engine that impresses, either – so does the rest of the A6 Avant package.

While the boot isn’t as large as that of a Mercedes E-Class Estate – there’s 565 litres of space with the rear seats in place and 1,680 litres when they’re folded flat – most owners will struggle to fill it. And as the wheelbase is 70mm longer than the saloon’s, there’s lots of room for rear passengers. Plus, a wide range of adjustment means the car can accommodate drivers of all shapes and sizes.

Standard quattro four-wheel drive ensures the Avant always feels secure, but it’s the well judged suspension that helps the car do its job so well. In the UK, most A6s are ordered in stiff S line trim, but we’d go for the more compliant SE specification of our test car. Despite featuring optional 18-inch alloys, it rode smoothly, soaking up bumps and carving a precise path through slippery, potholed winter roads.

The steering is well weighted and smooth, too, while the brakes are powerful. This is a hugely impressive dynamic package. SE models come well equipped, with Audi’s Drive Select system – which lets you tailor throttle and steering response – as well as a 6.5-inch MMI digital screen with sat-nav. Cruise control is standard, too, although an automatic tailgate and metallic paint cost £545 and £750 extra respectively.

Audi is not short of good cars, but the A6 Avant is one of its best. It’s one of the most capable and versatile estates on sale.

Key specs

* Price: £37,730
* Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel
* Power/torque: 201bhp/400Nm
* Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive 
* 0-62mph: 7.4 seconds
* Top speed: 143mph 
* Economy/CO2: 54.3mpg/136g/km
* Equipment: Audi Drive Select, MMI screen with sat-nav, 17-inch alloys, electric windows, climate control
* On sale: Now