As many motorists rush to downsize, larger cars now represent some of the biggest second-hand bargains around. Executive-sized models are relaxing to drive and have plenty of space for families, plus they offer comfort, practicality and safety, often for less money used than smaller models. And the Audi A6 is one of the best.
Servicing and parts costs will be high – this is a premium brand model, after all – but efficient engines mean fuel bills won’t be as steep as you expect. As the third-generation A6 nears its ninth birthday, good second-hand examples start at £7,000 – that’s a lot of car for the money.
Third-generation A6 saloon arrived in March 2004, with the Avant estate following in January 2005. Initially, there was a choice of 2.4, 3.2 and 4.2-litre petrol engines, as well as a 3.0 TDI turbodiesel; a 2.0 TDI came in June 2004 and a 2.7 TDI in October 2004.
By December 2006 the 2.4 had been replaced by a 2.8 FSI, and in September 2008 the whole range was facelifted. All models got extra standard equipment, plus new front and rear styling.
A 3.0 TFSI engine superseded the 3.2 and 4.2 FSIs at the same time, while the eco-friendly 2.0 TDIe also arrived. An all-new MkIV A6 launched in spring 2011.
The Lexus GS is ultra-refined, and well equipped, and although there are no diesels or estates, you can go green with the GS 450h hybrid. Also worth a look is the Jaguar XF. It’s a saloon only – the Sportbrake estate is too new for used forecourts – but was voted Car of the Decade by Auto Express readers in 2011 as the best car over 10 years of our Driver Power satisfaction survey.