Audi A6 Saloon review
Audi's executive saloon is better than it has ever been, and is set to take the market by storm
The Audi A6 has often had to give best to the BMW 5-Series in the executive car stakes. However, the all-new model is aiming to take the corporate car park by storm. Lightweight aluminium construction, efficient new engines, and agile chassis and luxurious cabin all combine to take the A6 to the top.
Our Choice: Audi A6 SE 2.0TDI
StylingIt’s clear that the A6 takes its cues from the firm’s larger A8 luxury saloon. It is handsome and well proportioned, but the newcomer’s shape is extremely colour sensitive – the combination of a classy metallic colour and big wheels results in the most kerb appeal. As before, buyers can choose between traditional four-door saloon and versatile estate bodystyles. At present there are only two trim levels: SE and S-line. The latter gets a sporty bodykit, LED lights, lowered suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels.
InteriorAs you’d expect from Audi, the A6’s cabin is first rate. Not only is it attractively styled and logically laid out, the fit and finish are excellent. All the plastics have a quality look and feel, while leather seat trim is standard on all models. Highlights include a pop-out screen for the standard sat-nav, beautifully designed dials and the firm’s intuitive MMI media interface, which is available with the A8’s clever touch pad control. And with plenty of adjustment for the seat and wheel, finding a comfortable driving position is easy.
Car group tests
Driving and performanceOwners of the outgoing A6 will be amazed by the new car’s poise and agility. There’s lots of grip in the corners, particularly in four-wheel drive quattro models. And while there’s not much feedback, the steering is precise and well-weighted. S-line versions get sharper responses thanks to lowered and stiffened suspension, but pay off us extremely firm ride. Performance fans can choose between a smooth and punchy 296bhp 3.0-litre V6 TFSI petrol, while the firm’s familiar 3.0-litre TDI is available with either 201bhp or 242bhp. However, for most buyers the refined and frugal 175bhp 2.0-litre oil-burner serves-up the best blend of pace and economy.MPG and running costsThanks to its weight-saving aluminium construction, the A6 is remarkably efficient. Go for the entry-level 2.0-litre TDI and you’ll be rewarded with fuel returns of 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 129g/km – figures that easily match the excellent BMW 520d. Even the more powerful 242bhp 3.0-litre TDI emits only 156g/km and will manage 47.9mpg at the pumps. All models are will equipped, while class-leading residuals make the Audi a solid long term investment.
PracticalityIf you regularly carry passengers, then the A6 should be at the top of your list. Rear seat occupants will find more head and legroom than in a BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class, while the boot will swallow a healthy 530-litres of luggage. Owners wanting even more space can opt for the Avant load lugger, which boasts 1,680-litres of carrying capacity with the rear bench folded flat. Both saloon and estate versions benefit from cabins that are packed with useful cubby space, including a large glovebox, deep door bins and a decent-sized lidded compartment in the centre console.
Reliability and safety With a full complement of six airbags, a strong bodyshell and standard fit ESP, the A6 is sure to earn a five-star EuroNCAP rating when it is tested. There’s also the option to add hi-tech safety kit, such as lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, night vision and adaptive cruise control. And buyers seeking further piece of mind can specify the firm’s trademark quattro four-wheel drive system.