Audi A6 Ultra vs Lexus GS 300h
Can clean-living Audi A6 Ultra topple industry heavyweight Lexus 300h in the battle for business drivers?
Like the struggle for business success, the battle for sales supremacy in the company car sector is fierce. In an effort to make it to the top of the office hierarchy, Audi has revealed a line-up of clean and efficient Ultra models that promises to appeal to the heart, and head, of company car buyers.
Despite their frugal running costs, these executive cars aim to deliver uncompromised refinement, performance and equipment. Powered by an upgraded 187bhp version of Audi’s established 2.0-litre TDI diesel, the A6 Ultra emits just 114g/km in SE, S line and Black Edition trims.
However, for really low company car tax bills, the petrol-electric hybrid Lexus GS 300h tops the lot. But is the latest generation of clean Audi diesel a better choice than Lexus’ new entry-level large executive hybrid? Or is the GS a better all-rounder?
Click the links above to read each review, then read on for our verdict.
Cars like these need to soothe away the miles on a long trip, and both are superb on the motorway.
The Audi only pulls 1,500rpm at 70mph and is very quiet, yet there’s enough flexibility in the engine to pick up speed without changing down. There’s even less wind noise in the Lexus and the CVT gearbox is at its best with a constant throttle – as this stops it sending the revs racing. You’d happily do a long journey in either of these.
The Lexus engine is smooth for a four-cylinder and the switch from EV running to petrol is seamless.
Car group tests
However, the Audi’s 2.0-litre diesel is refined and benefits from stop-start. It meets the upcoming Euro VI emissions standards and CO2 output is 114g/km regardless of wheel size or trim level.
Audi’s Drive Select system allows you to switch between Efficiency, Comfort and Dynamic modes or you can select your favourite steering, throttle and gearbox settings in Individual. The Lexus has Eco, Normal and Sport modes.
1st place: Audi A6 Ultra
The clean, new Ultra has revitalised the A6. The 2.0-litre TDI is more powerful, yet now delivers class-leading emissions. Refined, good to drive, comfortable and classy, the Ultra makes financial sense for company buyers, and it demands no compromises in return for its efficiency.
2nd place: Lexus GS 300h
Lexus is committed to a hybrid future and the new GS 300h is a better fit for UK company car drivers than the expensive GS 450h. But while tax bills are small, a dated cabin, frustrating CVT gearbox and vague handling mean it can’t match the Ultra’s all-round appeal.
|Audi A6 Ultra S line||Lexus GS 300h Luxury|
|On the road price/total as tested||£34,365/£36,820||£37,495/£38,105|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£16,323/47.5%||£14,586/38.9%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£1,235/£2,470||£1,123/£2,246|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,671/£2,785||£2,315/£3,858|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||28/£416/C/£30||33/£410/C/£30|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£159/£309/£159||£773 (3yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,968cc||4cyl in-line/2,494cc|
|Peak power/revs||187/3,800 bhp/rpm||220/6,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||400/1,750 Nm/rpm||221/4,200 Nm/rpm|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||73 litres/space saver||66 litres/space saver|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||530/995 litres||451 litres/N/A|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||11.9 metres/0.26Cd||10.6 metres/0.27Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable/121||10,000 (1yr)/51|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||12th/24th||4th/1st|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||91/83/41/5||N/A|
|0-60/30-70mph||8.5/7.4 secs||7.9/7.1 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th/kickdown||2.7/3.5/2.9 secs||N/A/3.0 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/kickdown||5.3/8.0/4.5 secs||N/A/4.1 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||144mph/1,500rpm||118mph/2,200rpm|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||44.4/9.8/713 miles||30.4/6.7/441 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||170/114g/km/18%||215/113g/km/15%|
|Met paint/xenons/split/fold rear seats||£655/yes/yes||£610/yes/no|
|Park sensors front/rear/climate ctrl||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes|