New Car Awards 2014: best executive car
The Audi A6 is the 2014 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes CLS commended
After two years away, the Audi A6 has regained its place at the top of the exec tree. So what’s enabled the handsome four-door to topple BMW’s mighty 5 Series?
There have been some small updates and trim revisions, but it’s the arrival of the incredibly efficient Ultra models that’s underpinned the A6’s return to form. Inspired by the brand’s multiple Le Mans-winning racers, they manage to be both more powerful and frugal than the standard 2.0 TDI on which they’re based.
That means a gutsy 188bhp turbodiesel which hits 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, yet emits as little as 114g/km and can do more than 60mpg. It doesn’t get much better than that for discerning business users with one eye on the bottom line.
But the really good news is that, unlike some eco-friendly machines, there are no driving compromises. The engine pulls smoothly and strongly throughout the rev range, the standard six-speed gearbox isn’t hobbled by tall ratios and the ride hasn’t been uncomfortably lowered and stiffened to aid aerodynamics.
The car looks and feels like a normal A6, too, which means the same sleek and neatly detailed exterior, and a classy, top-drawer cabin. You can also benefit from the Ultra upgrades right across the A6 range, from the sensible SE through to the sporty S line.
Of course, there’s more to the A6 success story than the Ultra. In fact, the range is packed with talented models, from the hi-tech Hybrid to the blisteringly quick S6 super-saloon. It’s this strength in depth that has helped the Audi fight its way back to the top.
Audi A6 2.0 TDI SE Ultra (£30,985)
The fast and frugal Ultra model appeals to the heart and the head, while SE specification comes loaded with executive toys. Slick eight-speed automatic box is £1,530 and is well worth considering.
Commended executive cars
BMW 5 Series
It was only by the narrowest of margins that the facelifted 5 Series missed out on the top prize. The rear-wheel-drive saloon still sets the standard for driving thrills, while its upmarket interior looks and feels pretty special. As before, it’s the efficient and entertaining 520d that’s the pick of the bunch.
It's getting on a bit now, but age has not withered the CLS’s sleek looks. Its mix of coupe style and four-door practicality is extremely compelling, while the cosseting interior provides a welcome slice of first-class luxury. It’s good to drive, too, and the V6 diesel-engined CLS 350 CDI is very fast and surprisingly efficient.
- 1IntroductionWe reveal the best new cars on sale today in every sector of the market, plus we name our overall 2014 Car of the Year
- 2Car of the Year 2014The British-built MINI is Auto Express' Car of the Year 2014
- 3City Car of the YearThe Skoda Citigo is the 2014 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Hyundai i10 and Toyota Aygo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2014 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the Dacia Sandero and Peugeot 208 commended
- 5Premium Small Car of the YearThe MINI is the 2014 Auto Express Premium Small Car of the Year, with the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 commended
- 6Small Family Car of the Year The SEAT Leon is the 2014 Auto Express Small Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf commended
- 7Family Car of the Year The Mazda 6 is the 2014 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Vauxhall Insignia commended
- 8Estate Car of the Year The SEAT Leon ST is the 2014 Auto Express Estate of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series and Skoda Octavia Estate commended
- 9MPV of the Year The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is the 2014 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Picasso and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 10Crossover of the Year The Nissan Qashqai is the 2014 Auto Express Crossover of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Cactus and Mazda CX-5 commended