You won’t see this diesel for dust
BENEATH the bland cookiecutter corporate shape, this Audi conceals two secrets, one unlikely, the other wildly improbable.
First this A6 four-door is a quite the sports sedan, covering 0-100km/h in 5.1 seconds. Second — this is the cliche-crushing bit — the donk that gets it to that rate so rapidly is neither blown six nor V8 petrol. It’s a diesel.
Audi’s bi-turbo diesel V6 is familiar from the topline Q5 SUV and A7 liftback yet in this stealth sedan it has the greatest impact.
The identikit shape is midway between the bland A4 and A8 — nothing to see here, folks. Or, you might think, hear — other than the industrial clatter that’s synonymous with diesel.
Yet when the right foot’s down the fettled and adjustable exhaust note sounds like an enraged gorilla. Not exactly the sublime aural experience of Audi’s still naturally aspirated V8 but still closer to a petrol powered sound than diesel.
I sulk when swapping the deliciously mad RS4 Avant, with its operatic 4.2-litre V8, for this A6. But on a law- abiding 300km of open-road cruising (with the occasional furtive burst of acceleration) , I barely miss the former. Torque is the key, the sedan’s Mount Everest of Newton metres transmitted via an eight-speed auto to all four wheels, a wave to surf from as low as 1450rpm.
With normal throttle openings that tide comes on all but inaudibly, largely denuding you of accelerative sensation; yet this is the quickest diesel on the road.
Despite its bulk, this A6 doesn’t lose interest when the tarmac curves. The steering feel, however, is never satisfactory — too light in any drive mode setting, as is the Audi way — it’s not the nose that pushes wide when the A6 is shoved too hard into a tight corner but the tail, the sports diff allowing a bit of play.
That’s one of the battery of options fitted to our car, part of the $2245 drive select kit. With this and sports seats, Teknik package, nice paint (an outrageous $2880), the $118,800 sticker blows out to $129,480 plus on-roads.