Audi A6 Avant
WE SAY: OK, PANACHE ISN’T ON THE MENU, BUT THERE’S MORE THAN ENOUGH TO MAKE UP FOR THAT...
Anice, big Audi estate car. That’s all. No delving into previously unheard-of new sectors, no busting of niches. It’s a new A6 Avant, and it is very nice. So I may have spoiled the verdict a little, but bear with me: this is the latest generation of Audi’s do-it-all estate and the progress is very much on the evolution side of revolution.
Saying that, it is notably new. Sharper surfaces, the Audi familial face apparently modelled on various sizes of faintly angry robot, a decidedly technological look, the new A6 Avant is a bit slinkier, but just as practical. Broad brush stuff: it’s bigger on the inside for people, just as capacious as before for stuff (565 litres of bootspace seats up, 1,680 flat), and features a great deal more tech. We get a pair of diesels to start with, one ‘40 TDI’ with four cylinders and 201bhp/295lb ft and a six-pot with 283bhp/457lb ft called the ‘50 TDI’. There’ll be similar petrol versions later, as well as ‘Ultra’ super-eco cars. The smaller engines get a seven- speed S-Tronic auto and front-wheel drive as standard; the more powerful stuff, Audi’s 8-speed tiptronic and quattro. You’ll be able to option four-wheel drive on the smaller engines later on, and no doubt there’ll be a blood-boiling RS6 not too far away.
There’s a veritable confusion of options – including four different suspension set-ups – but generally, the A6 does exactly what you want it to, no matter how you order it: the car is comfortable, quiet and well thought out. The small diesel is effective, dull, and capable of mid-50s mpg without too much trouble, thanks to the 12-volt mild hybrid and extended stop/start. The larger engine is much more agreeable – though you do lose about 10mpg on the combined cycle. It handles neatly, cruises elegantly and exhibits the kind of calm competence that makes sense in all sorts of situations – especially if you don’t resort to options-list FOMO and inadvertently drench it in things you don’t really need. The kind of car that makes niches look a bit silly.