Audi A6 55 TFSI
Audi A6 55 TFSI £48,000 est
WE SAY: MIDDLE MANAGEMENT IS SPOILT FOR CHOICE...
The BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Volvo S90 are all tremendously good cars. The BMW for the way it drives, the Merc for its refinement and the Volvo for its serenity and Scandi-charm. If you’re in middle management and want A Good Car, you are not without options. So the new Audi A6 can’t just be good – it has to be really good, and in pretty much every conceivable way, just to compete.
And it very nearly is. Nowadays it’s based on the same platform as the new A7 and A8, so it’s physically a bit bigger than the car it replaces (by 7mm in length, 12mm in width and 2mm in height). But the main thing is that it gets pretty much all their tech. So the brilliantly tactile interior is dominated by the twin-touchscreen MMI Touch infotainment system, and the driving experience by some 39 driver assistance systems, all-wheel steering (where specified) and a mild hybrid system that allows engine-off coasting at up to 159kph, whichever engine you choose.
Brits get three to start off with, all with quattro AWD. Two 3.0-litre V6s – a petrol and a diesel – and a new 2.0-litre, 4cyl diesel that rivals Merc’s for silence and smoothness. Of the other two, the petrol is the better choice – it gets a cleverer gearbox (a 7spd DCT to the diesel’s 8spd auto), is quieter, more refined and feels lighter on its feet.
Not that we’d ever call the A6 especially sporty. For all Audi’s claims its new car is the most dynamic in its class, the A6 still feels more aloof than a 5-Series. Agile, thanks to the four-wheel steering, but not as involving as a 5-Series or Jag XF. Not to worry. It’s superb on the motorway, where the silence of its cabin and refinement of its engines is most obvious. Rides well, too – at least on the optional air suspension and adaptively damped steel springs we sampled. Better than the A7, which suffers when you equip it with the 21in alloys its aesthetic deserves.
There really is very little in it, between this, the BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Drivers will want to stick with the BMW. But for the rest of you, this is an option well worth thinking about.
TOM HARRISONSPECIFICATION2995cc, V6 turbo, AWD, 335bhp, 500Nm6.7L/100km, 151g/km CO 0–100kph in 5.1secs, 250kph 1835kgVERDICT: Quiet and comfortable, with a techy interior that screams A8, but others remain more fun to drive.