- Screen overload in the cabin
- Really refined engine
- Full of technology
- Not much storage in cabin
- Confusing engine badges
The estate car sector has transformed itself over the past decade and in the premium segment a fair few rivals have now sprung up as more buyers look to combine lots of practicality with an increased amount of luxury.
Audi’s A6 may be into it’s fifth generation but to say it’s ageing well is an understatement, utter the words RS6 and grown men, and women, go weak at the knees.
But we can’t all have an RS6 as a daily runaround, so what’s it like to spend a week with a ‘normal’ Audi A6 Avant? We had one to find out.
On The Road
The Audi A6 Avant we had on test was the 40 TDI, you might read this thinking what does the 40 mean and you’d be as confused as we were when the manufacturer decided to change their engine badges. They usually show the engine size or power but Audi now have just two digits to show the power, which actually still doesn’t really relate to the horsepower of the car - the 40 TDI produces 204PS (201hp) but the 40 badge number is for between 165hp and 198hp. Confused? So are we, so swiftly moving on.
With 400Nm of torque, the 4-cylinder propers itself from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds, not bad considering it’s a fairly weighty estate car, with a top speed of 152mph.
It comes with a 7-speed S Tronic automatic transmission which is fairly seamless, our only gripe that with the Start/Stop function it can be slow to start up again when pulling away.
It makes an ideal motorway cruiser and it’s fairly efficient too with combined mpg figures between 44.8 to 47.9 and emitting 124g/km of CO2, so will cost £165 for the first year, because this car is a smidge over £40,000 it will be £450 in the following years.
The Audi A6 Avant is a big car, but don’t be put off by this as it can be fairly nimble and agile when you want to be and the ride is firm yet comfortable, although some harsh 10mph speed ramps did make it feel a bit unruly, despite the fact the test car came with a suspension featuring damping control costing £1,150.
Audi’s Drive Select is a great addition to enhance your driving experience in the A6 Avant, with options including Comfort, Effiency, Dynamic and Individual changing the characteristics of the car, which can be adjusted for your personal pleasure. In Dynamic mode the steering is stiffer, (the selection option on the display screen shows an Audi on a circuit) unlike Comfort where it’s a lot lighter.
What was noticeable is how quiet the 40 TDI engine is, even at high speeds and the cabin feels well insulated from road, wind and engine noise. If it’s a relaxing drive you’re looking for then this is the perfect car.
The £800 optional black leather and alcantara mix sports seats were extremely comfortable and supportive, making them ideal for long distances in the car, but like with a lot of Audi models when you’re going for premium luxury you expect the front seats to be adjustable electronically.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
The premium estate market has grown of late with manufacturers vying for sales, gone are the days of the models looking a bit dull and dependable, they’re now ever so stylish.
Audi have updated their recent releases with an extremely attractive cabin, the Virtual Cockpit 12.3 inch TFT driver’s screen now is available across their range, which is pretty impressive visually especially when the full screen is in navigation mode.
There’s a touchscreen display screen in the centre stack which features car set up, telephone settings, media, navigation and then another touchscreen immediately underneath with climate control. As seen on the A8 it looks the business, although it does tend to show up finger marks...
Although some touchscreens can be hard to use on the move, this is really intuitive with a clicking sound every time you touch the screen and there’s also a handy feature which lets you draw letters and numbers on the bottom screen for inputting addresses.
With the additional Technology Pack at an eye watering £1,495 the top screen increases from 8.8-inches size to 10.1 and comes with Audi’s phonebox system which includes a wireless smartphone charger.
Space & Practicality
The plus side about the Audi A6 Avant is the space, it’s ideal as a family car as the room in the rear is ideal for helping to get children in a car seat - they have plenty of space to get in and out without it being too much of a struggle and them hitting their heads on the roof.
It has a fairly decent sized boot at 565 litres, although it’s a bit smaller than the Volvo V90 we tested recently, it comes with an added cover and a moveable boot floor.
It also comes with helpful additions like an electric tailgate, release buttons to fold down the rear seats and also boot lights - you’d be suprised how many cars don’t have the latter.
One thing that lets it down is lack of storage, the glove box isn’t very large, neither are the door spaces and with the Volvo V90 having a large, deep centre armrest, the one in the Audi A6 Avant houses a wireless charger and SD card and USB points, which although great for smartphone usage means you’ll struggle to put a large bottle anywhere.
The Audi A6 Avant is priced from £39,850 for the Sport version, options included £685 for metallic Floret silver paint, £800 sports seats and bizarrely £115 for a fuel tank increase so it rose to £45,085.
Rivals include the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo’s V90, so how does it compare? Like with all cars there are things we do and don’t like about it, the cabin is really impressive and the new touchscreens are visually a treat, interior space is also really good in the rear, but actual storage space is something that does let it down slightly if that’s something you’re looking for in a car and the options list can be quite expensive.
That being said, would we have one? Of course, it’s a model that has made estates cool again after them being just a practical car for so long.
Quality & Reliability
Gloss black inserts and silver surrounds make the interior look very premium, including the plethora of display screens and although there are no cheap plastics in the cabin, the indicator stalks were a bit clunky.
As it’s been around for over twenty years then the Audi has plenty of reliability history and there have never been any major recalls for this model. But, where Audi does fall short is that their overall reliability hasn’t put them anywhere near their rivals and they’re often languishing out of the top ten in owner surveys.
Safety & Security
The Audi A6 scored the full five stars in the Euro NCAP ratings in 2018 and although the manufacturer is up there with Volvo on the driving assistance systems they have on the model, some safety options can be a bit pricey.
Safety systems include Pre-Sense front with lane departure, a rear camera, front and rear parking sensors and there are optional packs including City Assist which includes blind spot monitoring, front cross-traffic assist and Pre-Sense rear, and Tour Pack which has adaptive cruise control, lane departure and traffic sign recognition.
It also has plenty of airbags for driver and passengers, Isofix child seat points, remote locking and an alarm.