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Driven: Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi UK.

Driven: Audi A6 Avant
This is an excellent executive estate which would be extremely easy to live with - and love.

 



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Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line quattro

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Good points: quality, spacious, high-tech and well-equipped cabin, crisp styling, impeccable ride and refinement, robust pace, decent handling

Not so good: can be pricey with choice options fitted, would a 40 TDI do the job just as well?

Key Facts

Model tested: Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI quattro S line S tronic
Price: A6 Avant range from 41,235; 55 TFSI quattro S line from 54,715, car as tested 62,805
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol
Transmission: seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic, quattro all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door estate
CO2 emissions: 164g/km (VED Band 151-170: 530 in year one, then 465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then 145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 39.2mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
0-62mph: 5.3 seconds
Power: 340hp at 5,000-6,400rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 1,370-4,500rpm
Boot space: 565-1,680 litres

Our view:

It used to be the case that Audis, and specifically fast Audis, were a bit dynamically inert. But there's been something of a chassis renaissance (renchassaisance? No? Too much?) at Ingolstadt recently, as we've been deeply impressed with several recent products - such as the RS Q3, the RS 7 Sportback, the SQ2, the TT RS, the RS 3 Saloon Sport Edition and, more pertinently to this review and nipping this list of S/RS Audis in the bud before it becomes farcically long, the S6 Avant.

This last one's particularly apt, because it's part of Audi's (perhaps questionably timed) decision to make all its S models diesel, such as the SQ5, allowing its RS models to have the stonking great V8s, V6s and inline-fives and so on. It's a sensible move, on the face of it, resulting in a properly two-tier performance offering which has the torquey, fuel-efficient vehicles on the S side of the fence and the loud, raucous and overblown RS cars on the other. But what if you want a nice, quiet, discreet, fast petrol Audi? Are you stuffed? Is the game over?

No, not really. Because we'd be quite happy if Audi had dropped the teeth-gnashingly frustrating '55 TFSI' badge on the back of this handsome, chiselled wagon, and replaced it with 'S6 TFSI' instead. Seriously, this 340hp V6-powered A6 was such a pleasing car to drive in all manner of situations that it felt every bit the S Audi, bar the official seal of approval from the powers-that-be at Ingolstadt. This particular 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine has been used in many a Volkswagen Group product, not least the strangely disappointing Mk2 SQ5 in its original TFSI format, but this is the best application we've had yet. It's so disarmingly quick that even the quoted 5.3-second 0-62mph time appears to be pessimistic, while the soundtrack in this car is the finest this V6 has yet emitted. Without trying, without augmenting it with all manner of fake rumbles, pops and bangs, the A6 55 TFSI just sings a gritty V6 song and it is wonderful to listen to as a result.

Without ever being obnoxiously loud, of course, so that the car is absolutely imperious on motorways. We battered up and down the A1, M25 and M11 in it, all of which felt like the Audi's natural element, and it managed to turn in 34.9mpg (weekly average: 29.7mpg) when cruising along, while its 1,150 optional suspension with damper control meant the ride comfort was tremendous. The sound suppression is also unimpeachable, so you can drive along in near-silence, wafting in the outside lane of the motorway with the V6 barely ticking over, or you can crank up the 730-watt Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System that's part of the 1,895 Comfort And Sound Pack and enjoy your favourite songs in perfect clarity at high volume, letting the adaptive cruise control do its thing and the miles just ebb away effortlessly. It almost goes without saying that the cabin helps in this regard, because a high-spec A6 like this is just a magnificent interior in which to while away the hours. Seriously: we did 575 miles in the A6 over the course of a week and when we handed it back, we felt like we'd barely driven the thing far enough.

But if you're reading between the lines and thinking that an Audi which is near-faultless on the motorway is going to be dull once you're off the arterial routes, think again. The A6 55 TFSI S line quattro has a composure and level of involvement that's quite surprising for a big executive chariot. As mentioned in our recent review of the magnificent BMW 330d, the A6 arrived the day after the Beemer departed and one of these two cars had sweeter, lighter steering and a much more pleasant wheel to hold and operate... and it wasn't the 3 Series. Furthermore, the A6 had loads of grip, a trace of chassis adjustability on the throttle and also some superb body control on its suspension, and while we wouldn't say it was a seminal driving experience on a twisting, deserted country road, it was good enough to have us pondering whether its credentials would support an S6 badge. We reckon it would.

Naturally, a slightly aloof dynamic set-up, a cost (with options) of almost 63,000 and the suspicion that a 2.0-litre TDI A6 would do everything the 55 TFSI can do on the motorway, only for less money and with better fuel economy, just tempers the overall impression of the Audi this time, but this is an executive estate car with four rings on its nose that feels easily the match of its BMW and Mercedes rivals when it comes to driver involvement. Factor in the usual Audi attributes like its high-quality cabin and technology, what seems like limitless grip and endless traction from the quattro system, and the sort of mechanical refinement which wouldn't disgrace a car costing twice as much as the A6, and you end up with one of the strongest vehicles in its very exalted class. Seems like you can have a nice, quiet, discreet, fast petrol Audi after all, and you'll really rather like it if you take the plunge on an A6 55 TFSI quattro.

Alternatives:

Jaguar XF Sportbrake: has lovely looks and the interior is very nice too, but the Jaguar feels less polished and refined than the A6 Avant.

Mercedes E-Class Estate: it's a lot like the Audi, actually - smooth ride, epic refinement, loads of grip and decent handling. Tough rival.

Volvo V90: you have to get the Swedish car's spec juuuust right to get the best of it, but when you do... it's sublime.


Matt Robinson - 28 Nov 2019









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2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.

2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.2019 Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI S line. Image by Audi UK.








 

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