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First drive: Audi A6 Avant Ultra. Image by Audi.

First drive: Audi A6 Avant Ultra
Audi's A6 gets a mid-life makeover, and an even more efficient entry-level 2.0-litre TDI model.

   



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Audi A6 Avant Ultra

4 4 4 4 4

Thanks to engine updates, a new gearbox and some fancy glassfibre reinforced plastic springs, Audi's revisions to its A6 2.0 TDI Avant estate go further than mere tweaked headlamps and a longer standard equipment list.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Audi A6 Avant 2.0 TDI Ultra S tronic
Price: 33,485
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, seven-speed automatic
Body style: five-door estate
CO2 emissions: 114g/km (Band C, 30 per year)
Combined economy: 67.3mpg
Top Speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Power: 190hp at 3,800- to 4,200rpm
Torque 400Nm at 1,750-to 3,000rpm

What's this?

Audi's new A6, which, if we're being truthful, looks largely the same as the old one. Pay a little bit more attention and you might notice new LED daytime running light equipped headlamps, re-profiled bumpers and a slightly reshaped grille, but you'd be forgiven if you missed them. Still, it's a good-looking thing the A6, better still as an Avant (estate). It's in its biggest-selling guise here, as there's a 2.0-litre TDI engine residing under its bonnet, the Ultra tag denoting its status as the most efficient model in the line-up.

How does it drive?

That Ultra badge might highlight this as the most frugal A6 Avant in the range, but it's not short on go. Despite emissions as modest as an angel's fart, there's 190hp available, allowing the A6 Ultra to reach 62mph from rest in a respectable 8.5 seconds. Allowing those low emissions are a host of economy-biased technologies, including revised stop-start and a coasting function on the new S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. That slick-shifting seven-speed auto is a welcome replacement of the A6's old CVT Multitronic unit and the new transmission allows the A6 to coast whenever possible to eke out maximum mpg. It's all very cleverly integrated too, the coasting only obvious when the rev counter's needle drops to idle, while it re-engages immediately and near seamlessly when you either accelerate or brake.

That coasting function only occurs when you choose to allow it via the now standard Drive Select, it requiring Economy mode before doing so. It's a shame Audi hasn't pulled it out of the MMI interface really, as it requires a bit of fiddling if you want to switch between it and the various other settings. Do so and the 2.0-litre engine is a bit more swift in its delivery, though for all its ample torque and plentiful power it lacks the 'over-delivery' that you get from its BMW 520d rival, the A6 feeling a bit more slovenly in its response.

There's very little in the way of steering feel either; the A6 steering is accurate enough, but doesn't give you any real information at the wheel. The ride is composed though, the A6 2.0 TDI Avant unique in the A6 range because it rides on glassfibre reinforced plastic springs rather than steel ones. They drop the kerb weight by a useful 4.4kg, while they also help improve the A6's ride quality.

Refinement is high too, thanks to number of factors, the A6 now featuring acoustic glass in the windscreen and side windows, while that new automatic is also instrumental in keeping the A6 hushed. It's all very calm and capable, if not as engaging as a 520d, though for many that's a sizeable portion of its appeal.

Verdict

A fine looking car with a beautiful interior, ample space and plentiful equipment, the Audi A6 2.0 TDI Avant Ultra is an impressive all-rounder. The visual changes might be light, but there's enough substance to the mechanical updates to keep the A6 competitive in this hotly contested class. More standard equipment, like an improved MMI interface, drive select, four-zone climate control and more besides, make its case even stronger, even if some rivals offer a more interesting driving experience.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 22 Oct 2014



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2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.

2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.



2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.
 

2015 Audi A6 Avant. Image by Audi.
 






 

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