Avant 2.0 TDI Ultra S line 190PS S tronic
wisdom tells you to think
outside the box.
thinking inside the box is the better
path. Audi have thought long and
hard inside the sleek box
A6 estate; about how to make this
already very good car even better.
And now they have!
OUTSIDE IT'S HARD TO SPOT the minor makeover (hint: more purposeful grille,
meaner-looking LED headlight units and, at the tail, LED light clusters above
a neat diffuser and stylish exhaust finishers) but there's no denying that the
A6 Avant now looks even more wind-cheatingly lithe. It's not all about looks,
though, which is why the most significant clue is the badging
note the 'Ultra' on the tailgate.
This refers to the Vorsprung durch Technik brand's ability to squeeze every
last mile out of a gallon of fuel while at the same time keeping emissions as
clean as can be. Audi reserves its 'Ultra' badge for its most frugal A3, A4,
A5, A7 Sportback and TT models, as well as the A6, one of which has just achieved
a new Guinness World Records title by driving to 14 countries on a single tank
of fuel. Yes, really.
unmodified Audi A6 TDI Ultra saloon chosen for the RAC-overseen challenge comfortably
exceeded its official 67.3mpg potential by averaging a remarkable 75.9mpg and
completing a total of 1,158.9 miles without the need for a fuel-stop!
Audi really knows how
to do interiors. The A6s
trimmed and refined
cabin confirms that.
Settle in one of the big,
upholstered chairs and
you immediately feel
Its a feeling that stays
with you throughout
the record it was driven almost non-stop for nearly 28 hours from the Netherlands
to Hungary, passing through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein,
Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. And it wasn't
all plain sailing: the two-driver team faced numerous challenges including diversions
for both heavy traffic due to an accident and a closed tunnel which led to an
unplanned mountain detour.
If you fancy trying this at home you could theoretically swallow whole the well
known A3, A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8 arterial roads, again without a single fuel
stop. If laid end-to-end, these key trunk roads, which sprawl southwards and
westwards from the centre of London towards Southampton and Bristol, and radiate
as far north as Glasgow, would stretch for 933 miles.
Audi really knows how to 'do' interiors just a glance at the A6's
tasteful, beautifully trimmed and refined cabin readily confirms that. Settle
into one of the big, comfy leather-upholstered 'chairs' and you immediately
feel at ease. It's a feeling that stays with you throughout your journey, however
long or short.
Generous personal space for four adults can be taken for granted
even three in the back is comfortably do-able if, that is, the
'interloper' has a silver tongue and can persuade those already lounging in
the outer rear seats to give up the centre armrest… Otherwise passenger duties
in the rear cabin are delightfully simple: stretch out and relax, untroubled
by the outside world.
Making sure the ambiance is not disturbed are a double-glazed front screen and
side windows and triple door seals. Four-zone climate control ensures that everybody
travels at their own preferred temperature.
The driver enjoys fine visibility and stacks of powered seat adjustment, and
cannot fail to set the perfect position. Particularly useful is the seat button
used to adjust the massage function, lumbar support, side cushions and thigh
support; turn its outer ring and all the options appear on the MMI display from
where you select. It's foolproof and guarantees no more fumbling in the dark.
the so-multifunction (including a cue voice control button and a 'favourite'
function) steering wheel is a pleasure to use thanks to its perforated leather
work areas. As well as from the wheel, many MMI functions can conveniently be
operated by voice. Paddle-shifters make light work of manual gear shifting if
you feel the need to assert yourself. All of which contributes to making driving
this large estate car an ultra relaxing experience.
Park Assist robot
parking is optional but
the standard-fit rear
parking camera which
uses the larger central
screen to help you
manoeuvre, supported by
acoustic nose and tail
sensors, has pretty much
got things covered...
is well-specced and includes all the expected stuff from one-shot auto up/down
windows to a central infotainment screen display with impeccable graphics that
pops-up out of the fascia when the Start Engine button is pressed (you can retract
it out of sight any time you prefer).
Helpfully, a large section of the display ahead of the driver switches automatically
to show you the navigation map (or on-board computer information) as appropriate
safer in heavy traffic conditions. As too is the digital speed
read-out and the head-up display that projects road speed, navigation graphics,
and adaptive cruise control distance settings onto the windscreen.
Speed limit signs can also be displayed on the driver's info screen or in the
top left corner of the map. Another liked feature was the all-weather lights
function that prevents you being dazzled by your own lights (when driving along
a wet road, for instance). Park Assist 'robot' parking is optional but the standard-fit
rear parking camera which uses the larger central screen to help you manoeuvre,
supported by acoustic nose and tail sensors, has pretty much got things covered.
Other essentials include three-stage heated power seats with lumbar and a two-recall
memory, heated powerfold auto-dimming door mirrors, electric parking brake with
auto function, automatic lights and wipes, keyless entry with engine Start/Stop
button, Nappa leather upholstery, cruise control, parking sensors, SatNav, Bluetooth
connectivity, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED running lights, LED rear lights,
sports suspension, powered tailgate, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
options include the Matrix LED headlight system this detects oncoming
vehicles and automatically adjusts the LED light pattern to avoid dazzling other
drivers; the benefit is that they maximise the light thrown ahead of the A6
to make sure you always have the best spread of light ahead of you at night
and in poor weather. A night vision camera that can 'see' and alert you to the
presence of otherwise unseen pedestrians and large animals (deer, etc) is also
2.0-litre TDI Ultra installed in the engine bay might be lean but it's also
fairly mean 187bhp is a respectable amount even in a sizeable
wagon like the A6. The other side of the power coin is 295lb ft of torque that
peaks from 1,750rpm, ensuring that the Ultra is most certainly no lazybones
when your right foot calls for some get up and go.
A passenger or driver
who didnt know the car
would say that it doesnt
feel like an eco model.
And it most certainly
doesnt. For the record
this A6 estate will run to
140mph and deals with
0-62mph dash in a
crisp 8.5 seconds...
passenger or driver who didn't know the car would say that it doesn't feel anything
like an 'eco' model. And it most certainly doesn't. For the record this A6 estate
will run to 140mph and deals with the benchmark 0-62mph dash in a crisp 8.5
Designed to make light of hauling serious weight, either in the cabin or behind
it, the A6 Avant is well-fettled in the handling department the
sports suspension lowers the ride height for tight and predictable 'placeability'.
Allied to the decent supply of bhp and torque it means there's no danger of
you being bored behind the wheel.
Audi's 'Drive Select' provides a variety of driving modes to suit all moods
ranging from 'soft' to 'sharp' choose, on the fly, from Auto,
Comfort, Dynamic and the driver's personal pick 'n' mix Individual. Make no
mistake, this lifestyle+ wagon can still serve up a sporty drive despite its
It's also reassuringly safe and in front-wheel drive spec traction and stability
are good and there's no noticeable understeer penalty when pressing on through
bends. The steering is nicely weighted and this too can be adjusted to suit
via Drive Select. Hefty disc brakes all-round deliver strong, fuss-free stopping
whether you're running fully laden or just going solo.
Our test car was rolling on meaty 245/45 rubber but the ride on the 18-inchers
was still pleasantly compliant and couldn't dampen the fine time we had on our
demanding test route along Kent and Surrey's not always well cared for B-roads.
boot, as you would be expecting, is a pretty humongous 565 litres. Access is
via a quick-acting powered rear tailgate and a low sill makes for easy loading.
If you need the whole caboose then folding down the rear seats turns the boot
into an 1,680-litre cargo bay with a very long and seamless floor. A sliding
rail luggage system along with ample nets and fastenings makes securing your
load something that goes without a hitch every time.
demanding test route takes in a mixed bag of roads through Kent and Surrey and
after a full week behind the wheel we chalked up an overall average over 650
miles of 47.7 against the official 62.8mpg.
After 650 miles behind
the wheel we chalked up
an overall average
of 47.7 against the
Were we disappointed?
Not in the least.
As Audis Guinness
record proves, less eager
drivers than us can
do better wed say
55mpg is in reach
we disappointed? Not in the least. As Audi's Guinness record proves, less eager
drivers than us can, and most likely will, do better. We think 55mpg is in reach
for most. But because the driving experience is so cosseting, who cares if you
don't set a record every time you go out!
Also due a share of the credit for this Avant's ultra-economy is the twin-clutch
S tronic autobox which makes the very best of its seven gears to benefit economy
or build speed quickly; either way it's a super-smooth shifter.
But it does get a little help along the way from Audi's technically-smart 'coasting'
function that saves a drop more fuel every time your right foot comes off the
accelerator by letting the engine freewheel quite safely
in neutral. To enable this the driver needs to select the Efficiency setting
from the Drive Select menu. You should also know that the S tronic-equipped
Avant drinks less fuel and exhales less CO2 than one with a manual 'box.
Another well-considered touch particularly appreciated by the
driver of the vehicle behind you is that you don't need to keep
your foot on the brake to stop the engine restarting whenever the automatic
stop-start is active so when, at night or in the wet, you're waiting for the
traffic lights to change, your brake lights won't dazzle the driver behind.
Make new friends drive an Audi!
A capacious quality estate, the A6 Avant ticks all the right boxes. It's prestigious
but not in the least showy, and it's a premium place to enjoy a long drive whether
you're just along for the ride or behind the wheel. Like across fourteen countries,
Audi A6 Avant 2.0 TDI Ultra S line 190PS S tronic
Maximum speed: 140mph | 0-62mph: 8.5 seconds | Test Average: 47.7mpg
Power: 187bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2 115g/km