Audi A6 3.0 TDI road test and review
FASHION trends have a tendency to repeat themselves.
The latest proliferation of denim and acid-wash is testament to the circle of vogue.
Could that mean a revival of the sedan? The humble four-door with a boot has been largely cast aside in recent times, with the modern SUV garnering all attention.
Premium offerings are maintaining the sedan's presence, and Audi's A6 is appealing for those shopping in the $100k aisle who can look past the popular high-riding wagons.
The interior is well designed and plush, although it falls just shy of lavish. Then again, we have been spoilt by the state-of-the-art cabin styling of Audi's own TT roadster and big Q7 SUV, which manages to make its stablemates appear less shiny.
Yet everything is easy to navigate your way around, and the users just need to master the central dial, which controls an array of functions from stereo and phone through to the sat nav.
The driver has a lovely instrument binnacle featuring a tacho on the left, speedo on the right and large central digital display.
Personal preference is to have a large digital speedo that enables the driver to maintain a close scrutiny on the velocity…and you need to be watchful. The diesel is outstandingly fast, and you can quickly creep above the legal limit with little care with limited noise intrusion.
The cabin is super quiet. All the materials are soft-touch, and there's a nice sprinkling of chrome through the centre and on the console.
There is also a lovely circular line that starts on the front door and continues around the dash and on to the opposing front door for an added touch of elegance.
On the road
The 3.0-litre turbo diesel is outstandingly strong. It always feels like there is power at the ready, courtesy of monstrous torque.
It truly is an all-rounder, which is why we have seen derivatives of this engine in various Audi models.
On the highway it cruises around 110kmh at about 1500rpm, yet can haul away from standstill with sports car-like prowess.
There are various drive modes, such as "comfort" and "efficiency", yet choose "dynamic" and things can become raucous.
Steering is light, perhaps too light for eager drivers, which is especially noticeable with the lane-keep assist functionality. That technology helps keep the vehicle within the white lines if driver concentration wanes - it's a life-saver, but it can lead to an artificial feel on occasions. For those who don't like it around town, it's best turned off.
Throw the sedan into a bend and you can experience the benefit of Quattro all-wheel drive, and that lovely twist of power enables you to slingshot away with precision and control.
What do you get?
Basic equipment incorporates 18-inch alloys with the S Line exterior package, LED headlights and daytime running lights, sat nav, 20.3cm colour screen, CD/DVD stereo system with digital radio and 10 speakers, automatic parking with front and rear camera, four-zone climate control and groovy rear indicators that cause LEDs to light up progressively in the direction you are turning.
There is also a $4800 Technik package, which includes radar cruise control, Audi's Pre Sense Plus safety system that helps protect the occupants from front and rear accidents, park assist as well as a 360-degree camera and internet capability.
Worth a look in this diesel sedan realm are the BMW 530d ($109,400), Jaguar XF S Luxury ($95,900) and Mercedes-Benz E250 ($99,400).
You'll get consumption of less than six litres for every 100km - outstanding considering its ability to sprint and its long-legged highway dexterity.
Being a premium car, its maintenance can be expensive, but a sedan requires less upkeep on tyres and brakes than an SUV.
The monstrous boot managed to fit an adult-sized bike with one child seat still in place. That's almost SUV-like flexibility.
The back seats have a 60-40 split, which makes things easier for carrying various cargo.
Cabin accommodation provides space for five adults. Three across the back seat can be a squeeze, with the transmission tunnel in the middle imposing on leg room.
Various nooks offer ample space for phones, keys and audio devices with USB access via the console. There are two cup holders in the centre (a small one perfect for takeaway caffeine hits and one large enough for bottles), while in the back you can find another pair on the fold-down armrest.
The A6 is an inconspicuous thing. Consider it a sleeper - it features outstanding ability, yet doesn't stand out from the crowd, which appeals to many people.
This is a supreme sedan all-rounder. The combination of space for five adults, along with an outstanding strong and frugal diesel powerplant makes the A6 easy to love.
One problem facing the sedan is Audi's great range of vehicles around this price bracket, some of which have a greater presence.
Yet for those who don't want to scream for attention and love a dynamic drive without making regular trips to the bowser, the A6 is premium poise and precision.
What matters most?
What we liked: Strong and seamless driving experience, massive boot.
What we'd like to see: The Technik package standard.
Warranty and servicing: Three years unlimited-kilometre warranty. Servicing intervals are annual or 15,000km.
Model: Audi A6 3.0 TDI S Line.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel generating maximum power of 160kW @ 3250-4500 and peak torque of 500Nm @ 1250-3000rpm.
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic.
Consumption: 5.1 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance: 0-100kmh in 6.6 seconds; top speed 244kmh.
Bottom line: $99,900.