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The Top Gear car review:Audi A6 Saloon
For:Beautiful interior with just the right amount of eco credentials
Against:It's been facelifted but the exterior still remains understated and forgettable - c'mon Audi!
2.0 TDI Ultra S Line 4dr
Crushing pace and - configured in the right way - comfortable too.
The A6 is a classy, understated saloon. It’s confident but lacks sparkle.
The RS6’s little brother has gained some muscles and a new face. We test the new 444bhp V8 saloon
The S6 hides big performance behind sedate-ish looks. Better than before, but it’s all a bit too… calm for Top Gear
Convincing hybrid, but high cost means diesel makes better sense…
With improved cabin quality, dynamics and emissions, anyone driving an all-new A6 is in good hands
What we say:
Gather round, smart and sensible people. The classy, underrated A6 is a car for you
What is it?
Audi’s big executive saloon – now made that bit more exciting thanks to a new S6 halo car with a V8 engine shared with a supercar (yes, really). The trouble is, the A6 has always been the forgotten car of the Audi range. Good, solid, reliable, but never that exciting, it’s the large saloon that always slips under the radar.
Audi’s tried to fix this with a facelift, but few are likely to spot the changes: they’re small-change stuff in the extreme. A case of as you were: not even the Bentley-engined 4.0-litre V8 S6 range-topper really elicits much attention.
If you’re a company director who happens to like driving, we’d suggest you head over to your BMW dealer and have a go in the 5-Series. The A6 is perfectly OK, but there’s not much sparkle here. The vast majority of A6s sold will be the front-wheel-drive version, so safe understeer is the order of the day here. The steering is precise but numb – blame the electric system – but the flipside is that the A6 will chew miles easily thanks to a comfortable ride. Spec the optional air suspension, and avoid enormous wheels, to make sure you get the best possible ride quality.
As for the engines, the most levelheaded will go for the 2.0 TDI Ultra, which is quiet, economical and surprisingly punchy. The new 3.0 TDI BiTurbo is very impressive too, with a 535d-baiting 320bhp and even an enthusiastic exhaust note to match. The S6 has exceptional pace but is a bit soulless with it: the epitome of a fast Audi, then.
On the inside
As ever, an impeccable interior from Audi. It’s so impressive you’ll feel like you’re getting excellent value for money every time you step into your car. A simple instrument layout means it’s a relaxing view forward (crucial in this sort of car, which will do big mileages), and there are just enough buttons to make you feel like you really are in touch with modern technology, but not so many that it looks like the switch-monster has sneezed all over your dashboard. Top of the class, Audi, so well done.
You shouldn’t have any worries with an A6. Not only has it got the might of Audi’s research and development behind it, but all the engines and transmissions in the A6 are well-proven in loads of other VW Group cars. Also, you can now extend the standard three-year warranty to five years by paying £1,335. But given that most A6s are bought on company-car schemes and will disappear into the secondhand market after three years, there’s probably not much point in paying for any extra warranty. Buy some air suspension instead.