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The Top Gear car review:Audi A6
For:Superb interior, quiet 2.0-litre diesel, ride
Against:Not as good to drive as Audi would have you believe. Bit dull
What is it?
A new Audi saloon, in size L to the A8’s XL, A4’s M and A3’s S. Its maker claims the eighth-generation A6 is a “multi-talent in the luxury class” that “brings numerous innovations to the segment…in terms of digitisation, comfort and sportiness”. Bold claims, and possibly justified given the A6 is based on the same platform as the A7 and A8, and thus gets much technology. Pretty much everything available on its bigger, more expensive stablemates, in fact, except the A8’s fancy AI autonomy. Technology like all-wheel steering, the mild-hybrid system that allows engine-off coasting at up to 99mph, and the twin-touchscreen ‘MMI touch’ infotainment system. More on all those later.
Problem is, the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 – the A6’s main competition – are all tremendously good cars. The BMW for the way it drives (an honourable mention for the Jaguar XF too, although it’s lacking elsewhere), the Mercedes for its refinement and the S90 for its serenity and Scandi-charm. If you’re in middle-management and want A Good Car, you are not without options. So the Audi A6 can’t just be good – it has to be really good, and in pretty much every conceivable way, just to compete.
Naturally it’s bigger than the car it replaces, by 7mm in length, 12mm in width and 2mm in height. And while there’s undoubtedly a lot of A4 and A8 going on in the design – because why wouldn’t there be – we think the A6 is a quietly handsome thing. Especially in S-Line trim, which adds a bit of aggression to what is otherwise a very subtle package. Better-proportioned than the A8, certainly, and (marginally) more interesting than the A4. More differentiates these three than separates the C-, E- and S-Class – that’s for sure. The wagon looks especially good, and will look better still when Audi pumps out the arches for the inevitable, million-horsepower RS6.