For me, the optional Sport Pack as fitted to our car gives a usefully firmer ride than in the standard SE, eliminating the undulating road wallow that can afflict the standard set-up if there is a load on board.
I think this is an essential extra, as previous experience of other A6 Avants – including the old model – showed up the need for firmer springing to avoid any discomfort on the motorway.
In any case, the Sport Pack's lowered ride height gives the A6 the appearance of a real 'road-hugger', which enhances an already very handsome car. An imminent spell of building work and my usual spring garage clearout has seen the Audi putting in fine service as a capacious load lugger, too. Fold the rear seats flat, line it out with plenty of old cardboard and you have a capacious load area that will swallow everything from garden debris to all that accumulated garage rubbish with ease.
Who said this was merely a 'lifestyle' estate rather than a genuine 'load lugger'? In the run-up to the first service, I can't fault the way the car is running, though for some reason fuel consumption has settled at a rather lower figure than before – 36.8mpg compared with 38.5mpg on average, according to the driver information system. No doubt this is due to my heavier right foot now that the engine is nicely loosened up.
Resetting the trip computer on a run, however, has revealed some astonishing economy figures on reasonably gentle long distance journeys – 41.2mpg is my 'personal best' so far, though this ducks down below 40mpg almost immediately when you turn off the motorway.
One thing that will need attention at the service is that dratted creak from the passenger side fascia area.
Last time, I reported this was coming from the door casing, but further investigation has narrowed it down to the dash air vent area.
Whatever, it is getting worse – much worse, and makes itself felt whenever you turn a corner. Think about the frequency with which you do that and you will understand the annoyance it causes. Trouble is, I know these kinds of noises are notoriously difficult to cure, so it will pose a test for our local Audi dealer, Cook's of Peterborough, to rectify. Here's hoping they'll be able to nail it.
Company car tax bill 2003/04 (40% taxpayer): £232 per month