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Audi A6 Avant 2.7 TDI SE



ACCORDING to Audi’s research, nearly half of all A6 Avant drivers earn more than £90,000 a year. Lucky people. Not only are they trousering a hefty amount of cash, they also get to drive the best-looking estate car on the market.

None of which is really fair, but I have been driving around in an A6 Avant recently so at least I’ve got something in common with Audi’s ideal buyer of this car.

So I too have been appreciating the understated styling, the huge boot, the ease at which it devours miles and the sense of well-being which comes with having such an elegant car parked on your drive.

And as the majority of Avant purchases will be made with company money, we’ve been trying the Euro IV-compliant 2.7-litre TDI version, with 176bhp and 280lb-ft of torque.

Priced at £28,415 on-the-road in SE spec as tested, the 2.7 undercuts the 3.0 TDI by £3,900, although you have to do without quattro four-wheel drive, an extra 46bhp and 51lb-ft of torque.

But unless you really want the extra traction which comes with quattro, then the 2.7 TDI is the one to go for. It still offers a massive mid-range shove, with a wall of grunt available from just 1,400rpm.

It’s actually quite silly how a car as big and heavy as this builds speed, and it makes overtaking a possibility almost anywhere.

Unfortunately, the 2.7’s standard six-speed manual gearbox isn’t the best. It doesn’t like to be rushed, so changes have to be slow and deliberate. Thankfully the A6’s engine doesn’t thrive on revs, so this doesn’t impede acceleration, but it has a clunky feel which is at odds with the smooth manner in which the car does everything else.

Better to dip into the options list and pay the £1,400 extra for the six-speed Tiptronic automatic. We’re familiar with this gearbox in our A6 saloon long-termer, and it really suits the 3.0 TDI quattro we run, so it’s bound to be just as impressive in the smaller-engined 2.7 TDI.

Economy and emissions suffer as a result, but for those people basking in their £90K salaries who get to choose an A6 Avant as their company car aren’t going to be too bothered by moving from the 25% benefit-in-kind band to 32%.

And if there are any potential A6 Avant customers out there who are more concerned with company car tax, they would be better off waiting for the 2.0 TDI version which arrives in August.

But for the high rollers and company bosses, the 2.7 TDI with Tiptronic gearbox is the pick of the range.

Not only does it have elegance stamped all over it, the Avant also has a massive boot and it features a clever luggage holding system, so items put in the boot don’t slide around.

Inside, it’s the same as the saloon, which means bags of room both front and rear, a top quality feel to all the materials used and a big, imposing dash with centrally-mounted screen and the traditional over-sized steering wheel.

But that slight criticism aside, the A6 Avant does everything so well it’s hard to argue against it.

Yes, a BMW 5-series Touring is a more rewarding car to drive, but for the businessman who wants luxury, economy and understated elegance, he’ll need to be familiarising himself with an Audi brochure.

Engine (cc): 2,688 TDI
Power (bhp/rpm): 176/3,300
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 280/1,400
Max speed (mph): 140
0-62mph (sec): 8.3
Fuel consumption (mpg): 40.3
CO2 emissions (g/km): 187
Transmission: 6-sp man
On sale: Now
Price (OTR): £28,415

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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