Fitted with the latest version of the multitronic continuously variable transmission, the new models plug the hole in the range that has reined in the A6’s sales growth since launch.
On the face of it, the A6 Avant is a lot of car for 137bhp to lug around, especially with automatic transmission, and it’s true that performance seems leisurely.
0-62mph in 10.4 seconds and a top speed of 125mph for the Avant won’t light up the tyres, but the smoothness with which the transmission works sets it apart from conventional automatics. With the gear lever in ‘manual’ mode, seven speeds are indicated on the dash (compared with six on the previous generation multitronic) and these are selectable by tipping the gear-lever forwards or backwards, or via the steering wheel-mounted paddles, if you want to override the auto setting.
In practice, however, there appears to be little benefit in doing so: with peak torque of 236lb-ft delivered between 1,750 and 2,500rpm, more revs don’t necessarily translate to more go.
Sadly, there is no sign of a reduction in the momentary launch hesitation that is inherent in the multitronic ’box: quick roundabout exits still need to be planned ahead, but I found that, with practice, accurate anticipation pays dividends.
Combined economy is claimed at 39.7mpg compared with 42.8mpg for the manual: we managed figures ranging from 37mpg to almost 43mpg in our new example. As the engine loosens up, we would expect better. Elsewhere, the A6 is unchanged. That means impeccable build quality, fit and finish and generous space inside thanks to a longer than average wheelbase.
In terms of desirability, the A6 wants for little. Praise was unanimous for the Avant’s looks, especially in S line trim as on our test car.
The ground-hugging stance, handsome 18-inch alloys and all-important chrome trim framing the windows makes for a world of difference from standard models: alongside the S line, our long-term 2.7 TDI SE Avant quattro looks a little puny with its 16-inch wheels, standard suspension and no chrome, proving that these Audis are highly spec-sensitive.
A6 2.0 TDI SE multitronic prices start at £26,750, with the Avant at £28,320, which compares well with the equivalent BMW 520d SE auto (£27,710 for the saloon, £29,745 for the Touring).
SMOOTH and refined, the A6 2.0 TDI multitronic answers questions from those who want a well-priced executive diesel automatic.
Though it’s no fireball on the road, choose S line trim and the badge-delete option and you won’t be able to tell the 2.0 TDI apart from pricier and more powerful models.
Model: 2.0 TDI multitronic
Max power (bhp/rpm): 137/4,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 236/1,750
Max speed (mph): 125
0-62mph (secs): 10.4
Fuel consumption (mpg): 39.7
CO2 emissions (g/km): 192
Price (OTR): £28,320