Fleet News

Audi A6 Avant 2.7 TDI quattro SE Tiptronic

Audi

Review

I CHEERED when it started snowing the other week. Not because I couldn’t wait to dust down the toboggan sitting in the shed, but because I was in a car, laden with stuff, heading west on my annual Christmas epic drive.

And because of my commitment to the company car road testing cause, this sudden snowstorm in the middle of nowhere didn’t panic me into thinking we would be dug out days later, stiff and lifeless as icicles, but instead made me rather excited: what a great chance to test the mighty quattro system of the A6.

And sure enough, the four-wheel drive turned the Avant into a cross between Franz Klammer and the Abominable Snowman as it cruised through the worst the festive weather could throw at it, while other less-wheel-drive vehicles slithered about like fish on a muddy riverbank.

I know it costs more in tax and uses more fuel, but when most of the time the roads are either wet or icy, I would happily pay the extra for the increased security of quattro.

And who needs an SUV when the Avant has the on-road four-wheel drive capability, the interior space and upmarket image without the in-your-face vulgarity?

It really is the car to be seen in at the point-to-point meeting, chocolate Labrador in the boot, car covered in mud and not looking try-hard.

Elsewhere, the big Audi is turning into exactly the car I thought it would. Last year I ran an A6 3.0-litre TDI saloon, which I have to say was my all-time favourite long-termer.

And while the 2.7 TDI will never challenge the all-out punch of that very quick car (in a straight line from a standstill it matched the Mazda RX-8 we had on long-term test), it is considerably quieter and more refined, as well as averaging nearly 40mpg on motorway journeys. It is also doing better than Audi’s claimed combined figure of 33.6mpg – a tremendous performance for a 2,200-mile-old engine.

In fact at tickover once the engine is warm, you can’t hear the engine from inside, which is a remarkable feat.

The car came with built-in Bluetooth-enabled hands-free phone preparation, which caused me a lot of head scratching to begin with. I felt like a zookeeper trying to matchmake pandas: I just could not get the car to get it on with my Nokia phone.

A call to Audi found me a cradle for my old Sony Ericsson (there’s no cradle available for my new Nokia). I resigned myself to using my old phone, but then discovered that adding the cradle had sparked Bluetooth into life.

Now the A6 is a bit of a phone slapper. It mates with anything that flashes a spot of Bluetooth, which means I can use my Nokia, and the steering wheel-mounted controls and MMI screen work beautifully.

Unfortunately, this exciting new communication development has proved something I always suspected – that I have no friends. Nobody has ever phoned me while I’ve been in the car. If you have my number, please ring me. I’m lonely.

Model: Audi A6 Avant 2.7 TDI quattro SE Tiptronic
Price (OTR): £30,330 (£38,240 as tested)
Mileage: 2,200
CO2 emissions (g/km): 226
Company car tax bill (2006) 40% tax-payer: £364 a month
Insurance group: 15
Combined mpg: 33.6
Test mpg: 34.5
CAP Monitor residual value: £12,200/30%
Expenditure to date: Nil
Typical contract hire rate: £611

  • Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles
  • 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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