Fleet News

Audi A6 Avant 2.7 TDI Quattro SE Tiptronic

Audi

Review

CONVENIENCE and technology are changing our lives.

I am writing this article on a laptop while covering a car launch in the Yorkshire Moors.

When it is finished, I will hit a button that links my computer wirelessly to the internet and magically sends it to a desk in Peterborough in a matter of seconds.

Even 10 years ago this would have been space-age technology, but it is amazing how quickly such innovation is taken for granted.

It is the same with cars. I have only spent a few months with our long-term Audi A6 2.7-litre diesel, but the sat-nav, MMI, electronic parking brake and automatic boot opening are now second nature.

In fact, opening the bootlid at the exact moment you reach the car requires split second timing and quite a bit of skill.

You need to judge your walking speed and the time it takes the boot to lift – and trying to achieve perfect co-ordination is becoming something of an obsession!

Is this £400 option worth it? If you have kids, definitely.

During the rush to get them in the car and make them put on their seatbelts, not spill stuff on the leather and stop hitting each other, it is amazing how a little luxury like the car closing its own boot helps smooth things out.

My regular oil checks on the engine as it has covered a very swift 18,000 miles, have become frustrating.

The dipstick is tucked in right next to the exhaust manifold, which makes checks difficult without burning your knuckles.

However, it brings home the fact that although this car is a hi-tech piece of kit, the basics can’t be ignored. If you don’t keep your oil topped up, no amount of computer power will stop the engine disintegrating.

There is also a rattle in the boot, which I think is related to a repair on the rear wiper blade. It is only a small irritation, but because of the high standards expected, even a slight variation is worthy of comment.

However, after nearly 20,000 miles of motoring the fact that I only have a slight gripe about the dipstick is a testament to why the A6 is a Fleet News Award-winning car.

It delivers the most exceptional levels of comfort and performance and accepts the harsh treatment of a modern business car without so much as a murmur, all the while delivering an average of about 35mpg.

Having just moved to our long-term Volkswagen Passat and also having tried out our Ford Focus, I found they also offer very high-build quality along with great technological features, such as Bluetooth connections, electronic parking brakes, voice recognition software, automatic headlights and reversing sensors.

The lines seem to be blurring between the premium and volume manufacturers – if you leave out the badge.

Which leaves a major challenge for Audi because what I thought was exceptional even a year ago is being turned into ‘average’.

Fact file

Price: £30,330 (£38,240 as tested)
Mileage: 18,112
CO2 emissions (g/km): 226
Company car tax bill (2006) 40% tax-payer: £364 per month
Insurance group: 15
Combined mpg: 35.1
Test mpg: 36.6
CAP Monitor RV: £12,650/41%
Contract hire rate: £578
Expenditure to date: Nil
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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