Over the months, the Audi's understated presence and comfort have been reassuring and the service from our local dealer, Cook's of Peterborough, has been great, with collection, delivery and full valet on the one occasion it has had to visit the workshop.
The service, carried out at 21,793 miles, included new wiper blades and a replacement front quarter grille at £8.50, and came to a reasonable £257.27 including VAT. As we will not have the car when the next service is due – at around 44,000 miles – I can't comment on future maintenance costs other than to say this: for fleets operating their vehicles over the benchmark three years/60,000 miles Audi's AVS servicing makes a great deal of sense.
It means any Audi with AVS will need only two services in its entire operating cycle and nothing at all in the first year. In any language that spells big cost savings and a reduction in vehicle downtime.
Despite standard specification that now includes Buffalino leather trim and metallic paint, the A6's residual values have suffered, mainly due to the model's age and anticipation of the arrival next summer of a replacement model. CAP Monitor reckons our car will be worth £9,425 or 33% of cost new after three years/60,000 miles, a few percentage points behind the old shape BMW 5-series Touring.
In our first report, I expressed concern that the light beige-coloured carpet and trim in the A6's cabin would be unlikely to stand the test of time and, in particular, the attentions of young children. But I've been surprised at its resilience.
Apart from superficial grubbiness on the carpet mats, which would no doubt clean with a suitable carpet shampoo, the trim looks as good as new. Our car came with optional Alcantara and leather trim – now a no-cost option on all A6s – and this has proved surprisingly practical and hard-wearing. It also looks great with the sports seats as fitted to our car.
Overall, we've been impressed both with the A6 and the service back-up. Not once has the car missed a beat, not once has it created cause for concern reliability-wise. Even the whining rear wheel bearing I mentioned a couple of months ago seems to have cured itself. In fact, as hassle-free motoring goes, we've had few cars this good. The difference is, of course, that it's all been achieved with a sense of understated style that breeds contentment and trust.
And let's hope it continues with the A6's replacement, a new A4 Avant 2.0 FSI Sport, which arrives in a couple of weeks.
Company car tax bill 2003/04 (40% taxpayer): £237 per month