Fleet News

Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro SE Tiptronic auto

Audi

Review

SUCH has been the baptism of fire for our new Audi A6 long termer that this article, supposed to be an introduction for a brand spanking new car, is in fact a report on a vehicle that has already racked up 2,200 miles.

And that’s only in three weeks. Our new 3.0 TDI quattro has been the length of England, from Cornwall to Yorkshire, working flat out since it was dropped off.

So this is a report not only about first impressions, but second, third and fourth as well. And they are: superb, refined, classy and accomplished.

There are very few things that this car doesn’t do well. There’s no lumbar support on the front seats (although I find the seats perfectly comfortable). The odd switch on the dash – those for the climate control particularly – doesn’t seem as robust as you might expect in an Audi. And the sunglasses holder is hopelessly small so you couldn’t get a pair of reading glasses in there. I’m nit-picking now. As you can see, it is not exactly a cavalcade of ineptitude and bungling.

We specified an SE model with optional satellite navigation, heated leather seats, Bose stereo and parking sensors and in fairness, this added £6,000 to the price. Perhaps at £32,000 for the un-optioned version, without leather and metallic paint, it would be less enamouring, but you’ve got to speak as you find.

From the outside, the car is stunning – architectural and imposing. The Akoya Silver grey/blue/mauve paint job takes on a different shade according to the light and the A6’s big mean grille might not be delicately pretty but is imposing and handsome.

We decided not to upgrade the wheels on this car. Although 17 or 18-inch wheels might have looked better, the 16s look fine and the extra rubber in the sidewall of the tyre cures some of the harsh ride quality we’ve encountered on other A6s. As it is, the car is set up firm, but it deals with harsh bumps relatively softly.

Then there’s the initial fuel consumption. I’ve proved irrevocably over the years that I tend to send fuel consumption spiralling downwards rather than up, but the A6 is currently returning an astonishing 37-38mpg on some long trips. Astonishing because the combined figure is 33.2mpg and new diesel engines always seem to take a while to bed down and get anywhere near their combined figure. Total fuel consumption for the first 2,200 miles is an excellent 32.9mpg.

The engine is also superbly smooth and quiet. Apart from a sawn-off rev counter, there is very little evidence that it is a diesel. It just makes a muted V6 bark, and the auto box changes gear cleanly and smoothly.

The reason for my surprise about the fuel consumption is that this is a very big car with four-wheel drive, which isn’t generally a recipe for economical running. There’s loads of space in the cabin front and back, but I’m a bit scared of the boot. The idea of potholing has always terrified me and you almost need a helmet with a light on to reach the back of the A6’s trunk. It is cavernous, and very, very deep.

I filled it up completely for a trip to Cornwall and carried four people as well. The big diesel engine ensured the A6’s performance wasn’t dented by all that extra weight and the four-wheel drive smashed through the deep water that covered most of the country lanes. I’m going to like this car.

Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro SE Tiptronic auto

Price (OTR): £31,930 (£37,025 as tested)
Engine (cc): 2,967
Max power (bhp/rpm): 225/4,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 332/1,400
Max speed (mph): 150
0-62mph (sec): 7.3
Mileage: 2,256
CO2 emissions (g/km): 229
Company car tax bill (2004/5) 40% tax-payer: £328 per month
Insurance group: 16
Combined mpg: 33.2
Test mpg: 32.9
CAP Monitor residual value: £11,900/38%
HSBC contract hire rate: £627
Expenditure to date: Nil

Specification

  • Cruise control
  • Electric windows
  • Electrically heated and operated door mirrors
  • Front foglights
  • Multi-media interface terminal
  • Rain sensor
  • Light sensor
  • Climate control
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Active front headrests
  • ESP
  • EBD plus brake assist
  • quattro four-wheel drive

    Options

  • DVD sat-nav £1,600
  • Volterra leather £1,250
  • Bose surround system £575
  • Walnut fascia trim £350
  • Rear parking sensors £250
  • Heated front seats £250
  • Interior light pack £200
  • First aid kit £20

    What we expect

    SUCH has been the baptism of fire for our new Audi A6 long termer that this article, supposed to be an introduction for a brand spanking new car, is in fact a report on a vehicle that has already racked up 2,200 miles.

    And that’s only in three weeks. Our new 3.0 TDI quattro has been the length of England, from Cornwall to Yorkshire, working flat out since it was dropped off. So this is a report not only about first impressions, but second, third and fourth as well. And they are: superb, refined, classy and accomplished.

    There are very few things that this car doesn’t do well. There’s no lumbar support on the front seats (although I find the seats perfectly comfortable). The odd switch on the dash – those for the climate control particularly – doesn’t seem as robust as you might expect in an Audi. And the sunglasses holder is hopelessly small so you couldn’t get a pair of reading glasses in there. I’m nit-picking now. As you can see, it is not exactly a cavalcade of ineptitude and bungling.

    We specified an SE model with optional satellite navigation, heated leather seats, Bose stereo and parking sensors and in fairness, this added £6,000 to the price.

    Perhaps at £32,000 for the un-optioned version, without leather and metallic paint, it would be less enamouring, but you’ve got to speak as you find.

    From the outside, the car is stunning – architectural and imposing. The Akoya Silver grey/blue/mauve paint job takes on a different shade according to the light and the A6’s big mean grille might not be delicately pretty but is imposing and handsome.

    We decided not to upgrade the wheels on this car. Although 17 or 18-inch wheels might have looked better, the 16s look fine and the extra rubber in the sidewall of the tyre cures some of the harsh ride quality we’ve encountered on other A6s. As it is, the car is set up firm, but it deals with harsh bumps relatively softly.

    Then there’s the initial fuel consumption. I’ve proved irrevocably over the years that I tend to send fuel consumption spiralling downwards rather than up, but the A6 is currently returning an astonishing 37-38mpg on some long trips. Astonishing because the combined figure is 33.2mpg and new diesel engines always seem to take a while to bed down and get anywhere near their combined figure. Total fuel consumption for the first 2,200 miles is an excellent 32.9mpg.

    The engine is also superbly smooth and quiet. Apart from a sawn-off rev counter, there is very little evidence that it is a diesel. It just makes a muted V6 bark, and the auto box changes gear cleanly and smoothly.

    The reason for my surprise about the fuel consumption is that this is a very big car with four-wheel drive, which isn’t generally a recipe for economical running. There’s loads of space in the cabin front and back, but I’m a bit scared of the boot. The idea of potholing has always terrified me and you almost need a helmet with a light on to reach the back of the A6’s trunk. It is cavernous, and very, very deep.

    I filled it up completely for a trip to Cornwall and carried four people as well. The big diesel engine ensured the A6’s performance wasn’t dented by all that extra weight and the four-wheel drive smashed through the deep water that covered most of the country lanes. I’m going to like this car. Steve Moody

    The manufacturers view

    ADRIAN Short, head of business sales, Audi UK, said: ‘As a business proposition we believe the all-new A6 strikes the best balance in the premium sector between desirability and financial viability. ‘With its state-of-the-art, fully EU4-compliant engine, mated to an efficient transmission, it makes perfect sense from a personal taxation and running cost perspective.’

  • 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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