However, if one car was going to turn me motor- monogamous, it’s our long-term A6. I’ve had it for a few months now and admittedly, while others come and go, I always return to the A6.
The 3.0-litre diesel engine has loosened up beautifully, and it is now a very quick car, with good fuel consumption for its size in the early 30mpgs. It looks gorgeous and has huge interior space, especially if you’re sitting in the back. The airbag ECU problem mentioned in the last test was rectified by our local Peterborough dealer at the start of January in one day, and the car was back, washed and valeted again. All very efficient.
One little niggle has surfaced though, and that is the driver’s seat has started to creak when you corner. It is not very noticeable if you have got the excellent Bose sound system working hard as I generally have it, but those who prefer a quieter soundtrack when driving have remarked on it.
One of those is my girlfriend, who on the odd occasion has needed to drive the car. She finds the Audi exceptionally easy to drive, which for somebody who spends their life piloting a tiny smart fortwo about is rather surprising.
The variable steering certainly helps and the powerful brakes, parking sensors, electronic parking brake and smooth gearbox mean the A6 is not as intimidating as some large cars.
I’ve also needed to drive into London on quite a few occasions in the last couple of months, and as a result I’ve sampled a number of different satellite navigation systems because, as a simple country boy, I’d struggle to find my way from one end of Oxford Street to the other.
Sat-nav is another area where Audi seems to be leading the field. The MMI dial-based system is relatively cheap (£1,250), works cleanly and logically and the map and direction details are the clearest of any system I have tried – including all the other premium manufacturers.
It is also easy to re-route, as well as switch off, when you finally end up somewhere you recognise – and bizarrely, that’s a function not always easy to find in some cars. I can honestly say that of all the long term cars I have had over the past few years, the A6 has been my favourite.
But the Audi and I are parting company after some blissful months together. To get over it, I will be going on a grotty drive-every-car-I-can-find, regret-it-in-the-morning bender. Steve Moody
Model: Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro SE
Price (OTR): £31,930 (£37,025 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 229
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 40% tax-payer: £328 per month
Insurance group: 16
Combined mpg: 33.2
Test mpg: 31.3
CAP Monitor residual value: £11,975/38%
HSBC contract hire rate: £627
Expenditure to date: Nil