Audi A6 Avant Review
Subtle looks and stunning tech help set A6 apart from other estates
Strengths & weaknesses
- Understated looks
- Tip top technology
- Pricy options
- Not as good to drive as some rivals
- Ride too hard for some tastes
Audi A6 Avant prices from £13,895 Finance from £299.97 per month
The humble estate. It’s come a long way since the days of the original A6, or the Audi 100 before that.
The market place was a bit thin on the ground back then. Sensible sold. If you had kids or a dog or a penchant for moving wardrobes at weekends, you needed one.
But now the A6 Avant not only has to deal with competition from other estates like the Volvo V90, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E Class, and Jaguar XF, but a seemingly endless stream of SUVs too. Even from within the Volkswagen Group, competition is fierce, as there’s a new VW Touareg and Audi Q8 out.
The A6 Avant is an altogether more subtle approach to space than an SUV. It follows an elegant line, with a side profile most people would recognise. Up front there’s a distinctive large and imposing Audi grille, and the rear is sculpted and nigh-on voluptuous. Only the fake exhaust tips make it look slightly cheaper than it actually is.
These relatively svelt (well compared to an Audi Q7, Lexus RX, or BMW X5) lines do well to hide a massive interior. It's bigger than the outgoing model and there's more shoulder room for passengers. The boot is a good size too - 565-litres with the seats up, 1680-litres with them down. The boot itself is big and square, and is easy to load into. There isn't much of a lip, and there's a smooth metal protecter on it, making it easy to slide heavy objects in and out of the opening.
The Mercedes E-Class does pull ahead in terms of boot space though - a critical area in the estate market. The Merc’s boot is a full 75 litres larger than the Audi’s when the seats are erect.
Inside it feels reassuringly expensive, and the flash interior is what sets it out from the rest of the crowd. Twin screens dominate. The top one comes in 8.8inch or 10.1inch size, and the bottom is 8.6inches. The top controls mostly everything, while the bottom is primarily for the heating controls. Although they work together in some instances, such as inputting instructions into the sat nav. The top works as the nav, while the bottom gives you a QWERTY keyboard. It’s swish and very intuitive, and will impress passengers. It uses haptic feedback, much like a high end smartphone. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you realise that you need to press the screen until it vibrates, you’ll find it easy enough to use. It’s supposed to mimic a button and Audi reckons this is safer than regular touchscreens as it gives you feedback to say that it’s recognised your input. This means you don’t have to look at the touchscreen while driving.
It also uses Audi’s virtual cockpit. This 12.3 inch digital display replaces the traditional instrument binnacle and can be programmed to show different information.
The interior then, makes it feel expensive. However, top spec Audi A6 Avants are expensive. Top-of-the-line models cost a whopping £72,000. Although, it has to be said that base-spec cars, start from £42,000, which is on par with the 5 Series and E-Class.
Audi’s smallest, and cheapest engine does boast better figures than most of its competitors however. Its 2.0-litre diesel (badged 40TDI) has an official fuel rating of 48.7mpg, better than the 2.0-litre efforts from Mercedes, BMW, and Jaguar.
Audi reckons this will be the A6’s best selling engine, and it’s easy to see why. It’s nearly £8,500 cheaper than the larger diesel, yet it never feels slow, and it’s nearly as economical. The only criticism of this engine is the small rev band from which the engine makes most of its grunt. Peak power comes in between 3750rpm-4200rpm. Luckily the slick 7-speed auto makes the most of it.
The larger 3.0-litre V6 is much faster (0-62mph 5.5s in comparison to 8.1s), and it feels much more muscular in the mid range. But it's hard to recommend unless you regularly travel long distances in a hurry.
The V6 feels much heavier too. Even with the optional air suspension in its sportiest setting, and the passive rear-wheel-steering ticked on the options list, it feels heavy on its haunches when you’re really pushing.
The air suspension gives you different ride heights and settings, but even on its highest and comfiest setting, it never quite irons out lumps and bumps in the road. The standard steel suspension when teamed with the 40TDI engine is the comfiest.
If interior quality and technology are important to you, and SUVs already seem passe, the A6 Avant is easy to recommend.
|Warranty||Three years/60,000 miles|
|Boot size||565/1680 litres|
|Tax (min to max)||£205-515 in the first year, £140-£450 thereafter|
Best Audi A6 Avant for...
Best for Economy – Audi A6 Avant 50TDI
It might surprise some to find out that the bigger diesel is actually the more economical. Put that down to being less stressed during acceleration.
Best for Families – Audi A6 Avant 40TDI
Although the 50TDI is more economical, it’s hard to recommend over the smaller 40TDI.
Best for Performance – Audi A6 Avant 50TDI
The most powerful variant is a 3.0-litre diesel V6 which will propel itself from 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds, plus, it has four-wheel-drive to keep you on the straight and narrow.
- February 2018: New A6 makes public debut at Geneva Motorshow
- September 2018: A6 goes on sale in the UK
- Late 2018: 55TFSI petrol engine goes on sale
Understanding Audi A6 Avant names
From the launch there are only two engines available, both diesels. The 2.0-litre diesel 40TDI and the 3.0-litre diesel 50TDI.
Ford is offering two trim levels at the moment, Sport and S-Line
There are two gearbox options, both automatics. One is a seven-speed and the other is an eight-speed.
Audi A6 Avant Engines
The latest A6 follows Audi’s new naming structure for its engines. The 40TDI is a 2.0-litre diesel, and the 50TDI is a 3.0-litre diesel. A 3.0-litre petrol, badged as a 50TFSI is due later this year.
All the engines also used a mild-hybrid technology, that aids stop/start and improves economy. Neither systems can power the car on electricity alone.
The 50TDI has 282 hp and an impressive 620NM of torque. It’s an effortless engine, even with the car’s relatively porky kerb weight, and is the most powerful, and most economical engine in the A6 range at the moment.
Audi reckons it will do around 48.7mpg combined too. We didn’t see close to that on our test route, but when the engine has run in, and it’s on a motorway, this figure would likely be close to achievable. It even sounds muscular, and doesn’t drone like other diesel engines.
It’l crack 62mph from zero in 5.5 seconds, and while it doesn’t feel particularly exciting while doing it, it’s mightily impressive. This engine comes with an eight-speed auto that makes shifting gears nearly seamless. Although it can hold on to gears for a bit too long in ‘dynamic’ mode.
The 40TDI, will be the best-seller according to Audi. It’s a four-cylinder unit, but is the more powerful compared to BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar’s similar units. It has 201hp, and while it does feel a fair chunk slower than the 50TDI (0-62 mph in 8.1s compared to 5.5s for the 50TDI) it never feels slow.
It’s a remarkable feat that such a relatively small engine will transport such a large car with such ease. Audi reckons on 48.7mpg, while less than the larger diesel, not so much less that it’s worth the premium.
The price differential between the two engines is £8470, so the 50TDI is hard to recommend unless you regularly feel the need for speed.
Audi A6 Avant Trims
Sport, S Line
From the get-go, Audi will only offer two trim lines for the new A6.
First up is the cheapest, called Sport. It has 18 inch alloy wheels, LED front and rear lights, a seven-inch entertainment screen, a rear view camera, and parking sensors.
Next up is S Line. This has larger 19-inch alloy wheels, harder and more sporty suspension, Alcantara upholstered seats, and S Line bodykit.
The Comfort and Sound Pack is an additional £1,895 and pulls together some of the most popular options. This includes a 360 degree parking camera that includes a live ‘bird’s-eye view’ of the car, a Bang and Olufsen premium sound system, an LED interior lighting pack, and a keyless entry system.
The Technology Pack is a £1,495 option. This includes additional software on the touchscreen like Google Maps, voice control, Audi’s virtual cockpit, and a phone box which can wirelessly charge a phone, which also enable two different phones to be connected to the car via Bluetooth.
Audi A6 Avant Reliability and warranty
Audi’s three-year/60,000 mile warranty is a standard set for most manufacturers, but on a high-end luxury saloon it feels a bit stingy. Mercedes and BMW both offer no mileage cap with their three-year warranties.
Plus, Audi did finish above both BMW and Mercedes in Auto Express’ 2018 Driver Power car survey. But, overall, more Audi owners reported issues with their cars when compared to Mercedes owners.
Used Audi A6 Avant
This new A6 has only just gone on sale, so it’s hard to give useful data here. However, historically, a big problem for the a6, and other big expensive luxury saloons has been depreciation.
This is a win for used buyers, as A6s lose value quicker than cheaper cars.