High-tech exec with up-to-the-minute style and sophistication
If you’re in the market for an Audi A6 saloon, the new one improves on the model it replaces in every single respect from connectivity to styling and handling. Most A6 sales will be as company cars and the new A6 will doubtless be shortlisted alongside competitive offerings from other premium German manufacturers. The A6 saloon carves out a niche in this market by being both refined and rewarding with an air of designer cool inside and out..
The new A6 saloon is an assured evolution of the marque’s design language, nicely resolved and with the latest version of the Audi hexagonal grille to mark it out as something new. It’s low, wide and sleek and you could even mistake it for the flagship A8. In keeping with Audi design principles, the lines are unfussy and minimalist, cut lines are executed with millimetre-perfect precision and touches like the full-width rear chrome strip and LED headlights communicate the premium status of this executive saloon. Inside, beautiful materials and minimalist layout with a minimum of switchgear (no more rotary MMI controller) make the cabin a relaxing and upmarket environment in which to spend a journey.
The Audi A6 will come with a choice of three engines, starting with the 40 TDI diesel. This is powered by a four-cylinder diesel, produces 204bhp and features an eight-speed Tiptronic auto box. Next up the ladder is a 282bhp V6 3.0 diesel badged 50 TDI, while the range is topped by a 3.0 V6 petrol developing 335bhp and designated the 55 TSFI. Both the diesel and petrol V6 models come with the 7-speed dual-clutch S-tronic transmission.
All models feature mild hybrid technology that allows the engine to cut out and in seamlessly and harvest energy used in braking, contributing to a useful improvement in fuel economy and reduction in emissions across the range.
Four-wheel steering gives the new A6 extra eagerness and agility in handling whilst also promoting improved manoeuvrability at parking speeds or in tight spots.
The big news for the new A6 is Audi’s new MMI interface, which ditches the former rotary controller in favour of a pair of large touchscreens. The top display focuses on infotainment, while the lower one allows the user to create up to 27 individual shortcuts for the key vehicle functions, such as phone numbers, radio stations or navigation destinations, moving them around as on a smartphone app screen to create a personalised display. When using the touchscreen, haptic and acoustic feedback give a click as confirmation as soon as your finger triggers a function.
Audi claims that with up to 39 assistance systems the new A6 is the benchmark in the executive saloon class. These systems include adaptive cruise assist, which besides adaptive cruise control and the predictive efficiency assist also includes a new feature, bottleneck assist for traffic jams. Audi active lane assist helps keep the vehicle in lane with gentle steering intervention, while emergency assist can bring the vehicle to a stop in an emergency and make an emergency call. All these functions are controlled by the central driver assistance controller, which co-ordinates input from up to five radar sensors, five cameras for visible light and an infrared camera for the night vision assist, twelve ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner.
Verdict: Every premium executive saloon has a demanding set of requirements to fulfil. It must be refined and luxurious for long journeys, with a generous helping of new technology and features. At the same time, it has to be fun to drive – after all, the executive company car is an important part of any reward package. The new A6 shapes up as a strong contender in all these criteria; it looks cool and in keeping with Audi tradition the interior is beautifully-designed. A new class leader? Book your test drive to decide.