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First Drive: We try Audi’s most technologically advanced A6 yet

Reviews | Published:

The new Audi A6 features some innovative new tech, but does this affect the way it drives? Ryan Hirons finds out

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What is it?

Audi has been on something of a crusade in refreshing its top-end luxury machines as of late. Last year saw a new A8 and A7 grace the market — but it hasn’t stopped there.

Large wheels help give the A6 plenty of presence
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With the recent release of an updated BMW 5 Series and a now two-year-old Mercedes E-Class, Audi could be playing something of a game of catch up here. Is the A6 up to that task?

What’s new?

As to be expected with the launch of an A6, there’s a lot of new stuff going on here.

Most noticeably are its looks. It takes on the bolder design language introduced on the A8 — bringing a sleeker appearance along with a much wider grille and fresh headlights.

Air suspension helps give the A6 supreme ride quality
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As for technology, the A6 now features self-learning navigation which aims to create an optimal route based on your driving history along while centre console-based physical controls for functions such as air conditioning and audio controls have been replaced with touchscreen utilising haptic feedback.

What’s under the bonnet?

At its launch, the A6 will be available with a choice of three engines — one petrol and three diesels, all of which utilise mild-hybrid technology.

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Our test car was fitted with the sole petrol option on offer. It’s a 3.0-litre V6 engine producing 335bhp and 500Nm of torque, here paired up with a seven-speed automatic gearbox that sends power through all four wheels.

It’s capable of taking the A6 from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds and can power the car on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. Official figures for MPG and CO2 emissions have yet to be confirmed, however.

It’s an extremely potent unit, delivering impressive and usable performance for a car weighing in at 1,825kg. Don’t expect supercar-levelling speed, but it’s more than enough for most needs while the gearbox pairs perfectly for a smooth experience under heavy acceleration or at a gentle cruise.

What’s it like to drive?

Audi has brought a lot of new technology in for the A6 in an effort to create a better driving experience in all applications, but the results vary.

The A6 remains sporty despite its high comfort levels
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It will undertake town driving with little fuss for a car of this size thanks to the addition of four-wheel steering which results in a more agile machine at lower speeds.

How does it look?

Audi are the experts, if not the pioneers in Russian doll car design — with each model taking after the last. The A6 is no exception to the rule, with the German firm’s updated design language as first introduced on the A8 making a strong impact on the A6’s own looks.
That means a hugely wide grille upfront with bold headlights sitting at either side, while a sleeker overall look is seldom interrupted by creases in the bodywork.

LED lights offer up impressive night-time visibility
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What’s it like inside?

As you should expect on an Audi A6, it’s an incredibly plush place to be sat in.

Premium materials feature right through the cabin without a scratchy plastic surface in sight, and it all feels good to the touch. We also suspect it’ll be pretty durable long-term.

The A6's cabin is very well put together
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What’s the spec like?

Full UK pricing has yet to be confirmed for the Audi A6 so value for money is difficult to judge at the moment, but what we can say is that it’s going to be a seriously well-equipped package — if likely to be expensive once the options list is explored.

The A6 features a variety of high-end touches
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Our S Line test machine also came with upgraded ‘Audi Matrix’ LED headlights and daytime running lights, 10mm lower suspension and a S Line styling package — while heated/ventilated seating was also included. Again, UK pricing isn’t official, but we expect it to reach £60k+ in this specification.

Verdict

The Audi A6 has all the hallmarks of a new class leader in the executive saloon segment. It offers a solid and potent range of engines, bags of technology and a comfortable experience wrapped in a handsome body.

We’d like to have a more engaging experience in harder driving, along with some more physical buttons inside the car — but these are minor annoyances in an otherwise exceptional car.

It’s hard to judge just how successful the A6 will be without having exact pricing, but if it’s marketed right it could well leave competitors in its trail.

  • Model as tested: Audi A6
  • Price: £60,000 (est)
  • Engine: 3.0-litre V6 with mild hybrid system
  • Power (bhp): 335
  • Torque (Nm): 500
  • Max speed (mph): 155
  • 0-60mph: 4.9 seconds
  • MPG (combined): TBA
  • Emissions (g/km): TBA

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