EXECUTIVE EXPRESS There is a choice of four diesels in the new A6 range: a pair of two-litres with differing power outputs, a 2.7 and a three-litre. The expected best-seller is this 2.0 TDIe – the ‘e’ is for economy – with 134bhp and 236lb ft of torque. It is no slouch, but it is frugal and clean, with a combined fuel figure of 53.3mpg and 139g/km of CO2. This version has a package of green measures to help achieve those figures. It has a slightly lower ride height, by 20mm, than other A6 models. The new six-speed gearbox has ratios optimised for economy, the tyres are lower rolling resistance, and the alternator charges the battery while the car is coasting. The power steering pump operates only on demand.
Among the interior tweaks that freshen the A6 across the range are a new-generation MMI (man machine interface) control system that has been made more instinctive to use, and now features an optional joystick. Other little changes to the high-class cabin include new instrument graphics, some chrome highlighting and a redesigned armrest.
In the 2.0 TDIe you also have a discreet dashboard aid to urge the most economical gear choice. If the software detects that you could save fuel by shifting up, another number appears in green beside the current gear indicator. The new A6 drives very well, with grippy handling and communicative steering. But it is by no means flawless. The ride is quite firm, and jars over potholes. In relaxed driving mode the car is relatively quiet, but when you quicken the pace, there is a ruffle of wind noise around the front pillars, a bit of rumble from the suspension and a little more intrusion of engine noise than you’d ideally like.
RIVALS: BMW 520d, MERCEDES-BENZ E 220 CDI, SAAB 9-5 1.9 TiD
- Engine: 1968cc, 4 cylinder turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max Power: 134bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 236lb ft at 1,750rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,700kg
- Combined Consumption: 53.3mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 139g/km (C)
- 0-62mph: 10.3secs
- Max speed: 129mph
- Insurance Group: tba
From the outside, the newly revised Audi A6 has not exactly undergone a facelift, but it has had a bit of Botox here and there. The changes are so subtle that it is really hard to spot the difference, with a re-profiled rear end being the biggest change. But there are some welcome revisions under the skin to make this mid-life update of the sixth generation A6 worthwhile, and they should help maintain its status as the world’s best-selling executive saloon. Most significant of these is a new two-litre diesel engine. The trusty old Volkswagen Group ‘pump düse’ TDI engine has gone, and in its place is the newer and more efficient piezo injector common-rail engine