Keeping a watchful eye on emissions needn’t always be a mundane experience, as Ian Robertson found out with Audi’s A6 Avant
The refreshed A6 ushered in the latest generation of common-rail turbodiesel units from the Volkswagen group, and that, coupled with revised gear ratios, an alternator capable of regenerating energy when coasting, a 20mm reduction in ride height and other aerodynamic tweaks, results in the new 2.0-litre TDI engine emitting just 139g/km of CO2, beating BMW’s 520d Touring by 1 gram of CO2. And while 134bhp may seem weedy for a car measuring almost five metres long, out on the road, the gearing is well chosen and the engine sufficiently powerful, so it doesn’t feel out of its depth. Overall refinement is a strong point, with road noise kept to a minimum, and passengers reported exceptionally good ride comfort, especially on poor road surfaces. The six-speed manual gearbox is smooth and positive, and has a shift indicator to tell you when best to change gear. Using this religiously, meant that we were able to achieve 47.1mpg on a mixed cycle of motorway and urban trundling – not a bad effort for such a hefty car.
On the inside, there’s no doubting the quality of the materials, along with excellent build and clarity. The centre console houses the MMI controls, which are both intuitive, easy to use and a lot more user friendly than BMW’s equivalent i-Drive system. There’s plenty of adjustment from the steering wheel and seats, meaning that most drivers will find a comfortable driving position with ease. As you would expect from an executive class car, both legroom and headroom are plentiful, and boot space is equally impressive. With the seats up, the Avant can hold 565 litres of luggage, while folding the seats down, leaves a massive 1,660 litres of space. This is more than the BMW 5 Series, and comparable with Volvo’s V70.
The A6 is competitively priced, especially as there is a free upgrade from standard to SE specification on 2.0-litre TDIe models at the moment, saving £1,270. This adds leather upholstery, auto-dimming rear view mirror, CD autochanger and satellite navigation to the already well equipped standard specification, which includes the likes of 17-inch alloy wheels, light and rain sensors, six airbags and cruise control.
RIVALS: BMW 520d SE TOURING, MERCEDES-BENZ E 220 CDI CLASSIC ESTATE, VOLVO V70 2.0D SE
- 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 (E)
- 0-62mph: 10.7secs
- Max speed: 127mph
- Insurance group: 13
Low emissions, good value, quality feel, excellent ride and refinement
Ageing looks – but that’s being picky!
Eco this, and eco that is all we seem to hear about these days, and no car maker worth its salt will miss out on an opportunity to promote its green credentials. When Audi’s A6 went under the knife for cosmetic surgery last year, not only did it come out with a fresh face, but the firm tinkered with things under the skin, too