The Audi A6 Avant’s interior comes with high-tech touchscreens as standard, but they aren’t all that easy to use, and you have to pay extra for a slick digital driver’s display
You could easily mistake the Audi A6 Avant’s interior for that of the more expensive A7 or A8, thanks to its massive slab of glossy black plastic and two large touchscreens instead of conventional buttons. Just like these cars, you also get lashings of leather, plenty of soft, squidgy plastics and lots of cool brushed metal dotted about the place.
It’s not all good news, however – there are a few scratchy plastics down by the door bins and that massive piano-black dashboard insert will creak if your passenger leans on it rather hard. That being said, it feels very nearly as well built as the bomb-proof BMW 5 Series Touring.
Speaking of which, the BMW 5 Series Touring’s cabin looks and feels a little sportier, and the Mercedes E-Class Estate’s interior certainly has the Audi’s licked for outright elegance, but neither can match the high-resolution graphics of the Audi’s optional Virtual Cockpit system. This feature replaces conventional analogue dials with a huge digital driver’s display that looks fantastic and is a doddle to use.
Less user-friendly, however, are the Audi A6 Avant’s heating and ventilation controls. These are operated through the lowermost touchscreen (rather than through a series of knobs and dials) which makes them rather tricky to use when you’re driving.
You can get the Audi A6 Avant with some unpolished wood dashboard trims, but they’re a bit at odds with its two modern touchscreens – a bit like having a huge plasma TV on the wall of a Georgian manor house…
If infotainment systems were measured like a game of Top Trumps, the Audi A6 Avant would leave the competition eating its dust. Even the most affordable models come with two large touchscreen displays that replace almost every conventional button on the A6 Avant’s dashboard.
The bottom 8.6-inch screen deals with heating and ventilation functions, while the upper 8.8-inch display controls the stereo, navigation and smartphone mirroring features. Both are easy to use when you’re parked up at home, thanks to a neat haptic feedback feature that makes the screen click like a smartphone home button when you press it hard.
Unfortunately, you still have to take your eyes off the road for some time to use the screen’s when you’re driving. You can upgrade the upper screen to a larger 10.1-inch display, but it’s still not quite as easy to use as the systems in the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate with their physical scroll-wheel controls.
Thankfully, the screen’s themselves are bright, easy to read, and the menus are logically laid out with large, clear icons. The sat nav’s a doddle to use, and you can even write whole words of an address into the lowermost screen using your index finger rather than spelling them out one letter at a time.
If you don’t like Audi’s own navigation system, you can mirror navigation apps from your smartphone onto the car’s built-in screens as standard across the A6 Avant range using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
These also let you play music from streaming services such as Spotify through the car’s stereo – a 10-speaker, 180-watt system that sounds pretty punchy. To really blast out your tunes, however, you’ll want to upgrade to the seriously loud Bang & Olufsen unit that comes as part of the Comfort and Sound Pack.
Another upgrade that’s well worth considering is the Audi A6 Avant’s Virtual Cockpit system. This upgrade replaces the car’s conventional analogue dials with a widescreen 12.3-inch digital display that you can customise to show a range of information from what song is currently playing on the stereo to upcoming sat nav directions.