All A6s come with mild hybrid engines as standard to boost fuel economy, but you’ll have to pay extra if you want fancy driver assistance systems and super-comfy air suspension
You can currently have the Audi A6 with two diesel engines – a four-cylinder 2.0-litre 40 TDI with 204hp and a 286PS six-cylinder 3.0-litre 50 TDI. Both come with mild hybrid systems to help make them slightly cheaper to run than conventional petrol and diesel alternatives.
The pick of the diesels is the 40 model. It’s front-wheel drive and comes with a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and is remarkably smooth and quiet for a four-cylinder diesel. It’s easily quick enough too, dispatching 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds and providing lots of mid-range punch for overtaking. Officially, it’ll manage up to 62.8mpg, but you can expect around 50mpg during mixed driving, which is impressive for such a large car.
The A6 might not feel as sporty as some other large saloons, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – it’s very comfortable and impressively relaxing to drive
The 50 model gets all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic as standard and is a little noisier at idle. Still, it’s quiet on the move and fast enough to blast past slow-moving traffic – it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds – but still won’t cost the earth to run. Audi claims it’ll return around 51mpg, but you can expect to see a figure closer to 45mpg.
If you fancy something a little faster, you should consider the 55 turbo petrol model, which will arrive after the diesels. This 340hp V6 produces 54hp more than the 50 TDI and will sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds. It’s slightly smoother when you accelerate hard, too, but isn’t quite as frugal – go easy on the accelerator and it’ll return around 35mpg, compared with Audi’s claimed 42mpg.
The A6 doesn’t try to be a sporty saloon – instead, it’s a comfortable motorway cruiser that feels more therapeutic than thrilling. You won’t hear much wind or tyre noise at speed and the reasonably large windows mean you won’t have to crane your neck to check for oncoming traffic at junctions.
There are four suspension types possible. Both the standard suspension on Sport models and stiffer setup on S line cars does a good job ironing out potholes, but you can pay an extra £2,000 for the optional air suspension if you fancy a more wafty experience at high speeds, even if the low-speed ride is more abrupt over potholes. At least the air suspension allows you to stop the A6’s body leaning too much in tight corners when you select Dynamic driving mode. We’re yet to try the adaptive version of the A6’s standard suspension.
Around town, the Audi’s large size does make it feel a little daunting to drive, but there are plenty of optional extras designed to help you make light work of tight city streets. The rear-wheel steering option makes the A6 impressively manoeuvrable for a large saloon, while the optional 360-degree camera displays a 3D image of the A6 in its surroundings on the infotainment screen to help you avoid scratching your alloy wheels on tall kerbs.
There’s also a City Assist pack that comes with automatic emergency braking that’ll even work in reverse to help you avoid car park bumps and scrapes. Pay extra for the full-fat Driver Assistance system, and you get five cameras dotted around the A6 that monitor its surroundings and help it brake, accelerate and steer for you on motorways and well-marked single-lane roads.
These features don’t just make it very relaxing to drive, they also help make the A6 one of the safest large saloons on sale – in fact, Euro NCAP awarded the maximum five stars in its crash tests.