Audi S6 Avant review
The Audi S6 Avant is a fast estate car that’s comfortable, well-equipped and even relatively economical on motorways but alternatives are more fun to drive and sound more exciting.
What's not so good
Audi S6 Avant: what would you like to read next?
The Audi S6 is a sporty, high-tech estate car that’s worth a look if you fancy something posh, practical and just as fast as some hot hatches. In these respects, The Audi A6 Avant is similar to high-performance versions of the Mercedes E-Class Estate and the BMW 5 Series Touring. Like those cars, you can also get it as a sleeker saloon if you prefer.
The Audi S6 Avant’s sporty details suit the boxy shape of an estate car, though. You get the same pronounced haunches, creased bonnet and broad full-width brake light as the standard A6 Avant, but look closer and you’ll spot an extended front bumper lip, larger alloy wheels and four huge exhaust tips.
Sadly, get down on your hands and knees and you’ll spot these four pipes turn out to be little more than chrome-plated plastic trims. Their fakery seems a little less blatant if you pay for the S6 Avant’s option black pack though, which swaps out all the S6 Avant’s chrome pieces for more subtle black items.
Speaking of subtlety, it might take you a few minutes to spot exactly what differentiates the S6 Avant’s interior from the standard A6 Avant’s cabin. Besides the invisible now-standard four-zone climate control, it comes with more supportive leather sports seats as standard, a sportier steering wheel and a few extra aluminium trims around the gear lever.
The biggest change, however, is the S6 Avant’s upgraded infotainment system. The standard A6 already comes with a pretty comprehensive selection of sat-nav and smartphone mirroring features, but the sportier S6 Avant comes with larger 10- and 9-inch screens on the dashboard and a 12-inch digital drivers display rather than conventional analogue dials. It’s mostly easy to use, but the touch-sensitive climate controls are a bit fiddly compared with the physical dials in a Mercedes E-Class Estate or BMW 5 Series Touring.
You’ll want to consider the Audi S6 Avant if you’re looking for a practical estate car that’ll knock the socks off some hot hatches yet won’t cost the earth to run.
You’ll find it just as easy to carry tall passengers in the Audi S6 Avant as in these cars though, thanks to the wide rear door openings, comfortable back seats and ample leg and headroom. There’s space for two six-footers to stretch out, room for three kids to get comfy or space to fit two bulky child seats without much hassle.
It isn’t just good at carrying passengers, the Audi S6 Avant’s wide boot opening and square load bay mean it’ll easily swallow a couple of large golf bags. You can easily flip the back seats down if you need to carry seriously long luggage, too.
If a few rounds of golf sounds like your usual weekend activity, you might want to start finding a few more scenic routes back from the golf club – after all, the Audi S6 Avant is supposed to be a sporty estate.
Every model comes with a smooth, responsive eight-speed gearbox and a grippy quattro four-wheel drive system as standard so it’ll tackle tight backroads and greasy country lanes without ever feeling out of its depth.
And you’ll have plenty of confidence to hurl it from one corner to the next too, thanks to the Audi S6 Avant’s direct steering and standard adaptive suspension lets you choose between stiff setups for backroad blasts and softer, more comfortable settings for cruising back home.
The 349hp diesel (yes, that’s right, diesel) engine has masses of grunt when you hit the accelerator, thanks – in part – to its clever mild-hybrid system and trick electric turbocharger. These work together to help give the 3-litre V6 plenty of punch from low revs, helping the Audi S6 Avant blast from 0-62mph in a little more than five seconds – that’s as fast as some hot hatches.
Few hot-hatches can match the Audi S6’s ability to cruise along at motorway speeds and return almost 30mpg, however, and it’s this duality which makes it such an appealing car. It’s fast, practical, looks great and feels very well made, yet can soak up long distances with ease and won’t guzzle fuel while doing so.