Audi A6 Becomes Ultra-Efficient

What am I looking at?

The sleek lines of Audi's A6 TDI Ultra, the most efficient model in the range

Anything new?

It's the same A6 we know and not-quite-love-but-certainly-admire, but a range of new engines and mild eco tweaks means it emits fewer carbons than equivalent A6s and meets all the latest emissions standards too.

What powers it?

At the A6 Ultra's heart you'll find a 2-litre turbodiesel unit with the Volkswagen Group's familiar TDI badging. It's a brand new unit, and despite a power increase over the previous engine - 190 PS plays 177 - it's a great deal cleaner and more efficient than before.

That power and the 295 pounds-feet torque peak means the 0-62 dash takes just 8.2 seconds, but at its most efficient emits just 114 g/km of CO2 and tops 64.2 mpg. Because of this you'll pay a measly 30 a year on VED (and nothing in year one), and company car drivers will foot a relatively small 17% BIK rate.

Audi A6 TDI Ultra rear angle

How much will I be spending?

A6 Ultras start from 32,515 for the saloon, and 34,515 for the Avant estate. It marks a 125 price drop across the range compared to the old TDI, with no equipment penalties - whether you opt for SE, S Line or Black Edition specification, you get the same toys as before.

That means standard leather upholstery, MMI Radio Plus with a 6.5-inch retractable display and DAB digital radio, satellite navigation, light and rain sensors, cruise control, keyless go and Audi parking system plus.

Anything else?

Audi's S Tronic dual-clutch transmission is standard across the engine range, so the only choices you'll have to make are trim levels and body style. The Avant estate adds 5 g/km to your CO2 tally (VED remains the same) and economy drops a smidge to 61.4 mpg.

Audi A6 TDI Ultra front angle

Any alternatives?

A BMW 520d EfficientDynamics just misses out on the Audi's headline economy figure at 62.8 mpg, but will cost you the same to tax and both acceleration and top speed (144 mph) are identical. It can also be had a little cheaper, at 31,830 for the entry-level model.

Mercedes too offers an alternative in the shape of the E220 CDI. It starts at 32,750 but 61.4 mpg economy drops it into VED band D for a 105 yearly bill. For a left-field alternative, consider the Lexus GS 300h - a second slower to 60 and 25 mph down on top speed, but 31,495, 60.1 mpg on petrol and a miserly band B VED of 20 a year. BIK is lowest of the lot at 13%.

In a line:

Audi's stylish executive chariot gets useful economy boost.

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