"The Audi A6 Avant is wide and tall, with enough room in the back for two tall adults."
Few estate cars are as desirable as the Audi A6 Avant. Lightweight construction means this latest version is faster yet more economical than ever. The first-class cabin is stunning to look at and use, and there's a bewildering list of optional extras you can choose to tailor the A6 Avant to your tastes. There's a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, too, including a 309bhp twin-turbo diesel that's fast but still highly economical, along with the option of quattro four-wheel drive, too.
Thanks to the clever aluminium construction, most A6 Avants – except quattro versions – are lighter than rivals like the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate. The Audi doesn’t feel particularly agile, as the steering doesn't offer much feedback, but it has a reassuring quality that means superb motorway cruising. This is an easy car to drive and strikes a good balance between comfort and sportiness – even the entry-level 175bhp 2.0-litre diesel has sufficient pace, while the 3.0 diesel and turbo petrol cars are fast. The TFSI petrol V6 is hugely refined and powerful, but diesels are cheaper to run and more popular.
Opt for an entry-level SE and you get 17-inch alloys and steel suspension as standard – and that makes for a very comfortable interior. There's little road noise or wind noise, and long journeys are easily dealt with thanks to the standard leather seats. Sportier S line versions look great with their 18-inch alloy wheels, bodykit and lowered sports suspension, but they also are very firm. The car fidgets around constantly and disturbs the cabin, but you can specify the SE model's suspension as a no-cost option. The Avant has enough room in the back for two tall adults to sit in comfort, although middle seat passengers have to straddle a large transmission tunnel.
The A6 Avant upholds Audi's well-earned reputation for build quality, so there's no reason to doubt its reliability. Its engines and other components – such as the seven-speed S tronic automatic – are also tried and tested: they have already proven their worth in models across the Audi range, from the A4 saloon to the flagship A8 limousine.
Despite being shorter than the old car, the Audi A6 is wider, and there's room in the back for two tall adults. The boot has a wide load area, with the 565-litre space increasing to 1,680 litres when the back seats are folded flat – that's marginally more than the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF Sportbrake, but still behind the massive Mercedes E-Class Estate.
Value for money
To keep things simple, the A6 comes in just two trim levels: SE and S line. Both are well equipped. Entry-level SE models get sat-nav, Bluetooth, climate control and a 180-watt stereo. S line trim adds posher leather and electric sports seats, as well as a bodykit. Tempting options include night vision, a head-up display, plus an upgraded voice and touch-operated sat-nav, as well as a DAB radio, high-quality Bang and Olufsen stereo and a TV. Start to add these, though, and the price can sky rocket to in excess of £60,000.
Thanks to the Audi A6's aluminium construction, even the range-topping 3.0-litre diesel returns nearly 50mpg – despite the fact it does 0-62mph in seven seconds and can hit 155mph. But 80 per cent of A6s sold will be 2.0-litre diesels – these cars are capable of nearly 60mpg, and have emissions of 129g/km.