Sharper new Audi A6 Avant unveiled

Sleek looks and sporty options for Audi's luxurious load-lugger

With an all-new Audi A6 saloon heading to showrooms soon, Audi has taken the wraps off the A6 Avant estate version – and sleek style is high on the agenda.

Competing with the Mercedes E-Class Estate and BMW 5 Series Touring, the A6 Avant has always offered an enviable blend of style and substance and the latest version has a more streamlined look than its predecessor. Viewed from the rear, the Avant's broad pillars lend visual strength, with a steeply sloping glass screen topped by a subtle roof spoiler that's echoed by a chrome strip running from left to right.

As you might expect, the S line model (as seen here) is distinguished from the rest of the range by restyled bumpers and side skirts. There are distinctive winglets in the front bumper, while an aggressive diffuser adds a racy look around the back. The Avant gets the same, more expressive body detailing as the latest A6 saloon, with a wider single-frame grille that exposes the car's laser and radar sensors. The headlamps are sharper, too, with a '3D' effect, while subtle wheelarch blisters add a bit of muscle to the Audi's shoulders.

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Interior and practicality

The new A6 Avant is 20mm wider and 6mm higher, and has a longer wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear axles) than its predecessor, which promises a noticeable increase in interior space – especially for those sitting in the back. At only 10mm longer, the latest model occupies barely any more road space than before.

That steeply raked rear screen will restrict the size of bulky items you can fit in the boot, but the overall load volume is unchanged, at 565 litres. This expands to 1,680 litres if the second row of seats is folded away and it can be split 40:20:40. It's a little less spacious than the 640 litres of the Mercedes E-Class Estate, but this is the price you pay for the Audi's sleeker style.

The interior has a strong visual identity, too, incorporating many of the well received features of the flagship Audi A8 saloon. Audi's latest dual-screen infotainment system dominates the dashboard and provides haptic feedback when a command is selected – you'll feel a 'click' when you 'press' any of the virtual buttons. One of the clever features is an advanced 'drone's eye' view to help with parking and Audi's 12.3-inch configurable dashboard display is offered, along with a heads-up display.

Engines

The Audi A6 Avant will be offered with the same range of engines as the saloon. The initial range is made up of V6 petrols and diesels, all of which are linked to an automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive. All also use Audi's 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, in order to minimise fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The 50 TDI makes 282bhp from its 3.0-litre diesel and it's possible that UK drivers will be offered a less powerful 228bhp version as an alternative. Until a high-performance RS6 model arrives – it's known to be on the way but a date has yet to be confirmed – the 335bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol 55 TFSI will be the most powerful A6 Avant. At the other end of the range, a fuel-efficient 201bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is likely to arrive by the end of the year.

Buyers can choose from four suspension setups: conventional steel springs (with or without adaptive shock absorbers), sports suspension or full air suspension. Enthusiastic drivers will be able to specify a sports differential and dynamic all-wheel steering claimed to reduce the Audi's turning circle by up to a metre.

Price and release date

Order books for the A6 Avant will open in the summer, and prices are expected to start at around £40,000.

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