Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro SE - AUDI A6 Car Review
Added: 28 Jan 2005
AUDI'S expertise with luxury saloons has come a fair way since its 'new age' model the 100 was launched 37 years ago.
But rather like the racehorse that lands the each-way money without ever getting its nose in front, Audi has always been just a yard or two off the pace set by BMW and Mercedes.
Until now. While offerings like the magnificent TT Coupe and latest A8 have raised the bar it has taken the all-new A6 to at last trump the opposition.
Fans of the executive saloon can instantly recognise this new model from its predecessor thanks to a large, aggressive front grille that apes the flagship A8 range.
But then large is something extended throughout the car, which is longer, wider and more spacious than all its key rivals and steals the show with a boot the diameter of a municipal putting green.
Among the finest in a five-strong engine line-up is the three-litre TDI, the first six-cylinder turbodiesel in the German company's family of V-configuration units.
With 225bhp on tap it packs a refined yet menacing punch, virtually zero diesel clatter and a throaty rasp from the exhaust.
Shifts from the automatic six-speed tiptronic gearbox are smooth and the quattro system's permanent four-wheel drive ensures terrific grip and body control.
And with a raft of safety features like the latest Bosch-developed electronic stabilisation programme that even incorporates a brake disc cleaning function - which helps keep the brakes dry on wet roads - you know you are travelling in a car packed with technology.
The A6 truly is an enjoyable saloon to drive, and not just due to its performance.
Hop inside the cabin and the overall quality of the fittings and seats, which are large and multi-adjustable, leaves nothing to be desired.
Four people can travel in complete comfort with agreeable visibility and enjoy the sort of attention to detail that even extends to carpet in the door pocket linings.
Of course there are always holes to pick and in the A6's case it mainly concerns the lot of a rear centre passenger, whose legroom is hampered by a large transmission tunnel.
Nor will everyone like the positioning of the ignition, next to the central air vents in the dashboard, or the fact that having a CD player in the glovebox cuts back on storage.
But what they call the Multi Media Interface - which in plain English means control for the sounds, phone and satellite navigation - is simple to use once you've become familiar with it.
Standard goodies on the A6 range are comprehensive but it's still possible to sharply hike up the price - the test car featured no less than 18 optional extras raising the tab by a hefty £9,805.
Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro SE saloon
Mechanical: 225bhp, 2,967cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving all four wheels via 6spd automatic gearbox
Max speed: 150mph
0-62mph: 7.3 secs
Combined mpg: 33.2
Insurance group: 16
CO2 emissions: 229g/km
BiK rating: 31%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles; 3yrs paint; 12yrs anti-rust.
Keywords: AUDI, A6