Audi A6 3.2 FSI quattro SE Avant - AUDI A6 Car Review

Review

Added: 08 Aug 2005
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AUDI'S new A6 was one of the delights of last year and now comes the estate version, with many of the same attributes and a few more besides.

There are contributions, too, from the luxury A8 and, all-round, this is some accomplished vehicle and one which is a very effective load carrier.

Cargo, as well as occupants, benefits from the extra length and width and the extended wheelbase and wider track over the previous estate.

There's a minimum of 565 litres of load space - it soars to 1,660 litres if you fold down the rear seats - and it's all useable.

The cargo area is totally unobstructed, giving a constant through width of more than a metre, while a broad, low, flat entrance makes loading easy.

Then there are further helpful features - the floor can be folded up and locked in a variety of positions, which prevents items from sliding around, in the process exposing a plastic sub-floor which can cater for wet and muddy gear.

Nets, hooks and rails that allow you to choose your own fixing points also feature.

Let's turn now to what the Avant offers to people, and anyone who has experienced the new A6 will know what's coming.

Audi has a wonderfully certain touch in styling and comfort and that's before you start treating yourself from the options list - in fact, the car under test contained about £12,000 worth of extras, including automatic tiptronic transmission, DVD satnav, advanced climate control, sunroof, phone preparation and electric leather front seats.

Oh, yes, and some delightful birch beige fascia trim in place of the standard alumininium.

Back to basics. Even the entry model enjoys items such as Audi's Multi Media interface with 6.5in screen, cruise control, electronic stability programme, electromechanical parking brake switch, climate control, rain and light sensors, reach and rake adjustable steering column, front, side and head airbags and 10-speaker, 160-watt sound system.

Among the additions in the test car were Audi's legendary quattro four-wheel drive system, 16in alloys and a high-gloss interior pack.

The AWD, normally sharing the power 50:50 but capable of delivering 75 per cent to one particular axle if sensors deem it necessary, provides the usual assurance and poise and, with this version 25 per cent stiffer in the build, the Avant is a polished performer.

At the heart of the experience is the suspension set-up, borrowed from the A8. Noise suppression is excellent and there's impressive braking and steering feel, although a near 12m turning circle means tight situations are tricky.

But then, this is a car for the open road and long-distance driving. The 3.2-litre FSi V6 engine here ripples its muscles with 255bhp on tap as well as 243lb/ft of torque - more than 90 per cent of the pull is available down at 2,400 revs.

The upshot is a top speed of 155mph, and that's electronically limited, and a standstill to 62mph time in a big car of just seven seconds. That this engine is rated as returning over 25mpg on average is a bit of surprise, the high emissions count from the twin exhausts isn't.

It costs to own an Audi, but the street cred is rewarding. The Avant, with the new company face, is more elegant than an estate has the right to be - I like the triple, chrome-framed, wide windows above the high, big-doored flanks - and the engineering and build-quality matches the style.

The number of computer-driven gadgets you can have in the latest breed of up-market cars can test you - have the kids as co-drivers and keep the manual handy, I say - but there's no denying that the A6 quattro Avant is a combination of class act and willing worker.

FAST FACTS

AUDI A6 3.2 FSI quattro SE Avant

Price: £33,910

Mechanical: 256bhp, 3,123cc, 6cyl petrol engine driving all four wheels via 6spd manual gearbox

Max speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 7 secs

Combined mpg: 25.4

Insurance group: 17

CO2 emissions: 266g/km

BiK rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles; 3yrs paint; 12 years anti-rust

Words: John Scantlebury

Keywords: AUDI, A6