Audi A6 3.2 FSi Quattro - AUDI A6 Car Review

Review

Added: 06 Aug 2004
Last update:

IN the executive car market, understatement is not a standard feature in showrooms.

Sales staff display verbal diarrhoea as they describe this or that feature and encourage the buyer to add on still more equipment from the extensive options list.

The incentive is not to just sell a car but a way of life behind the wheel, and provide a nice little bit of extra commission for the seller as well.

But pity the sales staff in an Audi dealership when someone comes in and expresses an interest in the new A6.

The product of a multi-million Euro investment, the Audi A6 is all new and brimming with so many standard features you do not really need an options list.

What's more, and don't ask the sales staff to reconfirm many times, the new models' prices are less than one per cent above those of the previous series. At this rate, the impoverished salesman or woman will only be able to afford two holidays in the Bahamas this year.

But the wise buyer of the Audi A6 will be able to enjoy some serious rest and relaxation behind the wheel on every journey. There are four petrol versions of the new A6 saloon and three diesels with a choice of two or four wheel drive and priced from £24,000 to £43,000.

For this test I chose the mid-range 3.2 FSi quattro SE, the entry level four wheel drive model, which comes with standard alloys, cruise control, air conditioning, twin front and side airbags with full leather trim.

There are powered windows, heated washer jets, electric parking brake, interior and exterior courtesy lights, self closing boot lid, sophisticated alarm and immobiliser and heat insulating glass and blinds.

The Multi-Media Interface on the console monitors a variety of functions including heating and ventilation, entertainment and navigation but takes time to master. It is very good if you persist.

The quattro specification means it has a larger 80 litre fuel tank and split folding back seats to maximise the potential capacity of the truly enormous boot.

In fact, everything about the Audi A6 is bigger than before. Forget the Tardis, you could film a whole episode of Dr Who inside the A6 and still have room for a sequel.

The seats are large, firm and adjust well in the front, while those behind have acres of leg-space to stretch out and the ride quality is excellent, even over bumpy roads.

With four wheel drive at your disposal, the grip is tenacious and its handling is nothing but reassuring and failsafe although you may find the steering not as communicative as it might be.

Power delivery is very strong and eager and matched by slick automatic or manual changes, with reassuringly powerful brakes underfoot as well.

Secondary controls are all close to hand, but need familiarisation, and the instruments are large and clear.

I must confess to being slightly disappointed by the performance of the air conditioning during a hot spell, as it simply wasn't up to coping with 28C and filling the interior with a huge volume of chilled air. The blinds and insulating glass were more than welcome as a result.

The new Audi A6 3.2 FSi Quattro SE is an enormous leap forward for the company and the strongest challenge yet to its German rivals.

It is understated but it cannot be underestimated.

FAST FACTS

Audi A6 3.2 FSi Quattro SE

Price: £33,525

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

Max speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 7.1 secs

Combined mpg: 25.6

Insurance group: 17

CO2 emissions: 264g/km

BiK rating: 35%

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

Words: Robin Roberts

Keywords: AUDI, A6