Audi A6 3.2 FSI SE - AUDI A6 Car Review

Review

Added: 18 Feb 2005
Last update:

RECENTLY, there has been much serious debate over the question of plastic surgery, but around this time last year, the motoring world was facing up to a nose job destined to change the face of Audi.

There was much heated conjecture in anticipation of the summertime arrival of the new A6 which, following the line of Nuvolari GT and the A8 W12, was to bow in sporting a completely new-look.

Diehard traditionalists held up their hands in horror at the thought of an overdone grille taking the place of the neatly crafted honeycomb lozenge surrounding Audi's legendary four-ring badge.

Change is not one of  human nature's favourite things and, I suspect,  the jury will be out for some time yet on this new face of Audi, as the trapezoidal-look of the radiator grille in the new A4 continues the German carmaker's evolutionary process.

Whichever way you look at it, the new A6 is a good looker boasting an aggressively sporty relationship with the tarmac with upgrades in a number of areas all designed to raise more than a few eyebrows at Audi's arch rivals, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

From the highly satisfying starting point of the 2.4-litre V6 SE petrol-driven entry level model, which weighs in at a little under £25,000, through a brace of further petrol engine options, plus three diesel power source choices, all mated to six-speed manual transmission, the new A6 promises something for almost everyone.

And, just to prove that Audi's latest target is to satisfy an even broader church, there are all-wheel-drive quattro versions, the option of  six-speed tiptronic auto transmission on some models, plus a range of S Line versions, which have been introduced to provide sport for all via a lower ride height and firmed-up suspension from £27,145.

The test car was the 3.2-litre FSI SE, which looks destined to be an even more serious alternative to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5 Series.

The new A6 is almost five inches longer and two inches wider than its predecessor. The increased dimensions have translated into a much more roomy cabin with rear seat passengers being particularly well catered for in the leg and shoulder room stakes.

The well thought out boot  is also huge with 112 litres more useable space than the outgoing model providing a total of 546 litres of storage space - even more accommodating than some rivals residing in a class above.

Audi has always enjoyed a fine reputation for the trend-setting standards of its cabin craftsmanship and the new A6 is no exception with ergonomic efficiency, fit and finish all of extremely high quality.

Standard kit levels are also extremely generous on all models. The test car came with an impressive manifest including electric windows all round, powered and heated door mirrors, electronic climate control with individual controls, 10-speaker sound system with CD, driving information system, cruise control and the rest.

A combination of aluminium-look fascia trim and tastefully appointed wood-look inserts add to the quality feel of the interior.

Electric front seat adjust, a £750 option on the test car, combines well with the height and reach adjustable steering column to provide sufficient manoeuvrability to quickly arrive at a driving position to suit most people.

Mated to a nicely engaging six-speed manual gearshift, the 3.2-litre petrol engine, which made its debut in the new A6, spins sweetly to provide impressive performance, with its 253bhp making the 0-62mph dash attainable in under seven seconds, en route to a governed top speed of 155mph. 

Linking together a series of twisty bits, the new A6 responds in agile fashion to the sharp and accurate power steering.

There is now much firmer torsional rigidity which keeps body roll more effectively controlled and ABS braking with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP) are also on hand as standard to assist the unwise and the unwary.

With noises being virtually non-existent, the new A6 is a supercool cruiser with luxury and comfort, combined with harmonious, confidence-inspiring performance, all adding up to a true executive express of real quality.

FAST FACTS

Audi A6 3.2 FSI SE

Price: £31,035

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

Max speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 6.9 secs

Combined mpg: 28.2

Insurance group: 17

CO2 emissions: 240g/km

BiK rating: 34%

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

Words: Malcolm Robertshaw

Keywords: AUDI, A6