Audi A6 Avant 1.9 TDi SE - AUDI A6 Car Review

Review

Added: 30 Aug 2004
Last update:

A 600 MILE round trip to Cornwall for a weekend was a good test of the economy of one of Audi's frugal A6 diesels.

The combination of motorway, dual carriageway and minor roads meant my journey took in a good cross section of typical British roads, not to mention typical British weather ranging from scorching sunshine to tropical downpours.

The end result was an average consumption of 48 miles per gallon, which is right on the nose as far as Audi is concerned as the German luxury car maker claims an official average consumption of 47.9. Who said manufacturers tend to exaggerate their figures?

Despite the high returns the A6 Avant (estate) in question was an automatic, although in this case fitted with Audi's continuously variable multitronic transmission, which breaks all the rules as far as automatics being more thirsty than manual gearbox cars are concerned.

Not only does it tend to be more economical than a manual but it is also a match when it comes to performance, with identical acceleration times and just two miles per hour down on top speed.

But the best thing about this transmission for a long journey to the coast is its refinement.

That means you enjoy a relaxed drive and get out feeling totally unstressed thanks to a system in which there are no gears as such, it operates simply like one long, stepless power band.

You only get gears if you flick the gearchange lever over to the right to use the system manually in tiptronic form - and then there are six of them.

Takes some understanding, but suffice it to say that without set gears the whole thing is far smoother and with non of the lurching that you inevitably get with a manual or traditional automatic car.

The one thing I did find on my test car, however, was the slight hesitation when I needed to pull away rapidly, such as when joining fast traffic on an island. For some strange reason there was a delay each time, causing a couple of hairy moments.

Powered by a 130bhp 1.9 TDI engine, the A6 proved to be an ideal long distance cruiser, being superbly quiet at high speed and with a ride so good I wondered why I had ever thought of catching the train to Cornwall.

In fact before this model A6 was launched, Audi spent a lot of time and money looking at noise and each new A6 was given a 40 per cent increase in sound insulation. New door seals and thicker glass in the front side windows were also added.

Mid range performance from this diesel is good too, with punchy acceleration which made it easy to live with the changing motorway conditions.

And with such cavernous luggage space there was no problem with the suitcases, bags, parcels, etc that we took - even though it was only a weekend break.

Audi has recently launched the latest version of the A6 saloon with a host of changes, including a now very dominant grille.

The Avant too will undergo changes but not until next year. In the meantime the existing model is still being manufactured and still in showrooms.

FAST FACTS

Audi A6 Avant 1.9 TDi SE

Price: £25,640

Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,896cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd automatic gearbox

Max speed: 122mph

0-62mph: 10.7 secs

Combined mpg: 47.9

Insurance group: 14

CO2 emissions: 159g/km

BiK rating: 20%

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

Words: Edward Stephens

Keywords: AUDI, A6