Indeed, it was Audi’s realisation around 20 years ago that this is where the vast bulk of an owner’s perception of quality lies (and producing a series of world-class cabins as a result) that helped to create the enviable reputation for style and luxury that it enjoys today.
The A6 builds further on these standards. In the class, it is second to none in terms of the calibre of materials used, where you can see and might commonly touch them, and also where you won’t.
The A6 saloon also offers enough cabin space for models at the top of the range to pose a serious threat to the entry-level and not notably roomy A8, which may not have been what was intended. In even saloon form it also has a bigger boot than the A8. The Avant's boot space lags behind the class-leading Mercedes E-Class's, but is big enough for most people's typical needs.
But for two separate and distinct reasons, it is held back from achieving the kind of rating you might expect any Audi to be capable of earning.
First, although the cabin is genuinely attractive, ergonomically it is remarkably similar to the old A6, and the game has moved on. Audi’s MMI control system once represented the state of the art, but now Mercedes has at least caught up and BMW’s iDrive is clearly ahead. The graphics now look rather last generation, even if (commendably) the navigation system itself is standard, and the facelift brought about the inclusion of smartphone integration.
Moreover, you have only to look inside an E-Class to know what a sense of occasion can now be achieved in this class. Svelte and stylish though the A6 cabin is, it feels one stop short of true luxury.
The second problem is more serious and concerns the pedals of the manual car. They are offset so far to the right that the clutch pedal is directly beneath the steering column. Some drivers will never notice it, but others will resent this fault daily.
All important with any executive saloon is the equipment fitted as standard. There are three trims to choose from with the entry-level SE Executive coming equipped with bi-xenon headlights, 17in alloys, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and auto lights and wipers. Inside occupants are treated to four-zone climate control, acoustic glazed windows, leather upholstery, Bluetooth and multimedia interface and DAB radio.