The object of our attention this week might be the best estate car in the world.
The Audi A6 Avant is certainly acclaimed as such by its owners and, being an Audi Avant executive load-lugger, is picking up from a line of predecessors that have, almost without exception, sold particularly strongly in this country.
So what can the latest version of the biggest Avant in the showroom do for the station wagon breed?
The A6 entered its fifth model generation earlier this year, appearing first in saloon form. But, as any keen follower of Audi’s bigger saloons will tell you, it’s actually misleading to think of this car as the fifth generation of anything; the original A6 of 1994 was simply a facelifted version of the ‘C3’ – or third-generation – Audi 100.
The 100’s roots go all the way back to the late-1960s, and it’s in recognition of this lineage (and to rather snub the influence of the ’90s-era model nomenclature rebranding) that the latest-generation A6 is known as the ‘C8’ in Audi circles. ‘Avant’ bodystyles have been offered on the A6/100 line since the ‘C2’ 100 of 1977, although over the years they’ve been quite different cars: liftback saloons at one point and full-on seven-seater estates the next.
Having arguably done more to damage the reputation of diesel engine technology than any other car maker these past few years, and at a time when others are dropping oil-burners altogether, it’s interesting to note that Audi has launched the latest A6 with a choice of two engines, both of which are diesel. As marketing strategies go, that’s certainly ironic; in another segment of the car market, it might even be mistaken for hubris.
And so, for now at least, you can have an A6 Avant powered by either a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, 201bhp ‘40 TDI’ or a 3.0-litre V6, 282bhp ‘50 TDI’ (our test car was the former), and with quite a dizzying array of choice of drivetrain, suspension and steering specification.