There are very few promises made about ‘class-leading performance’ or ‘outstanding dynamism’ in the promotional literature for this car.
Instead, it’s aerodynamic efficiency, aeroacoustic refinement and fuel efficiency that get the big build-up, just as they might have for an Audi executive-class debutant 30 years ago – before the company became so preoccupied with proving it could make saloons as sharp-handling as those of any of its closest rivals.
And out on the road, the A6 Avant 40 TDI keeps the throwback vibes coming. By the standards of modern four-pot diesel executives, this is a particularly refined car – at least until you really put its 2.0-litre motor to some serious work.
That engine is quiet and well-mannered at idle and at low revs, responding smartly and with plenty of torque at step-off, and whisking the big A6 into motion with little apparent effort. The car’s dual-clutch transmission manages the engagement of its gears with enough smoothness to easily satisfy someone used to the silken-edged shifts of a torque converter ’box, but also with impressive speed.