What is it?
Audi’s all-new A6 has impressed us so far in saloon form, without revolutionising the segment. This predictable, but nevertheless smartly attractive Avant should do the same, with estimated sales only slightly less than those of the saloon variant.
Like the saloon, the Avant features a combination of steel and aluminium in its construction; it’s up to 80kg lighter than before, and holds a useful weight advantage over its BMW and Mercedes rivals.
Behind the rear hatch is 565-litres of load space, five litres more than the BMW 5-series but a long way short of the E-class. With the 60:40 rear seats folded flat the Mercedes massively increases that advantage (1,950-litres) over the A6 (1,680), and even the Beemer offers 1,760. Clearly, the Audi won’t be your choice if ultimate load-0carrying ability is paramount.
What’s it like?
Although the 2.0-litre TDI engine is the entry model, as with the saloon, it’s arguably the pick of the range with less weight, front-wheel drive and the standard six-speed manual ’box.
Now with 175bhp, and more importantly a significant boost in torque to 280lb ft, it offers all the performance required in daily driving with excellent all-round refinement. The Avant isn’t enthralling, but its handling is far more composed than previous A6 models, and even the ride, on the standard 17-inch rims and steel springs, is decent.
Inside, the perception of quality is very high, with a warmer, more fluid design - particularly if you’re bold enough to choose one of the more unusual wood finishes and trim colours.
At £32,100 for the SE, 75 per cent of Avant sales are expected to be for the 2.0 TDI. That’s £1,200 more than the outgoing model, but Audi claims you get extra kit worth £2,000; certainly, the standard spec is impressive with full leather, sat-nav and Drive Select included. Even more importantly, at 56.5mpg combined and 132g/km of C02, the Avant has a key, if small, edge in running costs over its rivals.
Should I buy one?
Not a car to blow the mind this Avant, then, but an impressive overall package of abilities.
Audi A6 Avant 2.0 TDI SE
Price: £32,100; Top speed: 138mph; 0-62mph: 9.0sec; Economy: 56.5mpg combined; Co2: 132g/km; Kerbweight: 1,640kg; Engine type, cc: turbodiesel, 1,968cc; Power: 175bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 280lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-speed manual