From £30,340
Power to the power people

Our Verdict

Audi A6

The Audi A6 rises higher than any model before it and is now a real contender in the mid-size exec market

13 April 2004

It’s about the toughest bit of rival striker marking you could ask a car to do. Granted, the new BMW 5-series suffers from Bangle-as-auteur styling and the irritation of iDrive, but as an executive diesel would you really bet against anything beating the 530d’s combination of brilliant dynamics and outstanding refinement?

The A6 has always been a popular diesel, the previous generation often shipping with the gruff-but-willing 130 PD, although the supposed range-topping 2.5 V6 TDi remained a minority interest. The new A6 will also get a four-pot oil-burner, this time a 140bhp 2.0-litre PD. There’s also some new interest at the top of the range with the all-new 3.0-litre V6.

The numbers certainly add up: 225bhp and 332lb ft: more than a 530d, Merc E320 CDi or the forthcoming Jaguar S-type 2.7 V6 diesel. The Audi features common-rail injection (instead of pumpe düse ‘unit injectors’), twin intercoolers and a compact turbo mounted on the ‘V’ of the cylinder banks.

Trick piezo injectors allow for ultra-accurate fuelling and up to five separate injection cycles per induction stroke, meaning smooth running and a near-total banishment of ‘tinkling noises’. Once on the move the engine tone modulates to a subdued, inoffensive, fuel-unspecific hum.

Driving dynamics are composed. Steering weight is good and there’s a decently simulated impression of feel. Turn-in is good, grip levels strong, and the ride firm but not uncomfortable.

As a long-haul motorway express it should be outstanding, especially judged by the effortless 120mph cruise our test car managed on the track. And that’s not even mentioning the A6’s other big advantage: quattro four-wheel drive, compared to its resoundingly two-wheel-driven rivals.

Mike Duff

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Audi A7 front
    First Drive
    14 March 2018
    The new Audi A7 Sportback looks the part, but how does the new Mercedes-Benz CLS rival cope on UK roads? We find out