What is it?
It’s the diesel daddy of the new Audi A6 range, the 3.0-litre V6 TDI quattro, driven on UK roads for the first time. Of course, Audi reckons that three quarters of the new A6s sold in the UK will use a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbodiesel. But that still leaves almost one in four examples to be powered by six-pots, and the vast majority of those will be oil-burners.
The new A6’s key messages are ‘masses of tech’, ‘improved efficiency’ and ‘lighter construction’ and it certainly delivers on those counts. Toys like sat-nav come as standard and the 3.0 TDI is more powerful and 18.3 per cent more economical than before. Audi also claims the car is lighter than key rivals the BMW 530d (by 75kg) and Merc’s E350 CDI (by 115kg).
What’s it like?
First, the bad news. Those weight savings don’t exactly result in a car that demands to be flung about. The A6 never feels that agile, and the steering is precise but sterile. There are no nasty surprises here, but equally, there’s not much involvement.
Now, the good news: the improved power-to-weight ratio does make the A6 feels like a deliciously unstressed beast. Refinement is excellent, helped by an engine/gearbox combo that’s so able to do its work by 2000rpm that it’s a wonder they bothered with the rest of the rev-counter. You’ll only ever see 3000rpm during hard-pressed overtaking manoeuvres, and by that point you’ll really be shifting; the mid-range shove is deeply impressive.