What is it?
The second body style of Audi’s range stalwart, the A6. Joining the recently launched saloon, which we drove back in May, the Avant estate arrives in the UK not long after its sibling later this year.
It has a big job on its hands, this car. Audi is pitching the A6 Avant as some kind of ‘one size fits all’ model, offering the versatility desired by well-heeled family estate buyers, plus the comfort and style expected of a high-end executive model, alongside the all-important focus on efficiency. It also fulfils the technology brief with a vast array of gadgetry, while also, somehow, aiming to introduce more sportiness into the package.
To satisfy the practicality needs of the market the Avant has grown in width, height and wheelbase length, improving rear seat head, leg and shoulder room in the process. It is, however, shorter thanks to cropped overhangs, a move which Audi reckons enhances the visual athleticism of the car.
Underneath the A6 Avant’s neatly styled bodywork is a hybrid aluminium chassis and five-link suspension. Four options are available: the base passive setup, a lowered sport setup, springs with adaptive dampers, or a fully adaptive air suspension system. A new all-wheel-steering system is also on the options list.
Alongside a dizzying array of new cabin and driver assistance tech, the A6 also joins the latest Audi A7 and Audi A8 in adopting mild-hybrid systems across the range. Entry-level cars use a 12V system, with the 48V tech reserved for the six-cylinder engines.
It recuperates energy under coasting or braking (storing it in a lithium ion battery that serves as the main electrical supply on 48V models) activates the start/stop when coasting to a halt at up to 14mph, and turns the engine off entirely for short periods when lifting off above 34mph. The result is an average efficiency improvement of 10% over equivalent engines not equipped with the tech.