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Underneath all of the driveline technology, the A6 50 TFSIe is a simple sort of executive car built for covering big distances in comfort. It’s a traditional kind of Audi with an old soul. It does almost nothing for effect, it isn’t interested in party tricks and it’ll deal effortlessly with bad weather and heavy traffic and keep the hustle and grind of the daily drudge at least an arm-and-a-half’s length while it’s doing so.

It steers through a big-diameter rim and a progressively paced rack that isn’t slow geared between locks, at just 2.25 turns, but is eerily consistent in its filtered, medium-light weighting. You can work that tiller as gently as it seems geared to allow, and relax in the car’s laid-back demeanour. Alternatively, you can work it a bit harder and cover ground more quickly, but the car’s character seldom changes much.

It isn’t that the ride on this car is bad – it’s perfectly acceptable – but I can’t help wondering how much comfier it would be on air springs. That would be the final piece of the puzzle for me. Such a shame you can’t have them.

The harder you point the chassis, the harder the car turns, up to a point, but it’s always a big, slightly reserved, hefty-feeling car that never swivels or feels agile or keen. It almost always finds traction, it never becomes excitable or nervous, and it sticks to a chosen cornering line with unerring consistency and security but little natural poise or flourish.

This car is at its best on wide, smooth roads and at continent-crossing pace. Seek out tighter corners and testing surfaces and you’ll find that body control is respectable but not deft or clever, the car staying level, steady and stable when cornering, and resisting pitch and heave fairly well at pace. Its damping reveals itself to be a bit ordinary when given complex problems to solve: it can feel a little firm and wooden over sharper inputs, turning tetchy and recalcitrant as it encounters bigger lumps and bumps that it would seem to prefer to reprofile rather than flow over.

The A6 50 TFSIe always feels its size, then, because it means to, but only when the surface is bad, and your pace hurried, does it really seem problematically heavy.

Audi A6 ride comfort and isolation

As our noise meter confirmed, the A6 50 TFSIe is an impressively quiet operator. On a damp, blustery day of slightly unfavourable test conditions, it generated just 61dBA of cabin noise at a 50mph cruise – two decibels less than the BMW 545e we tested two months ago managed and only one more than the Bentley Flying Spur recorded in 2020.

However it’s being powered, it has one of those hushed powertrains that seems to displace noise to other sources and places around the car, so it’s actually wind noise and road noise that you’ll notice, although neither intrusively. There is just the faintest whine from the electric motor when it’s responding to bigger pedal inputs in EV mode, but it’s a genuine, reassuring sound rather than a bothersome one. The combustion engine remains smooth, isolated and well mannered even when it’s working hard.

The test car’s S Line sport seats provided plenty of lateral support and good thigh support. They lacked a little for lumbar support, but were comfortable over distance.

The car’s secondary ride is generally good, if a little bit reverberant over coarse surfaces. The primary ride can get slightly wooden, choppy and excitable over country roads, although it isn’t upset too easily. With a slightly better ride tuning in both respects, this A6 might have been on course for a five- star score in this section. As it is, it doesn’t miss one by much.

Assisted driving notes

The A6 50 TFSIe comes with Audi’s Pre-Sense crash mitigation system as standard, as well as a basic lane departure warning system, a cruise control with a manual speed limiter and a reversing camera with parking sensors. Our S Line test car added Audi’s City Assist Pack (£1375), which extends the functionality of the Pre-Sense system to monitor your blindspots and to detect traffic approaching from behind and from the side at junctions.

But it didn’t have the Tour Pack (£1950), which would have added adaptive cruise control with proper lane keeping assistance, and camera-based traffic sign recognition. On a near-£60k luxury saloon in 2022, it’s reasonable enough to expect at least some of these systems as standard.

The sensitivity of the car’s automatic emergency braking (AEB) system can be turned up and down via a dedicated button on the centre stack. In ‘maximum’ mode, it’s quite intrusive; it’ll intervene with a sudden brake input to prevent you from merging into tighter gaps on busy traffic islands, for example, although it doesn’t seem quite so over-sensitive in other respects.