Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Two diesel engine options available
  • Both come with Quattro and auto transmissions
  • Strong performance from both choices

There’s a simple line-up of two V6 diesels in the A6 Allroad range, which is indicative of the kind of powerful engines buyers like this type of car to have. It’s in contrast to Volvo’s V90 Cross Country which has two lower-output options, plus petrol and plug-in versions for the broadest selection.

The 45 TDI uses a 3.0-litre V6 diesel and produces 231hp and 500Nm of torque. That makes it capable of completing the 0-62mph sprint in 6.7 seconds, and will go on to reach 155mph top speed.

If you want more power, the 50 TDI will be for you with 286hp, 620Nm of torque and a 0-62mph time of just 5.9 seconds. It certainly feels rapid when you put your foot down, surging forwards with a surprising degree of eagerness once the sometimes-ponderous automatic transmission works out you want to get going. It’s more noticeable when you’re slowing to a halt at a roundabout and want to get going again, for example, and can leave you hanging a little longer than you might be comfortable with before it picks up.

The rest of the time the performance is best described as effortless thanks to that huge torque figure. And when you’re building speed, the automatic transmission is smooth and silky with little drama.

Audi Drive Select tweaks the performance

You can alter the way the A6 performs via the Drive Select switches at the bottom of the centre console. Flick between Efficiency (the more relaxed, economical one), Auto, Comfort or Dynamic. They all do what they say on the tin, with the latter offering a stiffer setup for the air suspension, sharper throttle response and quicker changes between gears.

There’s also an Individual option where you can specify specific settings for the steering weight, throttle response and suspension firmness. We’d just leave it in Auto and let the car work out what’s best.

Finally, if you want to do some off-roading, there’s an Off-Road mode that lets the car automatically lock the differential for tougher terrain, and it raises the suspension by 30mm for extra ground clearance. From there, there’s an extra Lift mode that raises the car by another 15mm for when things get a little trickier.

How does it handle?

  • The Allroad is no sports car
  • But the regular Avant isn’t either
  • Built for comfort rather than agile handling

The Allroad is a big, wafty estate car, and it handles like one when left in Comfort or Auto driving modes.

Don’t take that as a criticism, though, as the Allroad is at its best when cruising and utilising that ability to just relax and cosset its occupants.

If you do find yourself on a country road – whether it’s a faster one or a slower, twisty one, you’ll like the fact the steering is light enough to make the A6 feel easily manoeuvrable without it feeling too vague and unresponsive.

Leave the car in Comfort or Auto mode in these situations and enter a corner a little too quickly, and the Allroad’s bulk and soft suspension can begin to feel a little wallowy, with a noticeable amount of lean when you go through a corner. It doesn’t make you feel out of control, but it’s noticeable bouncier with more lean than a regular A6 Avant. Equally, it doesn’t feel as bulky as a Q7 – it’s a halfway house.

You can stiffen the suspension by putting the car in Dynamic mode which does keep things a little tidier, but then the ride comfort suffers as a result, which is then something else to contend with if the road has a rough surface.

Overall though the A6 Allroad is a very composed car. It’s not designed to be a sporty car – that’s what the RS 6 is for – and so we can hardly deduct points if it has more of a tendency to lean in the corners. It excels in the more rugged and practical areas which is what is more important to customers. And if you want all of that and a bit more agility, the smaller A4 Allroad could be worth a look.