- Five engines to choose from
- Three diesels and two petrols
- All automatic, Quattro available
For now there’s just four- and six-cylinder conventional petrol and diesel combustion engines, with plug-in hybrids to follow.
Audi A6 Avant TDI diesel
Kicking things off is the 40 TDI – a new 2.0-litre turbocharged unit producing 204hp and 400Nm of torque, paired with a seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch gearbox and a choice of front- or Quattro all-wheel drive.
The 0-62mph sprint takes 8.3 seconds, and it has a top speed of 149mph.
It’s a really refined engine that feels well-suited to the A6. There’s enough torque available when you need it and the gearbox is smooth-shifting most of the time.
It’s only when you demand a quick turn of pace that it can get a little flustered, but overall it makes for a relaxed and smooth experience.
This isn’t the type of car to be thrashing around anyway, so it suits the car’s more laidback feel. There’s very little noise making its way in from the engine bay, either.
The more powerful 50 TDI uses a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine producing 286hp and 620Nm of torque. This engine uses an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox that doesn’t feel quite as quick to respond as the S Tronic in the lesser model.
We were a little disappointed with the gearbox – the changes could be slicker and at times the A6 could be sluggish to move off from a standstill, which became quite frustrating. It’s also way too keen to drop down to a low gear to accelerate instead of holding on and using that big diesel’s wealth of torque.
The V6 diesel is very smooth in operation, though, but the gearchanges could be slicker and it doesn’t feel as far apart from the 40 TDI as you might expect. It too is a refined unit though, remaining hushed at all speeds and only becoming more vocal when you really rev it.
If you’re keen on performance figures, the 50 TDI completes the 0-62mph dash in 5.7 seconds, and will reach a 155mph top speed.
Audi S6 Avant
We've gone into this performance variant in more detail in our Audi A6 Saloon review so have a read of that for the full technical low-down.
You get the same 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with 349hp and 700Nm of torque for seriously addictive performance.
The only difference in the estate car is a slightly slower 0-62mph time - taking 5.1-seconds as opposed to 5.0-seconds. You won't notice the difference.
First up is the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder 45 TFSI, offering up 245hp at 5,000-6,500rpm. It’s the least torquey unit with 370Nm from 1,600-4,300rpm, but it’s still quicker from 0-62mph than the 2.0-litre diesel, taking 6.2 seconds.
The most powerful petrol Audi A6 Avant of all is the 3.0-litre, six-cylinder 55 TFSI – at least until the hybrid engines come along, that is.
For now though the 340Nm this engine puts out between 5,000-6,400rpm and its 500Nm of torque from 1,370-4,500rpm means a best-in-range 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds.
- Safe and predictable handling
- Not especially exciting
- Suspension choice makes a big difference
The A6 Avant fits between the E-Class and 5 Series in the way it drives. That’s to say it can’t match the supremely wafty comfort the Mercedes offers when specified with air suspension, nor can it involve the driver in the same way the BMW can.
On regular springs, but with adaptive suspension option ticked, the A6 handles itself very well. The ride is composed, there’s plenty of grip in a corner and it takes a lot to make it feel flustered – far more than any prospective owner will subject the car to. This is the optimum set-up for the A6.
We’re yet to try a car with standard suspension though. The Sport comes with regular comfort suspension, while S Line models are lowered by 10mm and have a slightly stiffer set-up.
On higher-end cars, air suspension can be specified as an optional extra, as well as all-wheel steering.
The all-wheel steering works well to make the A6 feel much more agile than you’d expect of such a large car, by turning the rear wheels slightly opposite to the front wheels at lower speeds, requiring less input from the driver and making the A6 feel more nimble around town.
At higher speeds, the rear wheels move in the same direction as the front ones to improve stability.
The air suspension is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to ride quality, at least if you specify the A6 with large alloy wheels.
It never manages to feel as cossetting and supple as an E-Class, feeling comfortable enough over some rough surfaces but then thudding into larger bumps in the road. We’d forego this option and choose the adaptive suspension control instead. The good news is this costs less, too.
Bodyroll – overall – is well contained, again feeling more composed with the adaptive damping system specified.
There’s very little feedback coming through the steering wheel though, leaving enthusiasts a little detached from the experience – although any potential driving gods will likely be waiting for an S6 or RS 6 rather than go for one of the diesels.
Even in Comfort or Auto driving modes (chosen via the Drive Select system), the steering doesn’t feel overly light, with nice weighting to it.
Plus, it’s easy to place the A6 Avant on the road and it would be unfair to mark it down too much for lack of steering feel – that’s the kind of thing sports car buyers look for. The priority here is interior space over anything else, after all.