Audi A6: mile munching maestro

  • Diesel version demonstrates both power and frugality
  • Comfortable environment means relaxed mileage covering
  • Cruise control packs clever functions to aid safer driving

Perhaps it is a sign of just how remarkable a car is when it does so little to irk you.

Parkers’ long-term A6 has been hoovering up the miles with barely a raised eyebrow, arm hairs flatter than the Lincolnshire countryside and palms remaining distinctly sweat free.

This is not down to a driving experience that is duller than watching magnolia paint dry, but because the A6 saloon makes such easy work of tackling long journeys.

Audi A6 sat nav

Easy to use sat nav

The sat nav is simple to use thanks to full postcode entry capability, plus its three-step guide to directions means no matter how quickly direction changes follow one another, it is easy to see where you should be heading. Birmingham’s infamous spaghetti junction (junction 6 off the M6) is a case in point, where finding the right lanes to take is all too confusing if you aren't used to it.

The 3.0-litre diesel is proving to be smooth, quiet and effortless. Cruising at motorway speeds is such a relaxed affair that I worry the comfortable seats and relaxed cabin will have a soporific effect on me.

Audi A6 saloon cruise control

Intelligent cruise control

However, the cruise control does have a trick up its sleeve thanks to an automatic braking system that works with it (dubbed adaptive cruise control). Close too quickly on the car in front and the brakes can slow the car to keep a safe distance. Fail to spot the car is stopping and the system warns with beeping and flashing lights, before applying hard braking if it detects a collision is imminent.

The clever tech bit is that the cruise control works with the sat nav so in a motorway scenario if the car in front is slowing to exit left, the cruise control and sat nav have a conflab, realise the vehicle in front is turning off and doesn’t slow the car but maintains a steady speed.

Audi A6 saloon

Driving aids, not driving trip-ups

What also impresses is how seamless it works and the system doesn’t feel like it jumps all over your driving at the merest hint of a car in front. The system is adjustable, which should mean most drivers will find a setting they can work with.

The upside of all this motorway driving is that fuel consumption has jumped above 40mpg – to 41.1mpg in fact, which is getting closer to the official claimed figure of 47mpg. I’ll be seeing just how close I can get to that.

Audi A6 saloon S Tronic automatic Transmission

Automatic transmission glitch

The only minor gripe is about the transmission. With a cold engine reversing off the driveway sometimes results in no motion until the accelerator is pressed a fair way down. Then once it starts rolling I have to back straight off the throttle so I don’t launch myself flying straight into the road. Leaving the engine to warm up a little does help prevent this.

On the whole though, the A6 continues to impress with its smooth, relaxed approach to effortlessly covering the miles. The combination of a comfortable cabin, controlled gear changes and very capable engine is extremely compelling - in an understated sort of way.

Mileage: 2,113 miles

MPG: 41.1 mpg (indicated)