Audi A6: hidden secrets revealed

  • Audi A6 gives up some of its secret tricks as the long term test progresses
  • Reveals some clever thinking making ownership easier but not foolproof
  • Some gems are a simple affair, others make full use of latest technology

Life with the Audi A6 keeps throwing up some interesting surprises.

Audi A6 virtual dip stick

Virtual Dipstick

First up was when the engine informed me that it needed some more oil. But don't panic Mr Mainwaring, it's not about to run dry, you can keep on driving the A6 informed me. 

So I did – straight to the nearest petrol station to pick-up some of Castrol's finest. There was no problem locating the oil filler cap and where to pour the litre of oil, but the dipstick was no-where to be seen.

Following the fill-up the central display reassured me that the engine was now A OK and the oil level back to normal. Job done, and it saves on oily fingers!

I also discovered that I could access the service intervals information plus tyre pressures and, if I really had a burning need, even the car’s VIN number.

Audi A6 boot

Self-suspending boot floor

Changing a tyre is not a task most people relish, but a flat tyre on a 4x4 and a damsel in distress meant I had to press the Audi toolkit into use.As usual the kit is located under the boot floor.

Strangely the flush fitting handle that lifts the floor up has a little hook on the end of it, which had me wondering what it was for.

It wasn't until I had burrowed under said floor to retrieve the tyre wrench that I found out. The hook had secured itself on the top lip of the boot so when I moved away, the floor remained up providing easy access to the remainder of the tools. Neat.

And the bonnet reflects this, thanks to two gas struts which lifts the bonnet up and keeps it up until you close it.No faffing with grimy bonnet props.

Audi A6 rear seat locks

Locking rear seats

One advantage of the saloon over the estate version is better security. If someone manages to break into the latter they can access the boot by climbing over the seats, but the saloon presents a much more of a barrier.

A thief can usually still lower the rear seats to get into the boot, but in the A6 the rear seat buttons can be locked ensuring the rear seats can't be dropped without the key. That means valuables in the boot can be protected.

Audi A6 self parking button

Self-parking

Of course what all good tech does is help make a seemingly difficult task easy. So for those of us who find parallel parking akin to root canal treatment the A6 has another trick – self parking.

Okay you need to operate the brake and accelerator, but working out whether a space is big enough, knowing how far to pull past the gap and then steering the car back into the space is all done by the car.

I tested the A6 a number of times in differing locations. As long as it agreed the space was big enough, it simply steered the car in every time (though it didn’t always put the car in totally straight).

For nervous parkers it could mean the difference between safely parked and scuffed bumpers, and all it takes is a push of a button to activate the system.

Audi A6 virtual owner's handbook

Digital handbook

Of course all these handy features can be uncovered by reading the printed handbook. Even if you can be bothered to flick through it then you have to count on it being in the car and not languishing in some draw at home though.

The A6 nearly dispenses with the printed hand book by having one you can access on screen. Viewing it requires a bit of scrolling through the Car Systems menu and the guide takes you through the car's main controls and systems.

It’s not totally comprehensive (it warns it’s not a substitute for the printed manual) but does cover most things in a clear and easy-to-follow way.

The vast majority of cars all perform the obvious tasks in terms of driving and using the basics of sat navs, hooking up mobile phones and operating the radio and media system are becoming more familiar to more drivers.

As I have found out, there is a lot more to cars, especially premium executive wheels, than meets the eye. The A6 has thrown up some very handy tricks that make ownership even more of a pleasure than ever before.

Mileage: 4,215 miles

MPG: 38.4 mpg (indicated)