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Audi S6 Avant: First Drive

Date: 08 January 2007   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Sports
Price: £55,127-£56,397
Key Rival: Mercedes E63 AMG

Some top-level executives will always want the ultimate, and in the realm of company cars these buyers don't worry (too much) about the costs - either buying or running.

Assuming you're after a very fast, large estate car, the fact the S6 Avant is more than £10,000 cheaper than its nearest rival (the Mercedes E63 AMG; after-all BMW doesn't yet build an M5 estate) won't sway buyers one way or the other.

Audi S6 Avant

I'd argue it will be far more subtle things that affects decisions.

The A6 Avant is already one of the most well-proportioned estates on the market, hiding its huge boot incredibly well. Once Audi's 'S' designers have finished with the car - adding subtle exterior tweaks to the front spoiler and side skirts, bigger wheels and huge engine - it looks even better.

The crowning achievement is the extra illumination you can only get with the S6, which takes the form of two rows of lights under each main headlight. They look like fog lights, but they are illuminated the entire time the main headlights are switched on. According to some observers they can make the S6 look like a police car, especially if you then order the car in the bright blue (also an S6-only option).

It's difficult calling a 435PS 5.2-litre V10 engine from a Lamborghini subtle, but when you first drive the car you find it's refined and quiet. It's only when you've driven a few hundred miles that you begin to revel in the number of slightly different engine and exhaust noises that are produced in varying situtions.

It also takes several hundred miles before you get used to the throttle response in 'regular' automatic mode, let alone 'sport' mode. The response is aggressively sharp and takes far longer than any other car to get to grips with. But a few hundred miles more and you're wishing there was a mode beyond 'sport'.

The only real downside, however, is the harshness of the car's ride, which is in no-way subtle.