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Audi A6 Avant: Test Drive Review

Date: 06 October 2011   |   Author:

Category: Executive
P11D price: £31,390
Key rival: BMW?5-series Touring

Executive load-luggers are as popular in sales terms as their saloon counterparts, so the arrival of the new Audi A6 Avant is a big deal in the world of prestige estates.

Audi predicts the new Avant will take around 43% of A6 sales, slightly less than the saloon's 57% in this generation thanks to the increased choice of vehicles such as the Q5 off-roader or A7 five-door coupe giving alternatives to the traditional estate.

A £1840 premium over the A6 saloon, the new Avant is almost exactly the same size as its predecessor, and has the same 565-litre boot space, although with rear seats down it's 50 litres larger at 1640. That 565 litres puts it well adrift of the 695 of the Merc E-class estate that leads the segment, but is only 10 litres shy of the Volvo V70 and five litres bigger than BMW's 5-series Touring. The A6 is, though, the longest model of those four, which means increased head and shoulder room in both front and rear passenger areas.

The most popular A6 Avant will be the 2.0 TDI diesel driven here, accounting for around three-quarters of sales, although there will also be 204hp, 245hp and, coming later, 313hp 3.0-litre diesels, as well as the 3.0 petrol.

The new 2.0-litre diesel is up 7hp on its predecessor at 177hp, but is 16% better for fuel economy at 56.5mpg, while emissions are 13% improved at 132g/km, helped by both weight reductions of up to 70kg depending on model, and Audi claiming its new wagon is the most aerodynamic car in its class. That puts the new A6 estate just behind the BMW 520d Touring for both efficiency and power, but ahead of the other rivals in the sector.

Specification is more generous than the German brands have previously been known for, with satnav and leather interior both standard across the range. Also standard is the uprated Audi Drive Select system that now has five settings:?comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency and a new eco setting optimised for maximum efficiency. It noticeably dulls the engine response, so is best utilised when the engine's power isn't fully required, but is a worthwhile tool for lowering fuel use.

The 177hp 2.0-litre is otherwise a refined and willing servant, if not quite up with the BMW version that is admittedly one of the top engines on sale of any type, while the ride quality is firm without being harsh over bumps and road imperfections.

From a costs perspective, the Audi A6 Avant's all-round breadth of abilities impress. RVs across the four executive models are all within 1.4 percentage points of each other, and though it can't match the Volvo that starts at £2000 cheaper, the A6 stacks up well against its German rivals, beating the Mercedes thanks to a greater efficiency and the BMW 520d Touring as it's cheaper to buy and service. Lower insurance costs than any of its rivals are also useful.

The classy A6 Avant is a predictably impressive business proposition that shines in a sector chocked full of impressive big business chariots.

Audi A6 Avant 2.0 TDI 177 SE
P11D price£31,930
Model price range£32,100-£43,480
Residual value37.3%
Depreciation £20,030
Fuel £6758
Service, maintenance
and repair
Vehicle Excise Duty£345
National Insurance£2644
Cost per mile67.9p
Fuel consumption 56.5mpg
CO2 (tax) 132g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month£101/£202
Service intervalvariable miles
Insurance (1-50)group 26
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 565/1660 litres
Engine size/power1968cc/177hp
Top speed/0-62mph 138mph/9.0secs
On sale November 2011
VerdictClassy executive load-lugger
with impressive running costs


Classy executive load-lugger with impressive running costs