Our Fleet Test Drive: Audi A6 Avant - Final Report
17 August 2012
The fact that our long-term Audi A6 Avant covered more miles than pretty much any other recent long-termer is indicative of its strengths.
It arrived with just over 1700 miles on the clock, and a little over six months later departed at almost 15,500, drinking fuel at the rate of 40.1 miles per gallon, which I thought was better than reasonable from a big car powered by a 204hp 3.0-litre diesel engine mated to an automatic transmission.
The A6 isn't the sort of car that necessarily wows immediately. The same-again styling had me looking hard at passing last-generation cars to check whether they were the same as my one or not, but Audi has built and rapidly grown its reputation this way, and it has certainly been successful in doing so. The interior reinforces Audi's reputation for quality cabins, and the scrolling dial MMI system is a clever way of packaging all the media systems, even if it does turn in a counter-intuitive fashion.
In making sure we grabbed one of the early models entering the country following the new Avant's launch last autumn, we ended up with a car boasting more than £11,000 of options (listed above right). Some, like the £1175 navigation system and handy £545 powered boot lid, are great but pricey, while the £410 digital radio got a lot more of a work out than the £680 CD/DVD changer  in the glovebox that was almost unemployed. Plenty of other bits and pieces could perhaps be standard and aren't, so it's well worth spending time going through the spec list of the Audi, and its rivals, if particular items are important.
The Avant's swallow-anything nature was put to good use. While not as huge as a Mercedes E-class Estate, the A6's luggage space is comparable with its other rivals, and held everything from a pushchair  to garden rubbish with ease.
Economy didn't seem to waver no matter what sort of travelling. A trip to Liverpool to watch Brighton get beaten 6-1 in the FA?Cup recorded 41.8mpg, and a couple of urban-centric tanks hit lows of 35.3mpg and 35.5mpg, but there were no extremes, even with the economy mode engaged, which makes a real difference to the driving experience, from throttle settings to aircon, but in our experience doesn't have a profound impact on mpg.
My A6 Avant also accompanied me on trips to Wales, Paris  and several runs to the Midlands, as well as the regular 70-mile round trips to the office, and it never ceased to be an enjoyable way to travel. The smooth multitronic gearbox and refined 3.0-litre TDI engine made for perfect relaxed yet rapid transport, and the biggest compliment I can pay is that I'm now missing the A6 a whole lot more than I thought I would when I first took delivery last autumn.
|Audi A6 Avant 3.0 TDI 204 SE Multitronic|
|Claimed combined consumption||54.3mpg|
|Our average consumption ||40.1mpg|
|Actual CPM ||81.7p|