Audi A6 Saloon 55 TFSI Quattro Sport 4dr S Tronic
Image for illustration purpose only
Ten Second Review
This MK5 model Audi A6 trims up and sets about its rivals with a package that's based on a efficiency, technology and, yes, a bit more power. It'll have its work cut out dislodging BMW and Mercedes but it's hard not to love the care and attention that's clearly been lavished on this car.
'A first class journey with a business class ticket': that's how Audi describes the travelling experience you'll get in this fifth generation A6 model. Basically, what the Ingolstadt brand has done here is to democratise much of the technology of its larger A8 and enveloped it into smartly proportioned new bodywork. There's certainly lots to admire here, with advanced mild hybrid drivetrains, sharper yet more comfortable suspension options, sublime cabin comfort and a high-tech all-digital MMI touch response interface. But then then exceptional technology will be needed if his Audi is to be able to face down rivals of the quality of BMW's 5 Series and the Mercedes E-Class.
Audi offers this A6 with a wide range of engines, mostly with the brand's latest mild hybrid tech. The range kicks off with a couple of 2.0-litre four cylinder models, the first of them being the 40 TDI diesel (with 204PS). From that point on in the range, all A6 derivatives get quattro 4WD, starting with the other four cylinder model, the petrol-powered 45 TFSI quattro (which offers 245PS). Alternatively, there's a plug-in hybrid petrol model, the A6 50 TFSIe, with a combined output of 299PS and an electric driving range when fully charged of up to 34 miles. Next up lie a couple of conventional 3.0-litre six cylinder models with mild hybrid tech, the 50 TDI quattro diesel (286PS) and the 55 TFSI quattro petrol (340PS). If you're happy with the Avant estate body shape, there's also the allroad A6 Avant model with its air suspension and raised ride height. The allroad quattro model offers buyers three engine choices; a slightly de-tuned 231PS version of the six cylinder 3.0-litre TDI diesel unit, badged '45 TDI'. And the two aforementioned six cylinder units, the 50 TDI and the 55 TFSI. At the top of the range sit two bespoke sporting models. The S6 quattro uses the 3.0-litre six cylinder TDI diesel engine in an uprated 350PS state of tune. And the top RS 6 quattro (another Avant-only variant) has a 4.0-litre TFSI twin turbo V8 with 600PS, the result being 600PS, 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, 124mph in 12 seconds and one queasy looking Labrador. As you'd expect in this segment, all A6 models are exclusively equipped with automatic transmission. That'll be a seven-speed S tronic gearbox, unless you've opted for a 3.0-litre six cylinder diesel or the RS 6 (in which case the transmission will be an 8-speed tiptronic set-up to handle the extra torque). In conjunction with the tiptronic transmission, the quattro configuration is based on the familiar self-locking centre differential format, while the S tronic transmission works with more efficient 'ultra' technology, which is capable of engaging the rear axle instantly whenever needed but decouples it during cruising to maximise efficiency. The driver can select various driving profiles via the Audi drive select system - with 'efficiency, 'comfort', 'dynamic' options, plus 'auto' if you can't make up your mind and 'individual' if you want to set your own throttle, steering and gearshift parameters.
Design and Build
The styling of this fifth generation model borrows much from its A7 Sportback and A8 executive and luxury segment stablemates. So there are taut surfaces, sharp edges and striking lines, plus a long bonnet, a long wheelbase and short overhangs. The wide, low-slung Singleframe grille, the flat headlights and the powerfully contoured air inlets lend a suitably purposeful air. In profile, three striking lines reduce the car's visual height. The powerfully taut contours, which are drawn over the wheels, are testimony to Audi's quattro genes. This shape is certainly very sleek: thanks to advanced aerodynamics, a class-leadingly-slippery drag coefficient of as little as 0.24Cd has been achieved. The interior is larger than the outgoing model. Legroom in the rear exceeds not only that predecessor design but also the space you'll get in core competitors, while headroom and shoulder room measurements in both front and rear are also more generous than previously. Up front, the dash features the black-panel design we first saw on the current A8. You're going to need to like screens because this car's classy interior can incorporate no fewer than three of them, the two you'll notice first powering up as soon as the door is opened and dominating the upper and lower parts of the piano black-trimmed centre stack. There's comfortable room for a couple of adults in the back and a 530-litre boot. If you need more, the alternative Avant estate variant offers 565-litres.
Market and Model
Prices start at around £39,000, which gets you the 2.0 TDI diesel '40 TDI' saloon; there's a £2,100 premium if you want the Avant estate bodystyle. As before, this car's three key rivals will be the Mercedes E-Class, the BMW 5 Series and the Jaguar XF. You'll need to get your A6's spec right. There are four suspension set-ups: the conventional steel spring suspension, the sport suspension, the suspension with damper control and the adaptive air suspension, also with controlled damping. 'Progressive steering', which becomes even quicker and more direct as the steering angle increases, is standard. And dynamic all-wheel steering can also be added to further enhance this agility. Plus you can add in various autonomous driving features. And even specify Audi's 'parking pilot' and 'garage pilot' systems that will allow you to stand outside of your A6 and remotely park it: brilliant. A sophisticated MMI navigation system comes as standard - or you can add the optional 'MMI navigation plus' set-up. This has a media hub with high speed data transfer using the LTE Advanced standard. With this more advanced infotainment package, you can further add optional modules, including two sound systems headed by the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System delivering 3D sound. Audi connect online services also provide clever 'car-to-X services' traffic sign and hazard information. They use the swarm intelligence from the Audi fleet and network the Audi A6 with its environment.
Cost of Ownership
All engines in this fifth generation new A6 feature the brand's latest mild-hybrid technology. Here a belt alternator starter (BAS) works together with a lithium-ion battery, enabling the A6 to coast at speeds of between 34mph and 99mph in the interest of fuel economy and to initiate its start-stop function earlier - at speeds of 13mph and below. The engine is restarted from standstill predictively as soon as the vehicle in front starts moving. During deceleration, the BAS recovers up to 12 kW of energy. Let's get to the WLTP figures. The volume 2.0-litre 40 TDI diesel saloon version manages 50.4mpg on the combined cycle and 146g/km of CO2. The 45 TFSI quattro petrol saloon variant delivers combined fuel economy of up to 45.3mpg (depending on wheel size and trim choice) and CO2 emissions of up to 182g/km. The 50 TDI quattro saloon delivers combined fuel economy of up to 40.4mpg, plus combined CO2 emissions of up to 183g/km. Go for the A6 50 TFSIe plug-in hybrid petrol variant and, thanks to this derivative's 29 mile WLTP-rated all-electric driving range, you can enjoy a tax-beating CO2 return that's WLTP-rated at 35g/km. We'll finish by covering the warranty. All cars in this class get three years of cover, but whereas BMW and Mercedes don't limit your mileage in this period, Audi rather meanly restricts you to 60,000 miles. Optional extra-cost packages can extend the cover to either four or five years.
Has Audi done enough with the fifth generation version of this car? Many thousands of managers who'll put many more thousands of miles under the wheels of their new A6s every month will feel so. As before, they'll value this car for its quiet, understated professionalism, further marvelling in this guise at its mind-boggling technology and rather wonderful cabin. Yes, there are perhaps more characterful cars than this smart, efficient and perfectly mannered business conveyance - perhaps even some that feel sharper at the wheel. But it's hard to think of a more complete or cost-effective choice in this sector. It's all very vorsprung durch tecknik. And at the end of a very long day, you're likely to feel that that's what really matters.
Mercedes-Benz C Class Diesel Saloon
C220d AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic
per month inc. VAT
Mercedes-Benz A Class Saloon
A200 AMG Line Premium Plus 4dr
per month inc. VAT
Mercedes-Benz A Class Diesel Saloon
A200d AMG Line Premium 4dr Auto
per month inc. VAT
BMW 5 Series Diesel Saloon
520d MHT SE 4dr Step Auto
per month inc. VAT
BMW 3 Series Diesel Saloon
318d MHT M Sport 4dr Step Auto [Pro Pack]
per month inc. VAT
Mercedes-Benz E Class Diesel Saloon
E300d 4Matic AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic
per month inc. VAT
Vehicle maintenance packages are provided to you by the finance company and generally include and exclude the following elements. This cover is an addition to the standard full UK manufacturer’s warranty and roadside assistance that comes with all new vehicles.
Please note: Terms and conditions of vehicle maintenance packages can vary slightly depending on the finance company. Full details of the maintenance contract provided on your chosen vehicle will be forwarded to you with your quotation once you have enquired.
Maintenance Contract includes:
- Mechanical and electrical repairs or replacements, including associated parts and labour
- Bulbs, Batteries, Exhausts, Wiper Blades, Alternators & Starter Motors (dependent upon finance provider)
- Tyre repair and replacement
- Breakdown assistance
- No recharges for punctures or damaged tyres (dependent upon finance provider)
- MOT tests (if applicable)
What are the key benefits of a Maintained Contract?
- Planned fixed monthly cost
- No unexpected maintenance costs
- Protection from rising inflation costs
- Dedicated qualified technical team to deal with any problematic vehicles
- VAT is 100% recoverable on the Maintenance element of your contract for VAT registered businesses
What are the exclusions?
- Repairs or replacements due to driver error or driver induced faults
- Repairs due to accident damage
- Missing or Broken items e.g. Bent Aerials, Missing Hub Cabs
- Vandalised and Stolen Wheels and/or Tyres
- Damaged windscreen and/or glass replacement
- Lubricant and Fluid Top Ups between service intervals (e.g. Oil Top Ups, Screenwash Top Ups)
- A relief vehicle is not guaranteed as part of your maintenance package. However, this may be available at an additional cost, dependant on your finance provider
What is WLTP?
The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) replaced the NEDC test procedure for establishing official fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for all new cars and became mandatory from September 2018. WLTP is a more accurate way of reading the statistics of an engine’s economy outputs based on realistic driving on an every day basis. The cycle of WLPT is divided in to 4 sections which fall under different average speeds of the vehicle being at low, medium, high and more high. It also includes various driving scenarios such as breaking accelerating and stops.
How will this effect me?
From 1st April 2020 the first registration tax for new cars will be higher. If you currently have a car on order which has not yet been registered then the price will increase and this will vary depending on the cars. If the new car you have on order is being taken on finance or lease then your monthly payments will increase by the amount the first registration has gone up. The new payments will be displayed on the finance documents you receive to sign before delivery of the vehicle.
In addition, from the 6th April 2020 company car tax known as benefit in kind, increased as a response to the WLTP new testing procedure.