Audi A6 Avant: long-term test review

First report: Audi A6 Avant executive estate has instantly won friends with its looks and abilityVerdict4The Audi’s stunning looks have captured our photographer’s imagination, but it’s not just skin deep, because our new A6 Avant is impressing us on many levels. He’s also looking forward to the winter months in the car.

Mileage: 2,290
Economy: 39.2mpg

Is there a better car for an Auto Express photographer during the winter months than an Audi A6 Avant? That’s the question we hope to answer over the next half a year, because this week it’s time to say hello to the latest car I’m running on the fleet.

Regular readers will have spotted that the car has already featured in these pages, both in our fleet watch section (Issue 1,549) and as part of a twin test against the Mercedes E-Class Estate in Issue 1,553.

• Audi A6 Avant vs Mercedes E-Class Estate

There’s something I instantly love about my new Audi that I’m sure you’ve noticed, and that’s the design. As a photographer, I’m always on the lookout for the perfect shot, and soon after the car arrived I found a great opportunity to capture the A6’s bold styling during a particularly brilliant sunrise.

I’m really taken with the A6 Avant’s headlights, large grille and purposeful roofline. It already has a very sporty design, so I can only imagine how good a future S6 or RS 6 model might look.

Another feature I love about my specific car is the 20-inch alloy wheels. However, due to the unusual way press vehicles are sometimes specified, they’re not actually available to buy if you’re a customer right now. That’s a shame, because I think these are some of the best-looking rims I’ve seen in recent years. The thought of kerbing one is keeping me on my toes when I’m in town, because I’d hate to damage these rare alloys.

Our car’s Glacier White paint (£685) looks great, and it’s part of a long list of optional kit that takes the total price of our A6 to £52,640. Other extras include double-glazed windows with a dark tint on the rear section (£525 and £475 respectively), plus the £1,495 Technology pack that brings a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen and a lower 8.6-inch display to complement it, including sat-nav and smartphone connectivity. There’s a wireless phone charging pad and Audi’s brilliant Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster as well.

Our car also has an important option for my own comfort: adaptive dampers. They cost £1,150 and let me soften or stiffen the suspension depending on the type of road I’m on, although I mainly leave the car in its most comfortable setting anyway.

My A6 Avant is the 40 TDI model, which has already caused some confusion among fellow motorists. I’ve been asked if it’s a 4.0-litre car, as the badge seems to indicate, but it’s actually only a 2.0-litre diesel using clever new mild-hybrid tech. Audi’s badging scheme uses numbers between 25 and 70, so the 40 refers to my Avant’s power output, rather than the size of the engine.

It has 201bhp, which means it’s more than punchy enough for me. I’m loving the low-down torque it delivers (a maximum of 400Nm), and because it’s a four-cylinder diesel, it’s returning a decent 39.2mpg so far.

Audi lists an official 0-62mph time of 8.3 seconds, and when my colleagues rated the car as part of the twin test it proved it was capable of sprinting from 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds. Of course, it’ll never need to do that on the road, but it’s an easy way to demonstrate how quick the big estate feels when you put your foot down.

With 565 litres of boot space even when the rear seats are up, there’s easily enough room for all my photography gear in the back. And once you’ve folded the seats, there’s a capacity of 1,680 litres. I rarely need that much space, but it comes in handy when I want to get down really low for a tracking shot; I can lie down and shoot from bumper level to get a really dynamic-looking photo of whatever it is I’m snapping that week.

I’m already impressed with the A6, then, but there are a few things to delve further into over the coming months. One of them is the comfort. First impressions suggest it rides very well on motorways, but there might be a few issues with driving in town on those large wheels.

Then there’s the infotainment system. Although it looks very impressive, I’m still getting to know how it all operates. I’m not sure that I like having to use a touchscreen so often while I’m driving, but we’ll reserve judgement on that for when I’ve worked out exactly where everything is.

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

Key specs

  • Model: Audi A6 Avant 40 TDI 204PS S line S tronic
  • On fleet since: October 2018
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl diesel, 201bhp
  • CO2/tax: 129g/km/£450
  • Options: Glacier white paint (£685), 360-degree camera (£700), Storage pack (£100), tinted windows (£475), LED interior lighting (£275), double glazing (£525), Technology pack (£1,495), adaptive dampers (£1,150), electric door mirrors (£150), four-zone climate con
  • Insurance*: Group: 38, Quote: £573
  • Mileage/mpg: 2,290/39.2mpg
  • Any problems?: None so far

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