By Stuart Lowe
Time flies when you’re having fun! Our Audi A6 3,0 TDI quattro S tronic arrived early in March with 1 875 km on the odometer and since then two months and 4 000 km of driving pleasure have slipped by in a flash!
I spent most of last year driving the predecesor to this A6 but that test unit was an entry-level 2,0 litre model and was certainly very different, especially in terms of the driving experience it offered – it was a front-wheel drive, Multitronic CVT-equipped car.
Due to Audi’s alimunium and steel hybrid contruction the new A6 is some 80 kg lighter that the previous model. It is also 12 mm shorter but this has certainly not been at the expense of interior space – there’s plenty of legroom in the rear. The boot size, however, has been trimmed down by 100 dm3 but at 384 dm3 remains adequate for my needs. In this model the rear seats do not fold down – and there are still no cup holders for rear passengers!
The interior finshies are outstanding – simple lines expressed in superb quality materials and highlighed by matte walnut and touches of chrome. The layout is driver friendly and the MMI controls have, after some familiarisation, become effortless to use even while driving.
Predictably the design of the new A6 is as conservative as the outgoing model and presumably that’s how the customers want it. The new shape is elegant and fresh if not dramtic in its styling enghancements. That said, on 18-inch wheels I really like the solid and no-nonsense look of this executive saloon, and passers-by seem to agree. So cosmetically this car is a step up in every way but it’s in the powertrain and the driving dynamics departments that I have been most impressed.
The 3,0-litre six-cylinder turbodiesel engine produces 180 kW at 4000 r/min and 500 N.m or torque from a low 1 400 r/min. That translates into abundant grunt from the get go and smooth power delivery thought the 7-speed S tronic double-clutch transmission. Use the manual shift paddles and the A6 transforms into quite a lively machine, displaying a duality in its character which is most pleasing.
But power is nothing without control and the real joy of working though the transmission options on the A6 is how that power translates to handling and driving dynamics. Whether it’s from standing start (0 to 100 km/h in a claimed 6,1 secs) or powering out of a tight corner the grip and control from the quattro all-wheel drive system is outstanding. It’s certainly far more fun to pilot than its predecessor.
With one long trip up the east coast under the belt, the car’s fuel consumption figure is stable at around 8,6 L/100km which means a tank range of around 700 km is on offer. This is very impressive, considering the performance capability the engine also offers.
In the September 2011 issue of CAR our test team put the front-wheel drive, Multitronic-equipped, 150 kW A6 though its paces and there were some reservations about driving dynamics. Certainly, if the budget can be squeezed upwards by some R125 000 for this (Car of the Year finalist) model, then do so, as it answers many of those concerns.
Current Price- R645 000
Mileage on delivery – 1 875 km
Mileage now – 5 850 km
Fuel consumption to date – 8,6 L/100 km
We like – quattro grip, smooth power, auto hold assist, auto start/stop, park assist
We don’t like – no folding rear seats, no rear cupholders