40 TDI 204PS S line S tronic
beauty is more than
it handles better, its
classy cabin is more spacious, and
it majors on useful and convenient
AUDI'S LATEST LUXURY EXECUTIVE SALOON, bigger than the model it supersedes,
is a satisfyingly assured piece of design. Go for the S line spec with its exclusive
body detailing, adaptive Matrix LED headlights and dynamic rear indicators,
and there's a subtle air of aggression added to the handsomely proportioned
and tautly styled bodyshell, particularly around the low-slung single-frame
grille, making it both understated yet eye-catching at the same time.
This week we've been driving the likely best-seller, the 2.0-litre diesel 40
TDI (as Audi's decidedly smooth 201bhp four-pot turbodiesel is badged) that
comes partnered with a seven-speed twin-clutch autobox. A top speed of 152mph
means it's faster than most drivers will ever go; and quick enough off the mark
it hits 62mph in 8.1 seconds from standstill.
an impressive engine performance is strong and, thanks to 295lb ft of
torque, punchy, and while it might raise its voice during a hard-charging overtake,
it never shouts. In fact in general driving Audi's creamy new diesel unit is
especially quiet and your passengers will be hard-pushed to notice it at all.
With virtually no engine, wind or tyre noise intruding into the A6's cabin,
progress rarely feels anything less than effortless.
powering the A6 40 TDI,
as the decidedly
smooth 201bhp four-
pot turbodiesel is badged, comes partnered
with a seven-speed twin-
A top speed of 152mph
means its faster than
most drivers will ever go;
and quick enough off
the mark it hits 62mph
in 8.1 seconds from
The 2.0-litre is also a nice fit with the silky and quick-changing S tronic
autobox between them they've got the refinement thing nicely sewn up
and high-speed cruising is delightfully serene.
If you prefer 'snappy' (in the nicest possible sense) shifts to just 'quick'
ones, use the S tronic's Sport setting or the Drive Select's Individual mode
to mix-and-match a customised 'press on' setting or select the most appropriate
from the wide spread of driving profiles (the just-mentioned Individual, Efficiency,
Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic).
And for those with a hankering for some DIY there are paddle-shifters on the
steering wheel so taking full control of the gear changes is a given whenever
you need or want to. All A6 engines (the other powerplants are a 340hp petrol
3.0 TFSI and a 286hp 3.0 turbodiesel) also come with integrated mild-hybrid
technology (MHEV) that, using stored energy recovered during deceleration, enables
fuel-maximising coasting with the engine running at idling speed between 34
and 99mph when you take your foot off the accelerator.
The instant you accelerate again power is restored quickly and smoothly. MHEV
also initiates the start-stop function earlier, at speeds of 13mph and below;
cleverly, the A6 restarts the moment it senses the car ahead has moved off,
so none of those irritating pauses after the lights have changed.
More good news about the turbodiesel's economy officially, the combined
cycle is rated at 62.8mpg and a week's hard driving saw us record a very credible
real-world 46.6mpg for this big saloon. Starting with a full tank gives you
a possible range of 650 miles; if you want more there's always the option of
specifying a larger tank.
Underpinning this new A6 is a rigid hybrid aluminium spaceframe platform, as
found beneath its A7 four-door coupe and A8 limousine stablemates. Four suspension
arrangements are on the menu: conventional steel springs with a multi-link configuration,
the same again but with a lowered Sport suspension (standard on S line versions),
plus two further options; adaptive dampers, and air suspension.
quattro four-wheel drive is available although the 40 TDI tested here uses the
more sporting S line set-up and puts its power down through the front wheels.
Even so, grip is good and, thanks to first-rate body control and firmer damping,
the cornering composure is markedly confident. Overall this new A6 feels agile
and light no mean feat for a luxuriously-appointed, five-metre-long saloon.
40 TDI tested here
uses the more sporting
S line suspension set-up
and puts its power down
through the front wheels.
Even so, grip is good
and, thanks to first-rate
body control and the
the cornering composure
is markedly confident...
While there are tick-box upgrades for the steering the default choice makes
use of a speed-sensitive variable ratio arrangement that becomes more direct
as lock is applied and feels sufficiently connected to the A6's sharp-end to
make placing the car accurately a breeze.
You can, should you wish, use Drive Select to add more weighting to the helm
when you set your customised mixed-and-match preferences for the various dynamics
such as steering and handling in the Individual mode. Another option on the
table is rear-wheel steering that, notably, makes the A6 not only feel shorter
but turn sharper. That said, the standard set-up is perfectly fine.
While there are a number of different suspension options on the menu, the standard
steel springs supporting the lowered S line confidently manage the A6's size
and weight to serve up a fluent, well-damped ride even on pretty rubbishy
blacktop. Surprisingly for a German car, even running large 19-inch diameter
alloy wheels (rolling on 245/45 Bridgestones) doesn't spoil the ride on UK roads
nor compromise refinement.
Audi does interiors superbly and the A6's is no exception it's beautifully
presented with a cool, high-grade ambiance and tasteful materials: matt brushed
aluminium (to the dash, centre console and door trims) and soft black leather
upholstery with grey contrast stitching. The front Sport seats have effective
side bolstering that keeps you comfortably located when cornering, and extending
thigh/under-knee support. Naturally they're heated (3-stage) and power adjustable,
including for the seat-base rake and four-way lumbar. And genuinely as supportive
as they look.
The driver gets a two-setting memory function to recall personalised seat and
mirror positions as well as a lovely-to-grip three-spoke multifunction wheel
with a perforated leather rim. The well-judged driving position provides clear
views in all directions but particularly over the bonnet. Keyless entry, a powered
easy-entry-and-exit seat, and push-button engine start make getting in and getting
away a speedy affair.
dash is a bobby-dazzler with two HD touchscreens integrated seamlessly within
the centre stack and fascia: the upper, a 10-incher, handles infotainment and
navigation well-liked highlights include 3D city models with realistic
building texture and road lane illustration for selected cities, and navigation
with Google Earth; the lower 8.6-inch display is used for climate control, convenience
functions, and for fingertip-writing text input. There's also search with voice
control, wireless smartphone charging with signal boosting plus an additional
Bluetooth interface so two mobile phones can be connected simultaneously.
dash is a bobby-
dazzler with two HD
seamlessly within the
centre stack and fascia:
the upper, a 10-incher,
handles infotainment and
highlights include 3D city
models with realistic
building texture and road
lane illustration for
selected cities plus
navigation with Google
Earth; the lower
8.6-inch display is used
for climate control,
and for fingertip-writing
Tick the box for the Technology Pack (£1,495) and the screen tally rises to
three as you then get Audi's outstanding Virtual Cockpit this replaces
the instrument cluster with a 12.3-inch digital instrument screen that displays
information tailored to the driver's need including digital road speed, 3D mapping,
media, driver assistance systems, telephone, etc. The digitally rendered dials
can be resized with a press on the wheel's View button so the navigation mapping
can be shown across the full display.
Comms are now a whole lot cleverer with natural voice recognition to let you
control the technology in a more intuitive way a wider range of conversational
commands are now recognised for a more natural dialogue between car and driver.
Questions and commands are processed in two ways with onboard stored
data, and also with detailed knowledge from the cloud. Additionally, up to seven
drivers can store their preferred settings in individual user profiles as well
as set up to 400 parameters.
Configurable favourites buttons also help tailor the system to your preferences
and with this comprehensive array of smart-tech under the command of your fingertip
and your voice you can operate most of the important functions using the buttons
and scroll-and-click thumb-wheels on the multifunction steering wheel while
keeping your eyes safely on the road.
Usefully, an optional Audi Connect key lets you enable an Android smartphone
to lock and unlock the car and to start the engine and you can pass the
access data onto five other people or smartphones. Also part of the deal is
Audi's Connect (which comes with a 36-month subscription) and facilitates emergency
and roadside assistance.
on the 'entry' 40 TDI the kit is comprehensive with all the 'staples' such as
Keyless-Go, 2Zone electronic climate control, 180-watt sound system with 6-channel
amplifier and 10 speakers including subwoofer, DAB radio, a park-assist system
for the front and rear, one-shot electric windows, auto-dimming (and frameless)
rearview mirror, powerfolding heated door mirrors, electric parking brake with
auto hold, cruise control, speed limiter, and auto lights and wipes, and LED
interior ambient lighting. Stylish scrolling rear indicators are also fitted
to S line models.
Standard-fit driver assists include Audi's Parking System Plus with a rear-view
camera, the Pre-sense Front collision warning and automatic braking system that
monitors the traffic ahead for potential collision hazards, and the Lane Departure
as hard to fathom as The 39 Steps are the 39 driver assistance systems
designed to make life easier for the driver. Such as, for instance, the parking
and garage pilot that will autonomously manoeuvre the A6 into and out of a parking
space or garage impressively (and brilliant for tight parking spots)
the driver can get out of the car before activating and monitoring the process
using the myAudi app on their smartphone. Very 007! Other optional add-ons include
thing like handling-enhancing rear-wheel steering, a limited self-driving capability,
and a full colour head-up display.
rear cabin is a
relaxing place to chill
aeroacoustics keep the
A6 peaceful, even at high
speeds, for a genuine
In fact, whatever your
speed, from behind
the wheel you can
converse with all your
a normal voice...
five-metres nose-to-tail the A6 is undoubtedly big even if not quite as large
as the limo-like A8 with which it has much in common. Its generous three-metre
wheelbase benefits those in the rear the most: six-foot back seat passengers
can sit behind other six-footers and still enjoy plenty of legroom. And that's
in addition to decent shoulder and head room almost as much as the fist-and-a-half
of it available in the front.
Not only are the rear seats particularly comfy, but the rear cabin is a relaxing
place to chill advanced aerodynamics and sophisticated aeroacoustics
keep the A6 peaceful, even at high speeds, for a genuine 'business class' experience.
In fact, whatever your speed, from behind the wheel you can converse with all
your passengers in a normal voice. And for when smaller children need to be
carried, there are child seat anchors for both outer seats (as well as for the
front passenger seat).
The A6's boot is big and of a regular shape that allows plenty to be packed
into its 530 litres. Although this is a proper saloon the 60:40-split rear seatbacks
do fold down not absolutely flat, but flat enough to still be useful
with a seamless floor. The wide centre section also folds down for long load-throughs
and, should you want to tow, then the 40 TDI will oblige to the tune of a braked
highly competent rivals such as BMW's 5-series, the Jaguar XF, Mercedes E-Class,
and Volvo's S90, the great looking A6 needs to be very good in every way. With
its über-tech features and driver assists, urbane ambiance and commendably refined
turbodiesel it's a clever, high-quality motor that easily makes the grade. And
then some. ~ MotorBar
Audi A6 40 TDI S line S tronic
Maximum speed: 152mph | 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds | Test Average: 46.6mpg
Power: 201bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2: 117g/km