I recently spent some time behind the wheel of the latest Audi A6 in 45TDI guise. It was also fitted with the brands sporty S-Line kit which adds some flair to the design in the form of sporty bumpers and larger wheels.
The exterior design features taut surfaces, sharply defined edges and striking lines, the business class sedan unmistakably conveys its character, especially in black. The wide, low-slung Single-frame grille with chrome trim, the flat headlights and the powerfully contoured air inlets exude elegance and sportiness at the front. A chrome strip accentuates the rear and provides a link between the lights. One thing that I don’t like is the fake tailpipes. In fact, designers have put some design elements where the exhausts should be but are not. I feel that they should have avoided highlighting the area altogether.
As for the lights, both front and back provide for a very visually appealing experience, especially at night when they do a little dance when locking and unlocking the car. I like the fact that manufacturers have utilised the abilities of LED technology to offer a bit of theatrics, and Audi does it best.
The A6 features a really well put together interior which makes use of quality materials. Everything that you interact with visually and physically has a sense of quality to it. While the facia is very linear the addition of three high-quality screens make the interior experience a modern and connected one. Ahead of the driver is the Audi virtual cockpit which makes use of a high-resolution display that measures 12.3 inches. This screen can be personalised with a host of information displays. The second screen is the main infotainment screen which measures 10.1-inches. Here you can control various aspects of the communication functions as well as vehicle setup. This particular model also featured wireless Apple CarPlay which is fast and effective as well as Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, boasting 16 loudspeakers and 3D sound functionality which delivers an output of 705 watts.
The third screen (yes, there are more) is the climate control screen. Here you can set up the climate just how you like it. It was a bit confusing and fiddly when I first got the car but it didn’t take long to familiarise myself with that and the other screens. Once you get the hang of it, they become easy to use.
In order to fully experience the driving experience of the A6 a bit of a road trip was needed. I pointed that large grill towards Dullstroom one morning and we headed off. Setting the active cruise control makes light work of the road ahead as the car automatically adjusts to forward traffic. One of the standout elements however is the impeccable ride quality. The A6 floats across the surface, and even in some rather heavy rain, the quattro all-wheel-drive system adds a bit of confidence. When the highway ended and the beautiful country road presented itself I popped the A6 out of Comfort mode and into Dynamic mode. The car tightens up, the throttle becomes hypersensitive and the steering heavy, the suspension firm yet still quite compliant.
The engine in this machine is a real gem. It’s a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel V6 that develops 183kW and 600Nm of torque. That power is transferred to all four corners via an 8-speed automatic gearbox. It is however the torque that impresses. It seems to be readily available and the slightest flex of your right foot ushers in a surge which gently but noticeably pushes you back into your seat. After the fun was had and our tummies full we got into the car and headed back to Pretoria. The A6 45TDI returned an average fuel consumption of 6.3l/100km which is an incredible figure for a large executive saloon.
As appealing as what the A6 is, especially in 45TDI guise I can’t help but think that the age of the large, executive sedan is coming to an end. The luxury SUV, the Compact SUV and even the Crossover seem to be the main focus of not just the consumer but the manufacture as well. If you want the A6 luxury but want to be somewhat smart with your money then I would look at either the Q7 or the Q8 as both offer similar features and a similar driving experience, just ever so slightly higher off the ground.