Downsizing isn’t confined to real estate, it’s alive and well in the car business too.
The large Audi A6 executive express received a mid-life makeover and late last year its 2.8-litre V6 was downsized for the sweet 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine from the current A4.
Smaller in size it might be but the 2.0-litre petrol belts out 35 more kilowatts (185 v 150) than the V6 and 90 more torques (370 v 280) as well. It shoots the A6 to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds, shaving 1.6 off the V6 time and drinks considerably less premium fuel, (6.9 v 8.0L/100km), so it’s a win, win, win and win.
With the makeover came a wider single-frame grille, revised bumpers, matrix LED daytime running lights and headlights with high-beam assist, the S-line exterior treatment, and strobing dynamic rear indicators. The subtle changes ensure the A6’s timeless design successfully lives on.
Perched on smart-looking five twin-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels and low profile rubber, it looks classy and a lot more expensive than its $106,900 price tag (+ORC’s), especially in the Glacier White of the test car, that was fitted with optional metallic paint, glass sunroof, heated front seats, and the black exterior styling package, that raised the price to $111,000. Inside is what we have come to expect from Audi; detailed craftsmanship, superb quality and comfortable serenity.
The A6 comes with Audi’s MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch and the first rendition of Audi’s fabulous Virtual cockpit technology, its hi-res screen nestles between the speedo and tacho, in the driver’s line of sight. As good as the centrally-mounted, retractable infotainment system is, it can’t hide its age. Although it works perfectly well and intuitively, such as the hectic pace of in-car information systems, it has already been superseded by new slicker systems.
Completing the upgrade is self-parking, front and rear cameras, electric folding exterior mirrors and Audi side assist. You also get a CD/DVD player, 2 x SD card readers and a USB-based music interface with digital radio reception, DAB+ and 10GB of flash memory, connected to a 180-watt 10-speaker sound system.
The black leather electrically-adjusted front seats hold you in all the right places and are extremely comfy for long distance cruising. There’s loads of room in the both rows and a generous amount of boot space that easily accounted for a couple of large suit cases and soft bags.
A 600km round trip to Warrnambool to watch the World Series Sprintcars race highlighted what a polished and relaxed long distance cruiser the Audi A6 is, with the journey feeling more like a drive around the block.
While it’s 2.0-litre turbo four doesn’t produce the brutal 700 kilowatts of a 6.7 litre V8 Sprintcar, I found its new engine perfectly suitable for effortless cruising, easy overtaking and with a shove of the throttle more than a decent level of oomph away at the lights. New to this model is a seven-speed S-tronic dual clutch auto, which replaced the previous CVT. It delivers seamless changes and syncs perfectly with the new engine and for a bit of added fun, there are paddle shifts to play with.
Although it is a large car, the A6 relishes a gallop along twisting roads.
The nicely-weighted steering, sharp turn-in, sublime chassis, long wheel base and wide track deliver sure-footed handling, while the quattro driveline elevates grip levels to deliver plenty of entertainment and engagement behind the wheel.
Regardless of which drive mode is selected, the suspension mops up bumps and dips with ease, providing a relaxing ride.
The A6 scores a five-star ANCAP safety rating and features Adaptive Cruise Control, Audi pre-sense plus, Park assist, 360-degree camera and Audi Connect and Active lane assist.
The A6 is stylish, swift, sophisticated, safe and highly satisfying behind the wheel. It’s pretty much everything one could ask for in a premium executive express.
Check out the full Audi A6 lineup at Audi’s website.