Prepare to turn right. Please turn right. Please do a u-turn if possible. Well, it wasn’t possible, because I was on the Esmonde Rd on-ramp deliberately taking a quicker route than the exceptionally polite satellite navigation system knew. The sat-nav is a very interesting and welcome addition to the A6 and its soft, feminine, educated UK accent makes the fact it doesn’t know the short cuts inconsequential.
The sat-nav display is situated on a screen in the centre of the dashboard, which also serves as the focal point for adjusting functions available within the Audi MMI (Multi Media Interface) Using a combination of a data wheel and buttons, users can navigate through the screens to choose radio and TV stations, CD tracks, and tailor just about every aspect of the car to their discerning needs. The dual air conditioning and heated seats retain a separate control interface whereby a dazzling number of configurations can be chosen for where the air is going, and what temperature it is.
I like fiddling with gadgets, so the opportunity to spend a week with a car like the A6 is appealing. Of course, I’m not going to read the manual, so I was still finding new screens on day five. That’s like five days of Christmas.
One of the things that was immediately apparent to me in the A6 was that I really liked being in it. This week I’m going through an executive phase and the A6 is perfect for turning up to meetings — sleek, salubrious and perfectly chilled in the summer heat, having watched a bit of TV at the lights on the in-dash screen.
In fact, I feel like I should be wearing a suit. Sitting at traffic lights in Herne Bay an elderly gentleman questioned my age (33), assuming that someone of my youthful looks wouldn’t be able to afford a car that looks more expensive than it actually is.
The line of evolution goes back to the Audi 100 range produced from 1968 to 1997 in four iterations. The name was changed to A6 to align with international branding. Series 1 Audi 100s (C1) produced in 1968 had front wheel drive and produced a paltry 80bhp, 130 less than this new quattro 4WD A6’s aluminium V6 engine, and 355bhp less than its bigger brother the S6.
210bhp is never in jeopardy of overwhelming the quattro four-wheel drive system that puts its power through the optional wide 225/35R18 wheels, and the large sedan will reach 100 in an acceptable 8.4 seconds. The six-speed auto ‘box has a sports mode and sequential manual mode, and there’s a self-locking central differential for additional grip and safety.
The V6 is quite quiet, even under acceleration, and it will whisk the car to a top speed of 237kph (it’s interesting that the cruise control can be set to 250kph, despite the car’s top speed.) Doing that won’t get you anywhere near the Audi’s claimed 9.7l/100km economy (I recorded 9.9l/100km, which isn’t far off).
The one flaw in this Audi is that it feels as if it’s been hewn from a boulder of igneous rock. It’s solid. Very solid. And it feels heavier than its 1680kg would suggest. A combination of factors cause this: the steering is slightly heavy (but not overly so), the bonnet bulges out in front of you, it doesn’t make a thunderous fuss about getting up to speed, and the quattro four-wheel drive system feels like its pushing in the slower corners. This sense of size is confirmed when you check out the size of the boot, which is so large it has reverb, and the room available for the back seat passengers.
But let’s go back to the navigation system. These days you don’t need a map book with a sat-nav system. In the Audi’s case a small unit sits out of the way in a compartment in the boot and houses a navigation DVD. The system knows where you are, so all you have to do is enter in your destination. The sat-nav can be set do calculate the quickest or shortest route, avoid motorways and ferries, and include stopover locations. For example, a stopover location can be set at Matamata if you want to travel that way from Auckland to Taupo, rather than via Cambridge.
The total trip distance and an estimated arrival time are provided, both of which update in real time if you make a diversion or travel faster/slower than expected.
An extremely useful function is special destinations. This allows you to select petrol stations, hospitals, car parks, and other useful generic places either in your immediate vicinity, or in the vicinity of your chosen destination.
At $109,900 the Audi packs a lot of punch. This is the base model and (because the S6 is $195,000) I really can’t see why you’d need to go any further up the range. I’d even be tempted to buy an A6, it’s that good.
Click through to the next page to view detailed specification of the Audi A6 sedan.
Price: from $109,990. Price as tested (with optional 18-inch wheels, TV reception, iPod preparation and heated seats, $114,200)
What we like
- I’m now a corporate player
- Enormous boot
- Lots of toys — TV, sat-nav, endless controls for the car
- Plenty of power
- Quiet ride
What we don’t like
- Feels heavy and large (because it is — 1680kg and 4.9m long)
- You’ll want those 18-inch wheels
- Odd pricing: TV reception = $2,600, Audi advanced parking = $1,500, but you can buy them as a package for $2,500.
Words and photos Darren Cottingham
Cubic Capacity: 2773
Torque (Nm/ rpm): 280 / 3,000 – 5,000
Cylinders / Valves Per Cylinder: 6/4
Fuel Injection system: FSI (Direct)
Drive Train: quattro
Transmission – Tiptronic With DSP & sport program: 6 speed
Servotronic Steering assistance
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (secs): 8.4
Top Speed (km/h): 237
Fuel consumption combined in l/100km: 9.7
CO2 emission: 231g/km
Audi Cover Assistance – 3 Year Cost Free Motoring
Galvanised Body – 12 Year Anti-Corrosion Warranty
Safety and Security
ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution) and Electronic Brake Assist
ASR Traction Control System, with EDL – Electronic Diff Lock and ESP
Front Passenger Airbag Key Deactivation
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchorages Front & Rear
Active front head restraints
Driver & Passenger Airbags, Side Airbags Front And Rear, and Sideguard Head Airbag System
Head Restraints Front & Rear
Anti Theft Alarm With Interior Surveillance and Vehicle Immobiliser
Alloy Wheels: 18″ 7 Spoke Design
Auto Headlight activation with rain sensor, coming-home and daytime driving mode
Automatic dimming exterior Mirrors – Electric & Heated with Memory function
Full Size Spare Wheel
Air Conditioning with sun sensor & humidity sensor
Auto Dimming interior mirrors
CD Changer for MMI
Dash Inserts Walnut Digital Sound Package
Electric Front Seats with Lumber and Drivers Memory
Electromechanical Parking Brake
Front Centre Armrest
Height And Reach Adjustable Steering Column
Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
Interior Trim Volterra Leather Leather Gear Shift
Leather Multifunction Steering Wheel with shift paddles
Mobile Phone Preparation with Blue Tooth
Multi Function Trip Computer
Multi Media Interface (MMI)
Parking Aid in front and rear
Split Folding Rear Seat