Over the past couple of years, I’ve driven many different Audi SUVs; the Q2, Q5 and the Q7 among them. The Audi A6 Avant was going to be a different experience. I hoped it would be a much more practical family vehicle than the Q7 yet more spacious than any of the other Audis I have driven. Without further ado, here’s what I thought.
First impressions on seeing the A6
The Audi A6 looks like it sits low to the ground. Although an Avant (which means estate in the Queen’s English), it didn’t look particularly big.
The demonstrater I was driving was painted Vesuvius grey, which is almost black. It also had tinted windows and eye-catching 5-spoke alloy wheels. Although these features are optional extras, the car looked like it should turn heads and I was very happy to have it parked on the drive way.
The interior, however, is what makes this car sexy. It reminded me a lot of the Q7. The display and controls were very similar, although a few subtle changes seem to have been made to Audi’s touch-screen media centre since I last drove an Audi. The main change is that you have to give the touch screen a really purposeful push to make it work, a gentle swipe of the screen won’t cut it.
The display is crystal clear, all the controls are in sensible positions and there’s a special spot for storing your mobile phone in the arm rest. On one occasion I was about to walk off with my phone in the car and, believe it or not, the car sensed the phone was still inside and a verbal warning came over the speakers telling me I was about to leave it behind!
Driving and performance
The model I was driving featured a three litre, diesel engine with Audi’s automatic tiptronic transmission. For day to day use, you would obviously use it in drive mode.
In drive mode, I did notice a slight delay before the engine picked up when I accelerated. In sports mode, there was no such delay and it accelerated incredibly well, so much so my kids asked me to slow down on more than occasion. You will understand that being a responsible blogger I was sticking to the speed limit, it’s simply that our family car has a smaller engine with nothing like the acceleration of the Audi A6 so the kids weren’t used to it!
The car handled the country roads of Surrey and Kent incredibly well. With the transmission in sports mode, dual carriageways and bigger roads were a dream.
As for miles to the gallon, Audi claims the A6 Avant can do around 45 miles to the gallon. I’m yet to drive a car that actually meets the manufacturer’s stated MPG, but I had the car several days and didn’t go near a fuel station so that three litre engine can’t be doing too badly.
Other features worth a mention
There was one design feature that did impress me a great deal and that’s the view out of the rear window. Even with Izzy, my five year old’s, car seat in the rear, the view out of the back was perfect. There aren’t many cars I can say that about.
While on the subject of design, the interior lighting is a sight to behold at night time. The car is lit with a subtle mix of white, blue, purple and red lights and it looks stunning.
The car was fitted with HD Matrix LED lights, an option costing £600. This, however, would be an investment. I did a lot of night time driving in this vehicle and they lit the road up extremely well.
Audi makes quite a big thing of its ‘pre sense’ collision avoidance system. Although I’d heard a lot about it and seen a detailed PowerPoint presentation explaining how it worked, I’d never made use of it. That all changed when I drove the A6 Avant!
The system not only spots potential collision threats and brings the car to a halt if it senses any, it will also regulate the speed of your car to keep you a safe distance from the vehicle in front. With my hands hovering over the steering wheel, the A6 could basically drive itself on straight roads with the pre sense system turned on.
The system does have its limits. In theory it can sense what is going on to the left and right of the car. In reality, it only sense what is going on in front of you. I noticed driving along country lanes that the pre sense detected cars parked in front of me and would bring the car to a halt on detecting them. If, however, I rounded a corner, where there was a high bank on the left side of the car, it didn’t seem to sense the obstruction so a distracted driver would have driven straight into it.
Needless to say, the driver shouldn’t allow themselves to get distracted. It was, nonetheless, further evidence that driverless car technology is on its way.
The A6 is full of some very nice touches such as reading lights in the back seats etc. I can’t list them all but one final feature was a very welcome discovery.
In the boot is a small lever. Pull that lever and the back seats collapse providing you with additional space. There’s no fiddling round for buttons, levers or straps on the seats themselves, it’s all done from that one lever in the boot.
Big enough to accommodate a family?
The big question is whether the Avant is a good family car. I think the short answer is yes, it is.
The car isn’t the size of Western Australia, like the Q7 or its successor, the Q8. The Q2 and Q5 are superb SUVs and the kind of thing you see parked outside schools at half past three every weekday afternoon.
Being SUVs, however, the boot space is limited. Other vehicle’s in Audi’s A class range of cars have a similar issue. I think the Avant is a better vehicle for going on camping trips, doing trips to IKEA or any of the other journeys a family may typically undertake. With its higher spec, it’s also a nicer car for undertaking long journeys.
I would make the one comment. With Izzy’s car seat in place, I was a little surprised at how little leg room there was in the back of the car. If you have very young who still require car seats, you may wish to keep this in mind.
On the road price and further information
Being an A6, the Avant has a higher specification than, say, an A4. As a result, it has a price tag to match. At the time of writing, the on the road price for the Audi A6 Avant 50 TDI quatro 286PS S line Tiptronic I was driving is £51,530. Further information can be found online at the Audi website.
The Audi A6 Avant would make for a great family car, especially if you drive long distances. Nonetheless, you would need to be happy spending over £50,000 on a family car.
The small delay with the engine picking up in drive mode wouldn’t put me off at all. I could also overlook the lack of space in the back seat, although it would bother me if I had to use more than one car seat as you would struggle to get two car seats and an adult in the back.
In summary, another great car from Audi with some great design features. For quality like this, however, you do have to pay.
Disclosure: An Audi A6 Avant was loaned to me for the purposes of this feature, Thoughts and opinions entirely my own.