The internal combustion engine, and the diesel engine in particular, is all but dead. This was brillianty shown by the A6 ultra we drove lately. We were truly amazed by the smoothness, pulling power, and last but not least the uncanny frugality of the 150 HP
2 litre diesel engine. We looked with total disbelief at the average consumption figure after a short drive in dense urban (Brussels) traffic: 5,6 litres/100 km. After a further brisk drive at legal maximum speeds on the motorway, the consumption dropped to 4,7 litres. Truly out of this world, we thought.
Even in city driving we achieved 4,9 litres/100 km...
Or is this rather the world we will be driving in in the near future? It seems so. And it is a frugal world where performance and sheer luxury can also truly be enjoyed. Read further for our experience behind the leather covered wheel of this A6...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Stepping into the low, sleek Avant one is immediately overwhelmed by the cockpit-like ambiente, the comforting feel of the firm leather covered seats, which envelope you like in a thoroughbred tourer.
Indeed, this is a driver's car, with a noble pedigree, coming from the Audi stable with excellent engineering and the abundant use of high quality materials set in a superbly finished end product.
The instruments, retaining the Audi typical styling, are dramatically mounted in somewhat uplifted clusters, and indeed, are a true joy to behold for the eyes of the enthusiast. On the wide and generously dimensioned centre console one finds the familiar knobs for the infotainment/navigation system, and an ideally placed gear lever, which was a joy to use.
When driving away, one immediately noticed the sporting suspension setup of our test car. It came equipped with the optional 20 mm lower setting. It made this impressive A6 Avant feel and handle as nimbly as a compact two seater, and added greatly to the driving pleasure of this Audi .
Steering is sensitive and precise, cornering is neutral up to very high speeds, and straight line stability is excellent. The A6 can be steered with verve on winding roads, and it remains quiet and stable, and even at this high tempo it never feels out of place for its occupants. This is how a true gran turismo should handle, and indeed, the A6 really delivers here.
But it not only excels in sheer handling. It is comfortable too, and strikes a perfect balance between the right amount of tautness and suppleness to achieve premium suspension comfort.
Smooth, powerful and frugal…
The engine is a state-of-the art example in diesel technology, and strikes a wonderful balance between smoothness, power and economy. It develops 110 kW/150 HP between 3000 and 4200 rpm, and has ample torque with not less than 350 Nm between 1500 and 3000 rpm.
Power is more than sufficient in any circumstances, and with the wealth of pulling power it is hardly necessary to rev the engine above say 2500 rpm. All this warrants a quite relaxing driving style, even when driving the car with spirit. The engine is thanks to the judicious use of balancing shafts exempt of any vibrations, can even be used with good comfort in very low rev ranges, say 1200 rpm even in fifth and sixth gear(s).
Performance is up to the mark, at a level which satisfied even the most sporting oriented drivers, with a 0 to 100 acceleration time in 9,8 seconds, and a top speed of a good 209 km/h.
What remains is the excellent frugality. The manufacturer quotes 5,3 litres/100 km in urban driving, dropping to 4 litres on the open road, with an average consumption of 4,5 litres.
Although we are fond lovers of the S Tronic and DSG automatics, this 6 speed manual was smooth, swift and a joy to use, with the gear rations ideally suited to the engine power characteristics.
The A6 in TDI ultra version can therefore be defined as the ultimate (daily) driving machine. Excellent for longer journeys, long city drives, with the frugality of a minicar and the power and luxury of a big sized thoroughbred.
What also is worth mentioning is the unique charm of the Audi styling language, which is elegantly translated in every detail, with overall the high degree of finish and workmanship, the premium quality of the materials used.
Of course we could enjoy in our test car the BOSE Surround Sound with not less than 14 speakers, the MMI navigation Plus with the MMI touchpad, which was intuitive and simple to use, and the excellent radio and entertainment system with a Cd/dvd-player (audio and video, which is also mp3-, WMA-, AAC- en mpeg4-compatible.
Of course, your smartphone can stream its music through the Bluetooth connection to the sytem…
You want an elegant spacious car with impeccable, timeless and elegant/classic styling, with a superb finish and build quality,
with the impressive performance and sporting handling of a premium thoroughbred German car with the uncanny frugality of a diesel-engined minicar, then this Audi A6 Avant TDI ultra warrants a long, careful look. It delivers indeed, a driving experience which is beyond (ultra) your expectations…
Hans Knol ten Bensel