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New car review

Audi A6 saloon test drive

The new Audi A6 features some innovative new technologies, but does this affect the way it drives?

What is it?

Audi has been on something of a crusade in refreshing its top-end luxury machines as of late. Last year saw a new A8 and A7 grace the market — but it hasn’t stopped there.

Introducing the new Audi A6 — the latest fresh face to join the German firm’s line-up. Much like its larger siblings, it’s more an evolution of the luxury saloon concept than a revolution but there’s a lot to shout about.

With the recent release of an updated BMW 5 Series and a now two-year-old Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi could be playing something of a game of catch up here. Is the A6 up to that task?

What’s new about the new Audi A6?

As to be expected with the launch of an A6, there’s a lot of new stuff going on here.

Most noticeably are its looks. It takes on the bolder design language introduced on the A8 — bringing a sleeker appearance along with a much wider grille and fresh headlights.

Under the bonnet, the A6 is the first-in-class to offer mild-hybrid technology across all of its engine choices as standard while new suspension options have been introduced in an effort to create a more agile car.

As for technology, the A6 now features self-learning navigation which aims to create an optimal route based on your driving history along while centre console-based physical controls for functions such as air conditioning and audio controls have been replaced with touchscreen utilising haptic feedback.

How does it look?

Audi’s designers are experts, if not the pioneers, in Russian doll car design — with each model taking after the last. The A6 is no exception to the rule, with the German firm’s updated design language as first introduced on the A8 making a strong impact on the A6’s own looks.

That means a hugely wide grille upfront with bold headlights sitting at either side, while a sleeker overall look is seldom interrupted by creases in the bodywork.

It’s a handsome thing to look at and has the presence of a car far bigger than it actually is in the flesh. You’re likely to turn heads in a big Audi anyway, but the striking design could do that without the four rings up front.

What’s the spec like?

Full UK pricing has yet to be confirmed for the Audi A6 so value for money is difficult to judge at the moment, but what we can say is that it’s going to be a seriously well-equipped package — if likely to be expensive once the options list is explored.

Standard luxuries on the saloon include full LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, all-wheel drive, mild-hybrid technology and Audi’s MMI infotainment system displayed on a ten-inch touchscreen. As for safety assistance, there’s also pre-collision warning, parking sensors with a rear-view camera and cruise control.

Our S Line test machine also came with upgraded ‘Audi Matrix’ LED headlights and daytime running lights, lower suspension and an S Line styling package — while heated/ventilated seating was also included. Again, UK pricing isn’t official, but we expect it to reach £60k+ in this specification.

Continued on next page: Interior, drive and our verdict

Ryan Hirons
Articles by Ryan Hirons are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.

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