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Audi A6 saloon test drive

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

What’s the new Audi A6 like inside?

As you should expect on an Audi A6, it’s an incredibly plush place to be sat in.

Premium materials feature right through the cabin without a scratchy plastic surface in sight, and it all feels good to the touch. We also suspect it’ll be pretty durable long-term.

Audi A6 saloon test drive review interior
The Audi A6 cabin is very well put together (PA)

It’s not all good news inside though. Although the leather seats up front feel comfortable to be in, they offer little in the way of support meaning you’re likely to slide about under harder cornering if you’re of a smaller stature.

Physical controls in the centre console for functions such as air-conditioning and seat heating/ventilation have been replaced an 8.6-inch touchscreen that utilises haptic feedback. While this works well and responsively at a standstill, it can be difficult to use when travelling at speed.

What’s under the bonnet?

At its launch, the A6 will be available with a choice of three engines — one petrol and three diesels, all of which utilise mild-hybrid technology.

Our test car was fitted with the sole petrol option on offer. It’s a 3.0-litre V6 engine producing 340hp and 500Nm of torque, here paired up with a seven-speed automatic gearbox that sends power through all four wheels.

It’s capable of taking the A6 from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds and can power the car on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. Official figures for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have yet to be confirmed, however.

It’s an extremely potent unit, delivering impressive and usable performance for a car weighing in at 1,825kg. Don’t expect supercar-levelling speed, but it’s more than enough for most needs while the gearbox pairs perfectly for a smooth experience under heavy acceleration or at a gentle cruise.

What’s the new Audi A6 like to drive?

Audi has brought a lot of new technology in for the A6 in an effort to create a better driving experience in all applications, but the results vary.

It is at its most comfortable when cruising for long distances. Its plentiful power combines well with the introduction of air suspension to create a relaxing ride when eating up the miles — aided by little in the way of wind noise.

Audi A6 saloon road test | The Car Expert
Optional air suspension helps give the A6 supreme ride quality (PA)

As for more spirited driving, the A6 is capable of doing it with ease — just don’t expect it to put a smile on your face. It handles well and doesn’t kick up a fuss when pushed hard, but the overall experience feels pretty uninvolving.

It will undertake town driving with little fuss for a car of this size thanks to the addition of four-wheel steering which results in a more agile machine at lower speeds.

Verdict

The Audi A6 has all the hallmarks of a new class leader in the executive saloon segment. It offers a solid and potent range of engines, bags of technology and a comfortable experience wrapped in a handsome body.

We’d like to have a more engaging experience in harder driving, along with some more physical buttons inside the car — but these are minor annoyances in an otherwise exceptional car.

It’s hard to judge just how successful the A6 will be without having exact pricing, but if it’s marketed right it could well leave competitors in its trail.

Similar cars

BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Maserati Ghibli, Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Key specifications

Model as tested: Audi A6 S Line saloon
Price (on-road): £60,000 (est)
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 with mild hybrid system
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic
Power: 340 hp
Torque: 500 Nm
Top speed: 155 mph
0-60mph: 4.9 seconds
Fuel economy (combined): TBA
CO2 emissions: TBA

Ryan Hirons
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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