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SIX EDUCATION (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
This is the most advanced Audi A6 Ingolstadt has ever brought us. Even in entry-level 40 TDI guise. Jonathan Crouch drives it.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 87
Smarter, lighter, faster and greener, Audi's 'C8'-series A6 offers a beautifully conceived and expertly executed alternative for buyers in the full-sized Executive sector currently considering saloon or estate versions of cars like BMW's 5 Series, Mercedes' E-Class or Jaguar's XF. The use of front wheel drive at the foot of the range on a variant like the four cylinder '40 TDI' diesel model we're testing here still differentiates this contender from rivals like these, but Ingolstadt now claims a new level of dynamic parity in other regards.
Backgroundword count: 168
While Audi's A6 has long been the world's best selling full-sized Executive car, it's rarely been Britain's overall favourite. Over the years, Audi has offered eight different models in this segment and with this 'C8'-series design, the fifth of them to be badged 'A6', there are fewer reasons than ever not to consider one. Whether you choose this saloon or the alternative Avant estate body style, this sleeker more sophisticated model is quieter, lighter, smarter and more technologically advanced than its predecessor. It offers, in Audi's words, 'a first class journey with a business class ticket' - or to put it another way, what the Ingolstadt brand has done here is to democratise much of the technology of its larger luxury segment A8 and offer it up more affordably to Executive sector buyers. That's in an attempt to prize sales away from class favourites like BMW's 5 Series, the Mercedes E-Class and Jaguar's XF. Here, we're going to test the car in entry-level '40 TDI' 2.0-litre diesel form.
Driving Experienceword count: 252
Previous A6 models have never particularly prioritised a dynamic driving experience but this one offers a decent step forward in that respect, despite the fact that entry-level four cylinder models like this 40 TDI continue to buck the class trend by pushing power through the front wheels. Dynamically, that's a limiting factor, but with this 'C8'-series model, Audi's engineers have worked around it by building in a stiffer MLB-Evo chassis, a more sharply-responding variable 'Progressive' steering rack and a very effective optional adaptive damping system. Arguably the most important changes made here though, have taken place beneath the bonnet. The '40 TDI' 2.0-litre diesel unit we tested features Audi's latest MHEV mild hybrid technology and certainly seems quieter than the equivalent engine in the previous generation model and it's 204PS output represents a 14PS increase too, which arrives along with 400Nm of torque. For buyers, there's a choice of front wheel drive or quattro 4WD and either way, the drivetrain comes mated to the brand's 7-speed dual-clutch 'S tronic' auto gearbox. This transmission hasn't been particularly configured for traffic light Grand Prix-style starts, which is why 62mph from rest in a front-driven saloon A6 model like this one takes 8.1s, which is over half a second slower than rivals like BMW's 520d or the Mercedes E220d would manage. Once you're up to speed though, the engine really gets into its stride, actually out-performing those two competitors in the more important 30-70mph overtaking increment. There's an irrelevantly higher top speed too - 152mph.
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Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates
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