We spent most time in what's expected to be one of the most popular versions – the front-wheel-drive 2.0 TDI. Our car had the A6's standard steel spring suspension, which strikes a decent balance between comfort and control; there's a bit of thump over poor surfaces, but the ride isn't fidgety and the A6 feels reasonably nimble.
Is it a better compromise than a BMW 5 Series on standard suspension? Perhaps. We'll need to drive the two cars back-to-back on UK roads to say for sure.
We also drove a 3.0 TDI with standard four-wheel drive. This car had the optional (£2000) air suspension system, which allows you to select between Comfort, Dynamic and Auto modes. There's no real benefit over the standard suspension in terms of ride quality, so we're not convinced it's worth the extra money.
Opt for S line trim and you get a lowered, stiffer version of standard suspension that gives sharper handling but a firmer ride.
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All A6s have 'Drive Select', which allows you to tailor the way the steering and accelerator pedal respond. Again, the differences are marginal. Even in dynamic mode, the A6's steering remains light and undemanding, if not especially engaging.
There's more bite to it than the old car's, but anyone stepping out of a Jaguar XF will find it mute by comparison. Dynamic Steering, which alters the speed that the steering reacts to suit different needs, will be a £1200 option from this autumn.
As you'd expect, the 242bhp 3.0 TDI is significantly quicker than the 175bhp 2.0 TDI, although the smaller engine still does a decent job. The larger engine is much the quieter, however. The 2.0 engine gets rather boomy as the revs rise, but it's hushed on the motorway, and little wind- and road noise means the A6 is a relaxing long-distance cruiser.