What's the used Audi A6 estate like?
Vast estates in less obvious parts of the country tend to be far more affordable than an equivalent in the south. The same is true of the Audi A6 Avant. It's not as obvious a choice as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, yet it's just as luxuriously appointed inside and can be excellent value as a used buy, considering the huge choice of engines and gadgets it has compared with rivals.
Most A6s can be found with a diesel engine, because this generation harks from a time when buyers were encouraged to choose diesel power for its lower CO2 emissions. The majority will have a 2.0-litre engine in either 175bhp or revised 187bhp Ultra form from 2014 onwards. There are also multiple 3.0-litre six-cylinder engines, in 201bhp and 242bhp guises (later uprated to 215bhp and 268bhp), as well as in 309bhp and 316bhp twin-turbo BiTDI forms.
Used examples that are powered by petrol are a bit thin on the ground; a short-lived 296bhp 3.0-litre V6 was available to begin with, but the range became diesel-only in 2012, until petrol returned to the price list in either 187bhp 1.8 or 248bhp 2.0-litre forms in 2018. On the not so sensible front, you could get three 4.0-litre V8-powered models in 444bhp S6, 552bhp RS6 and 597bhp RS6 Performance forms.
Entry-level SE models come with leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, 17in alloy wheels and automatic lights and wipers all as standard. From 2014 onwards, the headlights were upgraded to brighter xenon alternatives.
S line adds larger (18in) wheels, sportier looks inside and out, sports suspension and upgraded leather. From 2012, a premium Bose sound system and a DAB radio became standard fitment, while further enhancements in 2014 brought four-zone climate control, LED front and rear lights with dynamic indicators. Black Edition models replace all exterior brightwork with black trim.
On the road, the Avant performs with all the suavity of the saloon. The 2.0 TDI is smooth and refined at all speeds and offers plenty of punch. The more powerful versions feel even more muscular and are equally refined. The seven-speed automatic gearbox shifts smoothly, too, with just the occasional jerkiness betraying it on downshifts.
The ride on the standard SE (later SE Executive) cars is called Dynamic, and it’s smooth and comfortable, but seeking out an S line car means 18in alloy wheels and a Sports suspension setup that doesn’t do the ride quality any favours. However, some S line cars will have been specified from new with the softer Dynamic suspension, and these models are worth seeking out. Moving up to the Black Editions brings 20in wheels and an even firmer ride.
The good news is that even the entry-level front-wheel-drive cars with the 2.0 TDI engine feel grippy and secure. The steering of most versions is not the sportiest or most communicative, but it’s light and fairly direct. As far as handling goes, the A6 Avant is safe and predictable in most guises, even if it’s not as much fun to drive as one or two of its rivals.
The strong point for the A6 Avant is refinement, however. Wind and road noise are well muted, even at speed, and all the engines are quiet.
The interior is one of rare class and quality. The driving position is pretty much spot on, although the pedal layout is offset in the rare manual cars. The dashboard and surrounding areas are all of the highest quality, with everything laid out logically and feeling good to the touch. Visibility is good, and front and rear parking sensors are standard on all versions.
Every A6 Avant comes with Audi’s impressive MMI infotainment system, which is similar to the class-leading iDrive setup in the BMW 5 Series in that it consists of a central screen controlled by a dial between the front seats. The standard screen size is 6.5in, but you could pay extra to upgrade to an 8.0in display and an MMI rotary controller that can be ‘drawn’ on with your finger to enter letters and numbers.
There’s plenty of space up front and a good amount in the rear, so passengers should find it easy to get comfortable, even with three abreast on the rear seats. The boot is usefully shaped, a good size and easily accessible through the large tailgate.
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