Used Audi A6 Avant 1997 - 2005 review

Category: Estate car

It's an immensely capable, reliable business or family car with a great load area

Audi A6 Avant (97 - 05)
  • Audi A6 Avant (97 - 05)
  • Audi A6 Avant (97 - 05)
Used Audi A6 Avant 1997 - 2005 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Audi A6 estate like?

Whether covering long distances in hushed, relaxed calm or transporting flat-pack furniture, the Audi A6 Avant will get the job done in style.

The luggage area is easily accessed and roomy – bigger than a BMW 5 Series Touring's, if not quite as capacious as a Mercedes E-Class's.


It's an immensely capable, reliable business or family car with a great load area

  • Desirable image
  • Strong build quality
  • The ride is unsettled
  • Stodgy handling

The rear bench swallows three in comfort and there's masses of space up front. All sit in a smartly designed, solidly constructed cabin, where the controls are laid out neatly and logically. No rival has a cabin as good as this.

The engines are all smooth and respond strongly without needing to be revved too hard. Combine that with the almost total lack of wind and road noise, and you're left with a refined cruiser.

The ride quality may get under your skin after a while, though – the A6 feels unsettled and fidgety. The handling is stodgy, too, although four-wheel-drive quattro versions are slightly better.

Ownership cost

What used Audi A6 estate will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Audi A6 estate?

Don't worry about unexpected repair bills if you get a good A6 Avant and look after it. They're pretty reliable.

You'll notice the cost of servicing, mind, although it will be cheaper than an E-Class Estate, if not quite as cheap as a 5 Series Touring. Insurance won't leave you skint, either.

An Audi A6 Avant is dear to buy, but it will pay you back when you resell it. A tidy example will always find someone willing to pay decent money for it. That said, the 4.2 V8 petrol models lose their value quickest.

Diesels shrink the cost of long journeys. The 1.9 TDIs will return high 40s to the gallon, and the two 2.5 TDIs close to 40mpg. The four-cylinder petrols are good for around 30mpg, the V6 petrols mid-20s and the V8s 20mpg or less.

Our recommendations

Which used Audi A6 estate should I buy?

We'd buy either of the 2.5 V6 turbodiesels - so much pull always on tap, yet miserly with fuel. They came with an optional automatic gearbox, and it's worth finding one, because it works so well with the 2.5's broad-shouldered pull.

The many petrol V6s are also refined and strong but can't match our favourite diesels for fuel efficiency. The 2.0 and 1.8T turbo four-cylinder petrol engines are okay, but not strong enough for towing.

The 1.9 TDI (with 110, 115 or 130bhp) is the most frugal but lacks the sheer muscle of the 2.5 TDI. V8 petrol versions, including the red-hot S6 and white-hot RS6, are effortlessly fast but drink fuel at a frightening rate.

All models have climate control, alloy wheels, electric windows, four airbags, traction control and anti-lock brakes. That's enough for us, but there are plusher SE, quattro and Sport models if you want to spend more.

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