Audi A6 Avant long-term test: report 1

Our sub-editor is looking for a comfortable petrol car for his mega-miles commute, so will the latest Audi A6 fit the bill?...

 Audi A6 Avant 2024 long-term Haining and A6 Avant

The car Audi A6 Avant Sport 45 TFSI quattro Run by Chris Haining, sub-editor

Why it’s here To find out whether an executive estate car can still cut it in a world that prefers SUVs, and to see if there's still a place for petrol power in these days of electrification

Needs to Soothe on a long motorway commute without costing the earth on fuel; be endlessly versatile without being annoyingly cumbersome

Mileage 456 List price £52,280 Target Price £48,252 Price as tested £55,960 Official fuel economy 36.2 miles Test fuel economy 36.0 miles Options Technology Pack (£2995), Firmament Blue metallic paint (£685)

29 May 2024 – Keeping it in the family

You could say that I've been inching towards running an Audi A6 Avant for about 16 years, and now it's finally happened. Sixteen years ago, I snapped up a ten-year-old Audi A4 saloon as a stop-gap car to tide me over, and I never expected that I'd still own it today.

Audi A6 Avant 2024 long-term Haining's Audis

I've hung onto it so long because it's been unerringly reliable, it's still a pleasure to drive and, frankly, I really like how it looks – I always give it a grateful, admiring glance after locking it up at journey's end. It always has me wondering, though, what a brand new Audi might be like to live with.

Happily, the company car gods have smiled on me, giving me the chance to find out with the latest Audi A6. Ruefully, I'd say I've grown more sensible over the years since I bought the A4, and since I now have all the mundane responsibilities that come with being a homeowner, I've gone for the bigger A6, in estate (Avant in Audi-speak) form rather than as a saloon.

This should have me covered for all the tip runs and Ikea shopping sprees that domestic life throws my way, as well as perhaps indulging me with a spot of bike and kayak lugging – supporting the kind of fashionable pursuits that family SUVs are supposed to be all about.

Audi A6 Avant 2024 long-term face-to-face

Like my A4, the A6 is in Sport trim level. However, whereas Sport was an upscale trim back in 1998, these days it's the bottom rung, below S line, Black Edition and Vorsprung. Okay, Sport isn't as eye-catching as those racier trim levels, but I very much like my car's restrained, low-key looks (even more so, thanks to its Firmament Blue metallic paint – a £685 option). And while its 18in alloy wheels aren't as stylishly wheelarch-filling as the bigger ones of the flashier trims, I reckon they're still pretty handsome. Plus, with deeper tyre sidewalls, and eschewing the sports suspension set-up of S line models and above, the Sport's ride ought to be comfier, too.

It's not as if going for a higher trim level brings a performance advantage, either. Decoding the 45 TFSI badge on my car's tailgate will tell you that it has a 2.0-litre petrol engine that churns out 261bhp, which seems a stupendous amount of power given that my A4's 1.8-litre engine can only muster 148bhp. Both engines are turbocharged; the A6's must be very turbocharged indeed.

Audi says that the 45 TFSI is good for 0-62mph in a very brisk 6.2 seconds, helped – I suspect – by its quattro four-wheel drive system. As is the norm these days, mild hybrid tech is employed to take the edge off fuel consumption, with 36.2mpg officially possible – if as-yet unacheived in my driving.

Audi A6 Avant 2024 long-term review: driving position

Sport trim isn't lacking when it comes to standard equipment, either. You get leather upholstery; heated, electrically adjustable front seats (with a three-position memory for the driver); a 10.1in infotainment screen atop another, 8.6in screen for – among things – the dual-zone climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rear-view camera and matrix LED headlights for maximum road illumination without dazzling other motorists. 

I have, though, added the Technology Pack from the options list for a chunky £2995. This gives me a head-up display that projects vital information, such as speed and sat-nav directions, so that it appears to hover ahead of the car (I found this invaluable on long journeys in my previous Lexus RZ, reducing eye strain by eliminating the need to keep switching focus from road to dashboard), a Bang and Olufsen sound system, a 360-degree camera system and parking assistance, as well as a very swish multicoloured extended interior lighting set-up. 

Audi A6 Avant 2024 long-term steering wheel

It's no exaggeration to say that I felt immediately at home when I first sat behind the wheel of the A6. Some cars call for a long period of fiddling before you find a driving position that works; the A6 just felt right from the outset. I broke into a huge grin, too when I noticed that the steering wheel has the exact same bulges at the eight and four o'clock points as the one in my A4, adding to the familiar feel.

I've already made friends with the A6, then; let's see whether this relationship can survive the test of time.

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