First test 2019 Audi A6 Sport 40 TDI Quattro C8 4H. The A6 has always been a firm favourite within the Audi range, but with the latest instalments of BMW’s 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class vying for class leadership, the ageing A6 was commendable, but dated. Meet the all-new Audi A6, a technological showpiece that will have its German brethren worried.
This freshly minted A6 sports a design befitting of a modern luxury saloon with that distinctive Audi grille and sharp creases detailing the body. It strikes a fine balance between appearing athletic and sophisticated. From a distance it clearly shares its proportions with the latest flagship A8, but there’s enough character here to distinguish it even from its sportier A7 stablemate. It’s not just the poshest of trims that look smart either, as all cars come with LED lights and 18-inch alloy wheels. Plump for an S line model and they grow into a sharp set of 19-inch shoes.
Every new A6 features a mild hybrid drivetrain that allows the car to shut down the engine and coast when conditions permit. The larger 3.0-litre V6 50 TDI C8 models get a 48-volt system while the 2.0-litre diesel 40 TDI C8 4H version gets a 12-volt setup. Expected to be the most popular diesel engine, the 2.0-litre is actually an all-new aluminium alloy engine that sees its first Volkswagen Group deployment in the A6. It produces 201bhp and 259lb ft of torque for pleasing performance that, might not be quite as effortless at the bigger 3.0-litre TDI, but will more than suffice for day-to-day running about.
Under hard acceleration the 40 TDI makes itself known, but once up to speed it is impressively refined. In fact, you can scarcely hear it at a motorway cruise. Gear changes are taken care of via a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox that subtly, but swiftly, does its duty. Audi’s signature quattro all-wheel drive system provides plenty of reassuring traction and stability — something those who regularly encounter adverse driving conditions will value. This new A6 is considerably better to drive than its predecessor thanks to new found agility, partially afforded to it by this lighter engine and more precise steering. Its suspension is also well judged, providing a good balance between cornering composure and suppleness.
Peruse the options list and things like adaptive dampers, active body control and air suspension can further cosset occupants. You can even have rear-wheel steering that reduces the A6’s turning circle by a metre.
The design revolution isn’t limited to the exterior, with the interior featuring a blend of high quality materials and modern design. A sculpted dashboard creates a visually appealing landscape that is a far cry from the old A6’s functional but dull facia. Dominating the centre console are a pair of touchscreen displays that make up Audi’s latest infotainment system. Both form and function benefit, with the upper 8.8- inch screen displaying menus and core information, while the lower 8.6-inch unit provides sub menus and settings to rid the cabin of endless buttons. Haptic feedback allows the screen to vibrate when a virtual button is pressed, and it is possible to grow the main screen to 10.1-inches if you tick the correct option boxes. Combined with rich graphics and plenty of features, it surpasses the Mercedes-Benz equivalent and comes very close to BMW’s highly rated iDrive system.
There is plenty of space in the A6, with rear passengers receiving sufficient room to stretch-out on long journeys. However, the car’s all-wheel drive layout means that the middle occupant has to straddle a sizeable transmission hump.
Boot space is a BMW 5 Series G30/G31 equalling 530-litres, but isn’t quite enough to dethrone the Jaguar XF and Mercedes- Benz E-Class W213 at 540 litres apiece. The new Audi A6 is a very complete offering that delivers on design, quality, technology and comfort. It might not be as engaging to drive spiritedly as a BMW 5 Series, but it could just be the best all-rounder. We’ll know for sure once we’ve driven it on UK roads later this year.
“The design revolution isn’t limited to the exterior...”
On sale Late Summer 2018
In showrooms Autumn 2018
Prices £ to be advised
Bodystyles 4-door saloon
Engines 2.0 (201bhp), 3.0 (282bhp)
Trim levels Sport, S line
Also consider BMW 5 Series G30, Mercedes-Benz E-Class W213
Model tested Sport 40 TDI quattro
Price £38,000 approximately
Built in Neckarsulm, Germany
Body-style 4-door saloon, 5-seats
Powerplant 1,968cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbo diesel with 12-volt mild hybrid lithium battery
Transmission 7-speed twin-clutch automatic
Stop-start Yes SCR Yes
Max power 201bhp @ 3,750-4,200rpm
Max torque 259lb ft @ 1,750-2,500rpm
Top speed 140 mph
0-62mph 9 secs
CO2 emissions tba g/km (Euro-6d-Temp)
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) tba/tba/tba mpg
Fuel tank size 63 litres Range tba miles
Insurance group tba BIK rate tba %
Size (length/width without mirrors) 4,939/2,110mm
Boot space 530 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,825/tba kg
Euro NCAP crash rating Not yet tested
Verdict Handsome new A6 competes for class leadership. Not the most thrilling to drive, but the one you might want to grab the keys to every day.