Road Test: Audi A6 2.0 TDI ultra
Sector: Large Executive Price: £31,955–£35,485 Fuel: 67.3mpg CO2: 109g/km
After three years and more than 500,000 sales, Audi has decided the time has come to give the A6 a bit of makeover. And, like so many cars which are on the receiving end of a mid-term tweak, the focus of attention tends to linger longest on the bits which are the easiest and least expensive to modify.
So the A6’s grille has been completely redesigned, as have the bumpers and tailpipes, while xenon lights become part of standard SE package or LED headlamps on the S line trim.
There is a price hike though. On average the A6 will now cost an additional £1,441. But before you start thinking you could get a cheaper nose job from a backstreet Bulgarian plastic surgeon, ask yourself this; would you get a four-zone climate control, acoustic glazing, and an upgraded infotainment system too? No. But that’s exactly what this particular rhinoplasty is offering, together with an 8-inch colour dashboard-mounted retractable monitor which becomes the nerve centre for the usual things, such as the sat nav, Bluetooth and audio controls, plus it also serves as a display for Audi Connect, the bespoke 4G internet-based media streaming app.
To further justify the price increase there’s also a new set of engines – five diesels and three petrols. All are more efficient than the ones they replace and all are Euro 6 compliant. Out of the eight, it’s the revamped 2.0-litre TDI Ultra which will muster the most interest for the fleet market.
If Audi’s figures are to be believed, then this 187bhp turbo-diesel will return, on average, 67.3mpg while emitting just 109g/km of CO2 emissions, which is down from 114g/km. This sees it move up a VED banding, from C to band B, while BiK benefits are down a percentage point, from 18% to 17%.
However, these figures are only achievable on the SE trim with the S tronic transmission, which uses the smallest 17-inch alloy wheels and offers a fuel-saving freewheeling function. The latter is more a momentary decoupling of the gearbox from the engine whenever it detects an idle throttle. Not that this decoupling is noticeable, and the gear changes are far smoother than the old Multitronic CVT it replaces.
There has been a slight trade off for having these efficiencies. Despite boasting a 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 144mph, it never exudes any real sense of urgency. And that’s all fine and good when all you’re asking of it is to cruise in a straight line up a motorway. In fact, it’s a very serene place to be sat, even at 70mph and beyond.
Within the Audi Drive Select system there is the option to change the driving mode and deploy something a little sportier; which will quicken the gear change, remap the throttle and stiffen-up the steering, but this will then have a detrimental effect on fuel consumption and contradicts the reason for first choosing the Ultra over the standard 2.0-litre TDI.
Improved fuel efficiency and a higher level of standard equipment means the A6 2.0-litre Ultra lays down the gauntlet for its market rivals to better.