Road Test: Audi A6 50 TFSI e
Audi’s executive saloon goes plug-in hybrid and the result could be the pick of the A6 range, Martyn Collins reckons.
SECTOR: Executive Saloon PRICE: £53,340-£77,600 FUEL: 148-188mpg CO2: 35-44g/km
Audi has been quick to respond to the move to electrification, with the full-electric e-tron and an arsenal of plug-in hybrid models, starting with the Q5 SUV and now including the A7 big coupé and A8 limo.
The latest model to be added to the plug-in hybrid range is probably one of the most relevant to the fleet market. The A6 plug-in hybrid arrives in saloon form first with the Avant estate coming later and both versions are expected to account for 30% of total A6 sales. They compete in a tough sector though, going up against established models such as the BMW 530e, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class E 300 e.
Audi’s A6 plug-in hybrid will initially launch in 50 TFSI e form. At the front, there is a 253hp version of the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder TFSI petrol engine. This is combined with a 14.1kW battery and 143hp electric motor, via seven-speed automatic transmission, totalling 299hp. A more powerful 55 TFSI e version will be available from April next year.
Top speed is 155mph, with accelera- tion to 62mph taking 6.2 seconds. Yet despite the considerable performance, this A6 saloon has combined WLTP consumption of 148-188mpg and emits
35-44g/km WLTP CO2 emissions depending on model, equating to 10% BiK (rising to 12% on the top Vorsprung model) and it can travel on full electric power for 34 miles, although we got around 25 miles on a charge. Charging via a domestic AC 7kW wallbox, using the Type 2 cable supplied, takes approximately two and a half hours from empty and approximately seven hours via an AC 2.3kW 3-pin socket.
With almost 300hp available from start-off, plus the added traction of quattro all-wheel drive, this A6 feels very quick off the mark and as speed builds, the petrol engine seamlessly cuts in. Audi Drive Select is standard and there are Comfort, Dynamic, Auto or Individual modes. Comfort is where this A6 felt most at home, with the softer suspen- sion settings and sensible 18-inch alloys of our Sport trim test car combining to give a comfortable, refined drive.
The A6 50 TFSI e weighs 305kg more than the standard saloon, and you can feel some of that weight in corners, as there’s slightly more body roll. The steering, like the rest of the A6 range, could do with more feel.
Exterior and interior changes over the standard A6 saloon are minimal, with just a slightly re-worked front airdam outside. Inside, this A6 gets specification upgrades in the form of a fully digital cabin, which includes the latest MMI
Touch operating system with its 10.1-inch touchscreen and Navigation Plus. In addition, it has the Modular Infotainment Platform and lower 8.6-inch screen.
The A6 50 TFSI e is available in all trim levels. The £53,340 Sport we had is expected to be the best-seller – it’s the entry-level model, but specification levels are high, and it has all the kit you will ever need. If you want more, next up is the S line, priced at £57,000, followed by the Black Edition at £58,800 and the range-topping Vorsprung at £77,600.
Like previous Audi plug-in hybrid models before it, this A6 is good to drive and has a fine drivetrain that’s sure to equal everyday savings.
Key Fleet Model: A6 50 TFSIe Sport
Strengths: Comfort, equipment, running costs
Weaknesses: Not that involving to drive, expensive
FW Rating: 4/5
Quick, roomy, comfortable, and stylish – just like the standard A6 saloon. The plug-in hybrid drivetrain adds welcome running cost savings and usable extra performance, although it’s more expensive than rivals.