Audi A6 2.0 TDI

Ultra S line S

tronic

Audi A6, front static 2
Audi A6, front static 3
Audi A6, front static
Audi A6, side static
Audi A6, dashboard
Audi A6, rear static
Audi A6, boot

YOU could almost sense the Audi smiling in a knowing way as it glimpsed the load being gently lowered into its capacious boot.

It was a modest selection of Apple computer gear and its sleek, almost obsessively honed lines could not have looked more at home inside a car that shares much the same design philosophy.

Why, they even matched colours in their silvery-ness. Oh, and price tags that make rivals weep with envy as customers line up to sign on the bottom line.

The Mac bits successfully delivered, there was time to reflect on a car that leaves a driver as rested and relaxed at the end of a journey as the start and which will touch 50mpg in everyday use, despite lounging room for rear seat occupants and an automatic gearbox.

Part of this excellent economy potential is down to changes in the latest A6 range which saw a new automatic gearbox that lets the car coast along in neutral if you lift off the throttle. You scarcely notice, and the gears engage again the instant you need them.

Stop at a red light and the engine shuts down until you press the accelerator, in the manner of many modern cars. But the A6 will switch itself back on (to power up the air con in a long traffic jam, for instance) and then switch off once more. That's not common, and another way to save a drop of diesel.

All very clever, and part of the reason this latest A6 earns its Ultra name tag and the thanks of the many people who use the car for business, where there's no road tax to pay in year one (and a paltry £20 annually after that) and a modest drop in their BIK payments if they opt for the SE version over the S line tested here, with its bigger wheels that take more power to turn.

But back to the Mac movements; the A6 is a saloon, which means it looks posher than a hatch (so they say) but lacks the ability to simply chuck everything in the boot and forget about it.

There is still, though, an awful lot of load space once the rear seat is flopped forward. The seat of the (very non-Mac) office chair had to be parted from its base for the journey, but then fitted in easily. You'd need a very luggage-hungry family to overburden this car.

S line equipment includes big alloy wheels, LED lighting and an army of discreetly applied S line logos so you don't forget. Heated seats are £300 extra, when they ought to be standard at this price.

Over the sort of road this car was developed on (German, quietly surfaced and smooth) the A6 makes almost no noise and rides nicely, despite the lowered and stiffened suspension that comes with the S line package. British surfaces are more noticeable, but never threaten to upset the car's regal progress.

There's enough power under the bonnet to ensure that even with a full boot and four adults on board there is no sense of struggle as an A-road hill is tackled, the gearbox changing down swiftly as it senses some work needs to be done.

FAST FACTS

Audi A6 2.0 TDI Ultra S line S tronic

Price: £35,935

Mechanical: 187bhp, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 144mph

0-62mph: 8.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 27

Insurance Group: 67.3

C02 emissions: 110g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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