A COUPLE of things must be sorted out before you even start to understand what the Audi A6 estate is all about.
Firstly, it's not actually an estate...which is why it's called an Avant. That's because the sleek, slopey-backed five-door is more about style and elegance than it is do with huge carrying capacity.
In spite of this, it has to be said it will pack in nearly 600 litres of luggage before the rear seats are folded, so that's a pretty generous sized boot.
The other thing is the designation 50 TDI does not mean it has a hulking great five-litre engine under the bonnet. In fact, it is powered by a powerful version of Audi's familiar 3.0-litre six cylinder diesel, pumping out a not insignificant 282bhp.
Equipped with four-wheel-drive and wedded to an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, it ticks all the boxes required for a high speed family tourer capable of hauling all the necessary kiddie clutter and still put a smile of the driver's face.
This chameleon nature is perhaps the big Audi's greatest virtue. Only the most difficult and grumpy passengers could find reason to complain about their means of transport.
The cabin is more luxurious than most homes with super-soft Valcona leather seats in black with rock grey contrasting stitching, a huge touchscreen relays more information than you'd ever need and a wide glass panoramic roof slides and tilts if the sun happens to make an appearance.
To ensure a magic carpet ride, the model that I borrowed was fitted with adaptive air suspension which added £2,050 to £51,370 purchase price.
Although the engine is diesel driven and you tend to associate this fuel source with a degree of harshness or even an agricultural rattle or two, Audi's instalment is refined and subdued. Little more than a murmur or a purr is ever heard, even under full power.
From the driver's point of view, it's quick enough to safely dispose of slow moving vehicles in a swift overtaking manoeuvre provoked by a single dab of the accelerator. You may elect to tap the steering wheel paddles to change down a cog but this is an indulgence rather than a necessity - such is the ready torque always available.
Acceleration to 62mph is a swift 5.7 seconds, but it's the mid-range urge that really proves useful for everyday driving.
Cornering is flat and drama-free and the steering is light and undemanding if somewhat lacking in sensitivity. Maybe a higher ratio rack and a spot more road-feel would be appreciated by some. It has to be said that road irregularities and bumps are dealt with easily without upsetting the car's composure.
Permanent quattro four wheel drive ensures that slippery roads and winter driving are less of an issue.
Considering the abundant performance on tap, fuel consumption during my tenure was modest. Over a long cross country journey my average was 37mpg and this only worsened by three or four mpg in congested town driving.