Just £175 short of seventy grand is a lot of money for a car but judged from a busy week spent at the wheel of the sleek and fully loaded new A6 Avant Quattro Allroad I’d deem it worth every penny – albeit that this monumental sum is never likely to show as a debit on my own bank statement.
In its most basic spec this third generation Allroad carries a £43,150 price tag but who would want to forego such desirable options as electric front seats with driver’s seat memory; all-LED headlights; super-smart 20-inch alloys; a comprehensive driver’s information system, with 7-inch colour monitor; manual sun-blinds; fully opening glass sunroof and superb four-zone air-conditioning?
A raft of structural, mechanical and technological design changes add to the all-new model’s rugged good looks.
The reassurance of all-wheel-drive combines with four-level height-adjustable air suspension and four engine options to give the Allroad the go-anywhere appeal of any SUV without any handling penalties over Tarmac.
This creates the best possible operating conditions for the four powerful and cultivated V6 engines that make up the range, all of which combine forced induction with direct injection, and all of which are backed up by a start-stop system and innovative thermal management, helping to improve fuel economy by as much as 20 per cent compared with the previous model.
The petrol-powered option is the 3.0-litre TFSI, which is boosted by a mechanically driven supercharger and produces 310PS and 440Nm of torque. It powers the car from rest to 62mph in 5.9 seconds on the way to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph, and yet can still achieve a wallet-friendly 31.7mpg according to the combined cycle test.
The TDI range of sophisticated diesels comprises three 3.0-litre V6 units, the first two of which deliver 204PS with peak torque of 450Nm and 245PS with 580Nm with the help of a single turbocharger. The 204PS version is the efficiency champion, achieving a combined economy figure of 46.3mpg with CO2 output of 159g CO2/km, despite strong 7.5-second zero to 62mph acceleration. Its 245PS counterpart runs it impressively close, with 44.8mpg potential and 165g/km CO2 output combined, along with 6.6-second acceleration.
The three single turbocharger engines are paired with Audi’s slick seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission with its wide ratio spreads and rapid fire shifts. The BiTDI uses the latest eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission.
The plentiful power these refined and sophisticated units supply is expertly handled by the latest generation quattro all-wheel-drive system with 40:60 front-to-rear torque split. The body rises or lowers on its four-level air springs according to prevailing driving conditions and speeds, ensuring that the A6 Avant Quattro Allroad feels equally at home in the tightest of corners or on the roughest of tracks.
New electromechanical power steering combines accurate feedback with minimal energy consumption, as it draws no power when in the straight-ahead position, and an optional dynamic steering system is also available to adjust the steering ratio to the speed driven. This can be combined with an optional sport differential that can rapidly vary torque distribution between the rear wheels for optimum adjustability.
The car’s rough-and-tumble capability is reflected in exterior features such as extended side sills, flared wings and protective front and rear stainless steel under-body guards.
There’s plenty of space inside, thanks to the long wheelbase of 2,905 millimetres, combining a clean and elegant design, outstanding ergonomics and exemplary workmanship with a suitably ample quota of equipment – including Milano leather upholstery; advanced satellite navigation; a multi media Interface (MMI) linked to a 6.5-inch retractable colour display and the Audi parking system, plus cruise control; Bluetooth mobile phone preparation; light and rain sensors and the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system.
Roger St. Pierre