Good reliable performance combined with impressive economy from the diesel units
Excellent construction of cabin
Handles well at speed
Ride can be a little stiff over bumps
Position of the clutch could irritate some drivers
Improved noise reduction at high speed would have been nice
The Audi range is full of pedigree, and the A6 is no exception. Tracing its routes back to the 80's icon of the Audi 100 it is a car built with high aspirations in mind. The current A6 designation took over from the Audi 100 back in 1994, but we didn't see the kind of engineering innovation to really warrant a name change. Does the most recent 7th generation of A6 undo this trend, have Audi finally given us a car that can topple the competitors?
Audi A6 C7 (2011 - Present):
From the outside, the 7th generation looks exactly like an Audi executive saloon is supposed to. It's low, it's sleek and there's an understated menace about it, it looks every inch the panther about to pounce. Some might argue this is nothing new for an Audi but if it's not broken, don't fix it.
Beneath the classic exterior lines, we have at last seen real progress too. Gone are the unrefined diesels of the last generation and in are the new and far quieter units. These three diesel options are a real compliment to the range, opening with the 2.0 litre TDi that is far from exciting but provides a steady stream of torque throughout the gears. Most will be opting for the two larger models though, the right and proper 3.0 litre TDi V6 and its tuned cousin, the 3.0 litre BiTDi V6. Both give the A6 the power its chassis deserves and aren't as much of a hit to the wallet as the petrol options. The normally aspirated powerplants sound more exciting but even the turbo-charged 3.0 v6 option is actually slightly slower to 60mph than the BiTDi, both are under 6 seconds though.
For the 7th generation Audi decided to lengthen the wheelbase, and this has resulted in an increased handling capability, particularly at speed. However, this improvement is hard to appreciate with the stiffer suspension which means everyday driving can be occasionally jarring when one meets poorly made roads. The cabin is comfortable and very well made, exhibiting the high levels of design one would expect from a German executive car. The driver has the raw end of the deal though, the new positioning of the clutch can take a lot of getting used to.
The A6 has lingered towards the average of the executive saloon class for a while but with this generation it has finally become a real rival. It lacks the sublime handling of the Mercedes E-Class or the precision engineered engines of the BMW 5-Series, but overall it is now firmly amongst the best of its class. Only the Jaguar XF offers a clearly superior everyday driving experience.