There’s an all-important headline figure for the new Audi A6 2.0TDIe, and it’s not 53.3mpg – however impressive that may be. No, of greater importance is its carbon emission figure of 139g/km, sneaking this A6 beneath the 140g/km tax barrier. Its £24,800 list price is pretty impressive, too: this is a big Audi after all, and it comes with most luxury conveniences despite its ‘e’ suffix. This is no stripped-out economy car.
So how does this Audi A6 earn its name, then?
Like Ford’s Econetic models and with some similar tech to BMW’s Efficient Dynamics, this car is ‘optimised’. Think longer gear ratios (by five percent), low rolling resistance tyres, an on-demand power steering pump, a decoupling alternator and a 20mm lower ride height that contributes to aerodynamics so sleek, its 0.28Cd drag factor (remember those?) matches the headline-grabbing Renault 25 of 1984. No kidding.
Any clever lightweight stuff then?
No, it’s a full-fat A6, but 1550kg isn’t outrageous for a car that’s physically the largest in this class. And inside you get pretty much the same equipment level as the luxo-spec SE, bar leather trim and an auto-dipping mirror. Plain cloth trim means the atmosphere is sombre rather than plush, but every surface is pleasing to eye and fingertip.
Out front (right out front – this is an Audi) is the latest common-rail diesel engine, in place of the hammery old PD unit. In ‘e’ spec it produces 134bhp, and there’s a less eco-focused 168bhp version for £25,810 if you value turbodiesel oomph more than tax- and tree-friendly emissions and economy.
Click 'Next' below to read more of our Audi A6 2.0 TDIe first drive
Oh, so is the ‘e’ slow then?
Not exactly, though it won’t cause flames to erupt from the tarmac. You can feel the length of those new ratios because they blunt the shove you know is really there and, if you take heed of the dashboard’s change-up indicator, you’ll never broach 2000rpm and you’ll rarely hear more than a murmur from under the bonnet.
But who’d buy this car for its performance? In true turbodiesel style, it’s best appreciated at a languid cruise, during which you can appreciate the fine finish of your surroundings.
Dare I ask if it handles?
Turn the wheel and the A6 TDIe will go round corners. That’s all you need to know because, if you’re going to get hung up on dynamics, you’re reading the wrong road test. There’s nothing innately entertaining about the way the A6 drives but there’s not much wrong with it either, bar a ride that’s a bit firm thanks to the lowered suspension – it’s genuinely less pliant than the set-up in, say, a 2.7TDI SE. But not by much.
It makes quite a lot of sense, this eco-A6. It’s reasonable value for money, won’t break the bank to run, and it’s decently comfortable and refined. Just forget about having fun while you’re driving it: the TDIe is not that type of car. But it’s very good at being efficient, and that makes it perfect for business drivers with an eye on the bottom line.
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