Road test: Audi A6 biturbo blasts away diesel stereotype
THE figures haven't been fudged. Monstrous power and astronomic torque figures from this latest Audi A6 diesel are enough to make the hairy-chested Aussie V8s blush with envy.
Yet this is a fine example of how far the modern oil-burner has come.
With the sprinting prowess of a sports car under the guise of a luxury saloon, this is another intriguing offering from the marque that has made an art form of niches within niches.
More than half of all A6s sold have an oil-burner under the bonnet so Audi is confident there is a market for this derivative.
For the fastest-accelerating diesel available on the Australian market you will pay under $120,000 - which makes this saloon second on the A6 pricing ladder behind its "S" brethren with V8 power.
While we've gone gaga over SUVs and small cars in recent years, step back inside a large sedan and you can remember why the Falcon and Commodore served Aussies so well for so long.
Although the Audi A6 does take things up a few notches in the luxury stakes on the old favourites.
Space for five adults with excellent leg and head room are the highlights, as well as brilliant cabin refinement.
All Audis are similar with the interior make-up, with almost identical set-ups of stalks and buttons, but our test car featured the $15,620 "S line sport package" which added some athletic sizzle.
Brushed aluminium features throughout the cabin add a level of athleticism, especially the beautiful curvature of the door inlays.
The S line's leather-trimmed sports seats offer great support with an ability to electronically adjust the bolstering in a range of directions.
On the road
From inside, even the most prudent passenger would struggle to pick there's a V6 diesel sending power to all four wheels.
With the windows down you can hear the diesel clatter, but once up and running it performs and sounds like a traditional petrol donk.
In "dynamic" driving mode the 3.0-litre biturbo engine has a lovely growl, which is V8-like in its exhaust tune and acceleration prowess.
Jump on the accelerator and you don't quite have an instant response like a petrol V8, but the mid-range punch is brilliant. It kicks you back in your seat once the turbos have wound up to answer any question asked of your right foot.
The V6 is partnered to an intuitive eight-speed automatic transmission, which does a marvellous job of selecting the right cog (the lower gears are closely stacked for better acceleration, the higher gears are taller for cruising on the highway). Our only criticism was there were some drivelines shunts on down changes at low speed in economy mode.
When you hit the open road the A6 is hardly working at 100kmh, purring along below 1500rpm.
What do you get?
Standard kit is what you would expect, 18-inch alloys, Drive select which includes various driving modes like comfort, dynamic and economy, Bose surround sound, keyless entry with push button start, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, sunroof, sat nav and Xenon headlights.
There is a long list of options, but tick a few boxes and the bottom line will quickly climb.
This is a unique car, and no other diesel matches its performance. To deliver similar powerplant statistics, there is always the V8 powered Mercedes-Benz E500 ($183,185) or the BMW 550i ($180,000). Jaguar has a diesel in the XF 3.0D S Portfolio ($132,500).
V8 performance but at the cost of a small hatchback. The Audi saloon has fuel consumption of less than seven litres for every 100km.
Those who regularly try to test the acceleration abilities will see that figure climb, but hit cruise on the highway and you could get about 1000km without stopping.
Insurance premiums are not so cheap; neither is servicing.
With ample space for five adults and a long boot, this is a family-friendly sedan. Leg room is compromised for anyone sitting in the back centre pew by the transmission tunnel.
The back seats also have a 60-40 split fold.
Slipping under the radar is simple in the A6 (and you might need to do exactly that given its performance characteristics). It's regal without fanfare - there's nothing too flashy, even with the S line sports package.
What matters most
The good stuff: Interior space, massive boot, brilliant power and great exhaust soundtrack, fuel economy.
What we'd like to see: Fixed price servicing, less options.
Warranty and servicing: Three year/unlimited kilometres warranty with roadside assist. Servicing is every 15,000km or 12 months.
Model: Audi A6 3.0 TDI Quattro tiptronic.
Details: Four-door large all-wheel driver luxury sedan.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 biturbo diesel generating maximum power of 230kW @ 3900-4500rpm and peak torque of 650Nm @ 1450-2800rpm.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Consumption: 6.4 litres/100km.
Performance: 0-100kmh in 5.1 seconds.
Bottom line: $118,800.