Vim added to trusty Audi estate

 
Ryan Borroff
Audi’s A6 Allroad model has long been something of the unsung hero in its ever-expanding model range. Is it an oddity? Well, it’s certainly unique. An estate car with four-level height adjustable suspension and quattro all-wheel-drive – A6 Allroad appeals to people that want a rugged car but for whom an SUV just doesn’t cut it.

In reality the A6 Allroad ticks so many boxes and suits such a variety of lifestyles that many people consider it the automotive Swiss Army knife. But driving the latest version with the brand new 3.0-litre TDI V6 biturbo diesel engine – which produces 313bhp and is mated to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission – makes it clear that this latest Allroad is even better. The engine is quick-witted, responds quickly and coupled with that famous quattro system makes for a car that is surprisingly sporting on the road. But it’s not just quick. It’s agile and stick-to-the-road grippy which makes for a very surprising car. If you thought that this was just a stuffy estate car for posh people, you are quite wrong. It feels young, lean and absolutely modern.

It’s also about as practical as a car can get because of its all-weather, go (almost) anywhere capability. The car ought to feel heavy – after all, so much technology adds weight. Yet driving across Dartmoor, it feels anything but. That’s because Audi has build this third generation A6 Allroad using more aluminium than before. It’s as much as 70kgs lighter as a result.

Gears can be shifted manually using the car’s paddle shifters at your fingertips, but it hardly seems necessary because the automatic eight-speed transmission is so good. Changes are smooth, quick and almost seamless. Acceleration too is impressive with a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds. Even the engine has a powerful, throaty sportscar-like, non-diesel sound. And all the while the ride is very comfortable with little road noise. It feels very refined.

That refinement is continued in the interior, which is good even for a brand that is known for the quality of its interiors. Constructed from leather, wood and chrome, the interior feels spacious and there are a lot of storage options, with a boot stuffed full of load-securing kit to stop polo tack, climbing gear, sailing duffles or baby buggies from moving around.

Inside, the technical wizardry includes a drive select system that at first appears complicated but in reality isn’t. Tailorable to individual drivers’ tastes, there are five modes – Comfort, Dynamic, Automatic, Individual and Efficiency. In Individual mode, you also have the option of personalising the engine, the transmission, the optional sport differential, the steering and the air suspension so you can have the car set up exactly as you want it. The only thing is there are no memory driver presets so if you and the missus like different setups then you’ll have to change it each time you change drivers. But all in all, this Audi A6 Allroad is fast, sure-footed and very, very comfortable – it feels like a car you can depend on.

So, what’s not to like? Well buyers of the A6 Allroad are some of the wealthiest Audi sells to. There’s a reason for that. Such capability comes at a price, but then you get what you pay for. And you’ll be paying quite a lot – £43,150 and upwards to be exact. That’s a lot of money for an estate car...so is it worth it? Yes, I think it is.

THE FACTS:
AUDI A6 ALLROAD
PRICE: £49,445
0-62MPH: 5.6 secs
TOP SPEED:155mph
CO2 G/KM: 176g/km
MPG COMBINED: 42.2mpg

THE VERDICT:
DESIGN ****
PERFORMANCE *****
PRACTICALITY ****
VALUE FOR MONEY ****