11/04/2012 09:32 | By Richard Aucock, contributor, MSN Cars

Audi A6 Avant: month four



Audi A6 Avant (© Motoring Research)
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Audi A6 Avant

On fleet since: October 2011
Total mileage: 7492
Official combined mpg/CO2: 56.5mpg/132g/km
Actual mpg: 44.8
Costs: £0
Engine: 2.0 TDI 177
Trim: SE
Performance: 9.0secs 0-60mph/138mph top speed
Power/torque: 177hp@4,200rpm/280lb.ft@1,750-2,500rpm
Insurance group: 27E
List price: £31,340
Options fitted: Ice Silver metallic paint (£750), storage package (£105), 18-inch alloys (£630), bi-xenon headlights (£1,240), lighting package (295), DAB digital radio (£410), Audi music interface (£260), 3-spoke Sports steering wheel (£115), load area fixing kit (£135), through-load facility (£210), heated front seats (£390), power-operated boot lid (£545), CD changer (£440), 4-way electric lumbar support (£295), Pre-sense basic (£260), deluxe 4-zone automatic air conditioning (£680), Driver's Information System (£410)
Price as tested: £39,270

Pros: Audi attributes mean I'm taking a shine to it
Cons: Audi attributes take a long time to shine through

Audi A6 Avant front (© Motoring Research)

Where have we been with the Audi A6 Avant?
I seem to have been spending a lot of time standing at the offside rear of the Audi, filling it with diesel. Not because economy has plunged - this is actually creeping ever-higher, now up to almost 45mpg overall - but because of the sheer amount of miles I'm putting onto it. Total? Now nudging 7,500...

And now I'm so used to it, the Audi seems nothing like the behemoth I remember from my first few weeks with it. Yes, it's a big car, but as I've become used to its extremities, it doesn't feel overly massive. Mind you, part of this, I'm sure, came from the sensation of sitting within such a huge cabin.

It's a big car, but I've become used to its extremities

The driving environment feels, well, 'large', with the door armrest out of easy lean distance and the centre armrest similarly distant. To illustrate: you can't comfortably rest your elbows on both at the same time when holding the steering wheel in a 'relaxed' position.

So now I hold the wheel properly, as the Police advise. Actually, something I was tending to do anyway due to the Audi's higher-speed directional sensitivity. After an initial slack patch in the steering, small inputs have a big effect, which can have you darting over the white line with ease on the motorway.

Get used to it and this low-input steering gait is clean and satisfying. Until you compensate though, it's a tricky car to key into - not helped, again, by the fact it's so wide, punishing any inaccuracy of vehicle placement. So much to it: you can see why I was so puzzled for the first month.

Audi A6 Avant rear (© Motoring Research)

What do we like about the Audi A6 Avant?
It was actually driving with a Jaguar chassis engineer when the Audi's character clicked with me, oddly. In explaining the exact traits all Jaguars should have, he also helped clarify the sort of things that make an Audi.

I've blogged about this, giving the full rundown, but the headline is that Audi seeks clean, Germanic consistency in its cars. They may not be swimming in sensations but they do give a very precise, confident assurance of deep integrity.

The more you ask of it, the harder it works

This is how the A6 drives. It doesn't thrill like a BMW and doesn't evoke sensitive passion like a Jaguar, but it will predictably deliver a high level of capability in all conditions: and, crucially, the more you ask of it, the harder it works to maintain this consistency.

Some cars impress less when you ask more: the Audi remains resolutely consistent. Even if the road quality degenerates, even if the weather becomes filthy, even if speeds slowly creep higher. No matter what's thrown at it, the Audi remains an Audi.

This is now key to its appeal for me, and why it is now satisfying deeply. Look for visceral thrills from the off and you might be disappointed in what the Audi delivers. Appreciate its uniquely Teutonic nature though, and it will click with the rational-emotional side of your brain. Just be prepared: it may take a while...

Audi A6 Avant side (© Motoring Research)

What don't we like About the Audi A6 Avant?
It's out with what we don't like this month, as the clear appeal of the A6 shines through. OK, it's still too long for most supermarket parking pays, the handbrake still has a mind of its own, I still can't quite get the seat position as I'd like and enjoy comfort too.

But this is the month when the A6 became a car I could quite happily live with for life. It fits my circumstances perfectly, the premium vibes press buttons with me, the way it copes with being a new dad continues to impressive. After this, then, what next?

What next for the Audi A6 Avant?
As the spring arrives, so our A6 is to switch back from winter tyres to the original all-weather rubber. How will the economy fare - and what will the effect be on ride and handling? Come back next month to find out...

Report 1: Audi A6 Avant arrival
Report 2: Audi A6 Avant month two
Report 3: Audi A6 Avant month three
Report 4: Audi A6 Avant month four (this report)
Report 5: Audi A6 Avant month five

Report 6: Audi A6 Avant final report

Audi A6 Avant review
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