Audi A6 saloon 2.0 TDI ultra S tronic S line

September 2014

picture of car from the front

Sharp looks help the A6 stand out from the crowd

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 8Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 9Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 8Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 9Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Polished-looking exterior design
  • Impressive gains in efficiency and economy
  • Cabin is comfortable, attractive and better specified than some rivals
  • Lots of space in cabin and load area

Gripes

  • S line specification can result in an over firm ride
  • Long list of tempting but potentially costly extras
  • A1 and A3 models present a less cluttered cabin to the driver
  • Front-wheel drive will never match rear-drive for maximum enjoyment

Think 'premium' cars and thoughts rarely turn to saving money. That's all changed in recent years, with all the major brands introducing cars boasting low emissions and fuel consumption to primarily help keep cars affordable for the business community. Audi's 'ultra' sub-brand offers these attributes without compromising its core values.

Audi's A6 is well known and liked as a premium saloon - and estate - model in a fiercely competitive executive market sector. The car's design-led appeal for many puts its at a higher level than some rivals. That said, keen drivers have often looked to BMW for more thrills.

This certainly hasn't dented the A6's appeal through the years, and as manufacturers spend more effort reducing inefficiencies Audi has made some serious inroads. The firm's ultra sub-brand is a good example; focus on boosting economy while maintaining high standards of refinement.

The end result is a car that, powered by a 190 horsepower 2.0-litre diesel engine, boasts a sub 120g/km CO2 rating, a family hatch rivaling 64.2mpg economy figure yet is still capable of delivering a brisk performance.

For the cash-savvy company car driver these figures now take priority over any class-busting top speeds or zero to 62mph sprint times. With the promise of significant savings over even previous frugal A6 variants, this ultra model reduces an individual's take spend to new lows.

Our verdict on the Audi A6 saloon 2.0 TDI ultra S tronic S line

It seems every car maker has its own take on an ultra low emissions and fuel consumption model these days. Even the makers of premium cars can't ignore the benefits to not just the environment but also the bottom line. Audi's A6 ultra is an impressive example of how to do it right; there's no compromise to the driving experience or cabin refinement when on the move.

Costs
Costs rating 9

In executive circles Audi has become increasingly more competitive in recent years, be it more generous with standard kit or producing more efficient cars. The A6 ultra combines these two attributes and boasts a premium ambience while delivering family hatch levels of economy and emissions performance. The key benefactor will be the company car driver, as considerable year-on-year savings can be made with this A6 variant.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 8

This A6 is a big car, with the result being that rear legroom is refreshingly above average. Oddment space up front, along with occupant space, is also generous. The same is true at the rear, with the car's boot a cavernous asset easily capable of swallowing all manner of large items.

picture of car from the rear

Save for the small 'ultra' badge you'd never guess this was a super frugal model

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 9

Audi has built a considerable reputation on the strength of its instruments and displays. They are often held up as examples of how to get it right, and the A6 is one of many 'best practice' examples. From the clear, colour main display to the intuitive controls and simple main dials, it's hard to fault the A6 here.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 8

This is where the A6 performs well, and the car's occupants will enjoy the refined, tasteful cabin complete with ample space fore and aft. Road and wind noise is expertly suppressed, too.

Car security
Security Rating 8

Like with all other A6 models, this frugal model boasts a solid roster of kit to keep thieves at bay. Remote locking, delayed operation headlamps and a sophisticated anti-theft system should prove sufficient. Covered cabin oddment storage space plus the saloon body layout also help keep valuables out of sight.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

The A6 is in the same boat as its premium peers here. From the plethora of airbags to the comprehensive level of electronic assistance for the driver, nothing has been left to chance. Dip into the options list and there's also a selection of advanced active systems to choose from.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 7

The focus here is on economical driving, although in this A6 ultra it never feels like it's a chore. The gutsy diesel motor is pleasingly quiet yet boasts ample pace for brisk motoring when needed. S line trim does prove rather firm, making SE a smarter choice of comfort is a priority.

picture of car interior

Tasteful and well-appointed interior is an Audi trademark

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 7

No saloon, no matter how big, can compete against an SUV and the A6 is no different. It's plush interior is better suited to a more mature family anyway, and an estate variant would be more versatile, too.

First car appeal
First car Rating 4

With its size and expense counting against it, first time buyers might be better off looking at an A4 if they really need a saloon or the well received A3 if a family hatch-size car is more acceptable.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 8

Cabin quality and finish is remarkably similar to that found in the considerably more expensive A8. The standard upholstery is appealing to the eye, and the wide choice of materials is another mark of quality. In light of this, opting for the ultra variant doesn't seem like a compromise at all.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

Four large doors make for easy access front or rear. The same goes for the generous boot, which also comes with the option of being electrically operated, and boasts a long, wide flat load floor.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The standard provision is an impressive system and a good quality audio set-up incorporating a CD/tuner and twin SDHC memory card slots for importing audio tracks, plus Bluetooth and USB connections. Even more tempting are the upgrade audio systems which deliver exceptional sound quality, and while the navigation options can prove pricey they are some of the easiest to use in this class.

picture of car in detail

On the move the A6 ultra is rewarding, quiet and composed

Colours and trim

The car is best suited to understated metallic shades as they best suit its subtle curves. Inside there is a refreshingly broad choice of colours, which give the A6's cabin a welcome lift.

Parking

All A6 models are fitted with Audi Parking System Plus, which has sensors front and rear feeding an on-screen display. This in itself makes parking a straightforward affair, but optional upgrades include a reversing camera or even automated parking.

Spare wheel

Space saver spare wheel fitted beneath the boot floor.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 2.0-litre (245bhp). Diesel engine options - 2.0-litre (190bhp), 3.0-litre (204bhp, 245bhp, 313bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual, seven-speed dual clutch automatic, eight-speed CVT automatic. Trim levels: SE and S line, Black Edition.

 

Alternative cars

BMW 5 Series More driver-focused yet still comfortable and stylish

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Styling may not be to all tastes but hybrid model promises impressive economy

Lexus GS450h Petrol hybrid-only with no diesel option, well-equipped, comfort-oriented

Jaguar XF Polished alternative but lacks ultra efficient variant



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September 2014