Performance and 0-60mph time
That Audi’s big executive saloon and estate are only offered in turbodiesel guise in the UK (the S6 and RS6 the only petrol choices) speaks volumes about the marketplace where it competes. Even so, no A6 is a slouch; even the 2.0-litre TDI model with its 187bhp output allows the greenest A6 to achieve a 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds (or 8.2 with the optional seven-speed S tronic automatic). The 3.0 TDI shaves over a second off that for a 7.1-second time, while adding quattro four-wheel drive to that same engine demonstrates its traction advantage, with a 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds. There’s a higher power version of the 3.0 TDI engine that drops the 0-62mph time to 5.5 seconds, while the mighty 315bhp 3.0 BiTDI quattro manages a 0-62mph time of 5.0 seconds. Choose the Avant and the slight weight increase that comes with it adds between two and three tenths to those 0-62mph times - likewise the Allroad models.
Subscribe to evo magazine
The 2.0-litre TDI ultra might be most tax efficient model in the range but it doesn’t ever feel like it's hampered by its economy goals. It’s quick against the clock too, its 295lb ft of torque giving it useful mid-range pace, while its lack of vibration is also impressive. The 3.0 TDI builds on that, with the higher power 268bhp version bringing all the pace you could want - until, that is, you try the 315bhp 3.0 BiTDI, which has epic performance, thanks in no small part to its 479lb ft of torque. It’s quick enough to make the S6 redundant and make you question whether it’s worth spending the sizeable premium the RS 6 attracts, too.
If you’re looking for crushing pace then look up our S6 and RS 6 reports. The rest of the range might not be so mighty against the clock, but they’ll be significantly cheaper to run, and you’ll worry a good deal less about your licence. Actually, despite not wearing the coveted S or RS badges, the rest of the A6 range is quick, the biTDI V6 ludicrously so, but even the company-car snaring 2.0 TDI ultra model won’t leave you embarrassed for pace. S line trim brings sharper looks, more kit and a firmer suspension set-up, so it is, unsurprisingly, a very popular choice, while the Allroad (Avant only) specification bumps up the suspension and adds some off-road looks. The Allroad biTDI is a stealthy q car with all-season capability.