Performance and 0-60mph time
Performance across the range is competitive against main rivals, but there is a notable lack of any stand-out performers. The entry-level front-wheel drive 40 TDI is the least enthusiastic on paper, with a 0-62mph time of 8.1sec. The Quattro model, thanks to its traction advantage, wipes half a second off this time to 7.6sec, but the remainder of the powertrain range are more interesting mechanically. The 45TFSI’s 6sec 0-62mph time is more impressive too, with the 50 TDI and 55 TFSI doing the deed in 5.5sec and 5.1sec respectively.
The 50 TDI, in typical fashion, is impressively hushed and has lots of mid-range grunt to rely on at road speeds, but the strident 55 TFSI, with its 335bhp, makes it a surprisingly brisk Q-car, especially in SE trim. For real performance though one will have to head to Audi’s S and RS range. The RS models are still to come, but for now Audi’s revitalised S6 models and their mild-hybrid V6 diesels don’t particularly build on the 55 TFSI’s numbers (0-62mph is 5sec dead), but rather with an immense 516lb ft mid-range.
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The 40 TDI is probably the most surprising engine of the trio, with high levels of refinement and the ability to deliver a solid whack of performance across a broad spread of the rev range. Ultimately it can’t quite match the V6s in terms of resistance to noise and vibration and it lacks their performance too, but nor does it feel like a compromise too far.
The V6s still feel more appropriate and, of the pair, it’s the petrol that feels sweetest, but the diesel digs deeper for its performance from lower revs so there’s not a lot in it for real-world pace. And naturally, the TDI models’ economy should see them comfortably outsell the TFSI.