Friday, December 02, 2011

Car review: Audi A6 3.0 TDI (204hp) 4G / C7

Model (Code / Model Year): Audi A6 3.o TDI (4G / 2011)

Engine: 6-cylinder (V6) diesel engine (2967cm3)
Transmission: stepless automatic Multitronic CVT-transmission
Paintwork + Interior + interior trim + wheels: Phantom black pearl effect (metallic) + Leather Milano Black + Interior trim "blank" + 6-spoke-Design, 8 J x 17 alloy wheels
Optional Equipment: Audi Parking System front and rear, Front heated seats, Bluetooth preperation, Rearview mirror auto dimming, 4-way- lumbar support, Storage package, Exterior mirrors - heated, electrically adjustable and auto-dimming, CD-changer, Deluxe 4-zone automatic air conditioning, Pre Crash Basic, MMI Radio Plus, MMI Navigation, Smoking package, Xenon plus, Audi Music Interface (AMI)
Performance: 204hp / 400nm
0 to 100km/h: 7,2sec
Top speed: 240km/h (150mp/h)
Weight: 1620kg
Fuel tank (US gallons): 65 liter (17.17 US gallons)
Fuel consumption in liter / 100km (U.S. miles per gallon): 7,4 liter / 100 kilometer (31,8mpg / US) (click the link for the fuel consumption test)
Price (Germany): approximately €58.500
4G engines driven: 3.0 TDI (204hp / Multitronic)

Audi was the last of the three German rivals to introduce a new A6, after Mercedes Benz had introduced a new E-class in 2009 and BMW a new 5-series in 2010. One has to keep in mind that car manufacturers are constantly benchmarking their vehicles against the competition and consumer preference. The E-class therefore became a bit sportier, the 5-series improved the interior quality (once a strong advantage of Audi) and Audi has also made its car sportier, while mixing a relatively inconspicuous design with agressive LED appearance.

In this review the Audi A6 featuring an 3.0 TDI diesel engine with 204hp, the successor to the old 2.7 TDI with 190hp.

1. Exterior

Audi has always been famous for its relatively inconspicuous design, this has been a major factor for its success. The new Audi A6 (in the internal nomenclatura also known as the "4G", while the old A6 was called the "4F") has continued the basic designline of its predecessor. Exterior wise it has been adjusted a bit more towards the Audi-design that also could be seen on the current Audi A4 and the new Audi A8.

But contrary to the bland exterior design is the aggressive styling of the LED-lights, giving the new Audi a distinctive presence. For a walkaroud video of the Audi A6 4G, please click here.

2. Engine, Transmission and handling

The 3.0 TDI is available with either 204, 245 or 313hp
In this particular car, a 3.0 TDI engine with 204hp was mounted, replacing the previous 2.7 TDI with 190hp that had been available on the previous Audi A6 4F. It is a smooth, quit engine that has sufficient power available to navigate through everyday traffic. Combined with the stepless Multitronic transmission it tries to keep the revs in the low range, in order to conserve fuel*. Engine noise is also low and does, not bothering the driver during the journey. However, the transmission is relatively slow to respond to input from the driver, taking time to shift up a gear and building up revs from the lower range.

*For a video on the fuel consumption, please click here.

Handling has always been an issue with the combination of quite a sizable amount of HP, combined with front wheel drive. Just as with its 2.7 TDI predecessor, the 4G also is struggling to transfer the HP to the road, especially in wet conditions. Otherwise the handling is neutral, although in fast corners it tends to get somewhat "front heavy", due to the forces (FWD, weight of the engine) being concentrated on the front axle.

3. Interior

Interior design is, like the exterior design, always a matter of personal taste. However, an author can point out details and / or issues that might differ from the expectations one has from a product.

Audi used to be known for its superior interior quality, compared to its rivals from BMW and Mercedes Benz. One has to keep in mind that every brand uses benchmarking to compare its own product to that of the competitor, and tries to improve to match the strength that competitors have.

In this case Audi and BMW are the closest competitors, and BMW has recieved quite a large amount of negatieve feedback on the cold and industrial design of the BMW 5-series E60, while the interior of the previous Audi A6 (4F) was recieved quite well. So wenn BMW introduced its new 5-series in 2010, it came with a superb interior design.

Although Audi dropped the ball when it comes to interior quality, the ergonomical layout of the new A6 is satisfying. All the functions to operate the car and its systems are located in a logical way, although the software interface of the (small) satnav is somewhat confusing. The satnav itself is again not a leap forward but rather a continuation of the previous generation level, but that could be attributed to the small satnav and might be much better when opting for the "large" system. 

In contrast, with the new A6 Audi seems to have dropped the ball in the interior department. Altough the center console has a fresh and modern design, the use of plastic material gives it a somewhat cheapish feel, which does not fit a premium brand car.
Instead of a leap forward from the previous generation, it rather reminds of quality finish of the late 90ies combined with some current technology (satnav, use of LED's, modern gear leaver). This is excarbated by the use of plastic materials that have been painted silver, in order to mimic the impression of aluminium. You can feel it also, BMW uses real metal parts that remain cold while the silver painted plastic in the Audi matches the temperature of the other materials around it.

4.Optional Equipment

This section discusses (part of) the optional equipment available on the F01. Ranking from 1 (definitely a yes), 2 (nice to have, but not a minimum requirement) to 3 (not worth the money).
  • Audi Parking System front and rear: A car of this size does need a watchfull eye when navigating in small environments. Ranking 1
  • Front heated seats: If it does not come standard with leather upholstery in your country, it is a very neat feature to warm up a cold seat very fast, as cold leather otherwise might be an unpleasant affair. Ranking 1
  • Bluetooth preperation: In many countries calling while driving is already prohibited, so a direct integration for the cellphone into the cars system is money well spent. Ranking 1
  • Rearview mirror auto dimming: comfort feature. Ranking 2
  • 4-way- lumbar support: comfort feature. Ranking 2
  • Storage package: comfort feautere. Ranking 2
  • Exterior mirrors - heated, electrically adjustable and auto-dimming: comfort feature. Ranking 2
  • CD-changer: if one can play the music from the phone, no need to play CDs. Ranking 3
  • Audi Music Interface: if one can play the music from the phone, no need to use the AMI. Ranking 2
  • Deluxe 4-zone automatic air conditioning: comfort feature. Ranking 2
  • MMI Radio Plus: comes automatically with the satnav. Ranking 1
  • MMI Navigation: the small navigation has a small screen with basic graphics, compared to other systems this is outdated. Rather opting for the larger MMI Navigations plus that has more possibilities and better graphics. Ranking 3, instead buy the larger!
  • Smoking package: extra power outlet is always welcome. Ranking 2
  • Xenon plus: nice addition for a business class car. Ranking 1
Final thoughts:

It direct competitor, the BMW 5-series is a though nut to crack. Unfortunately, Audi did not crack that nut. Although the exterior design is all that we expect from Audi, a simple yet elegant design that will attract a large customer base, the interior quality has been a large let down. Not only does it not give the driver a premium feeling, it seems that Audi has not made any progression compared to previous generation, regarding the interior.

However, the engine, transmission and handling are exactly what one might expect from an Audi. It is a neutral, upper class drive that will take a driver to its destination with good fuel efficiency and a good level of comfort.

Audi A6 3.0 TDI 4G / C7 media:

Audi A6 exterior & interior (pictures)
Audi A6 walkaround (video)
Audi A6 fuel consumption (video)
Audi A6 acceleration (video)
Audi A6 flatout (video)


drjigg1 said...

It's an intrusting and fantastic topic related to the xenon headlights. I read and really impressed from your article .That's a great and wounder full . I like and share with my friends .Thanks for posting......

Neal said...

Bmw hid lights are normally fixed in front of the car which help in increasing visibility in time of low light illumination. The high intensity discharge lights helps in enhancing visibility especially on the roads where street lighting is not available. Most of the cars of this brand are fixed with the full HID kit

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