Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Quiet Achiever Catches Rivals

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Quiet Achiever Catches Rivals

Article excerpt

THE Audi A6 is a medium-large car much loved by those who like a solid touch of sportiness in their transport.

As well as the standard A6 models, Audi also sells a good range of high-performance versions.

Called, in ascending order, Audi A6 S Line, Audi S6 and Audi RS6, they provide stunning performance in topline guise. These sportier models give a halo effect throughout the range.

Audi is highly regarded in Australia these days, something that wasn't the case when rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW ruled the roost, despite the fact Audi holds equal ranking in most European countries.

The so-called single-frame grille, with its huge central area, has been a stroke of genius in automotive design, copied by just about every other stylist.

In Australia aggressive marketing has been added to Audi's style and the two factors have played a major part in the resurgence downunder.

The A6 replaced the Audi 100 in November 1994, but struggled in its early days. A virtually all-new A6 that reached Australia in November 1997 improved things somewhat so we will start looking in detail at the A6 from that model onwards.

Interior design and quality have been strong points in Audis for many years and the cabin is close to immaculate in the way it's themed and then constructed.

Interior space is okay for five adults, though lack of support in the centre-rear position makes it a noticeably less comfortable position than the other seats.

The Audi A6 has high levels of noise, vibration and harshness suppression that make it a very capable high-speed cruiser.

Boot space is very good in the sedan. Audi A6 has a reasonably strong presence in the prestige station wagon market in Australia, though not to the huge extent it does on its home market.

An interesting variant is the Allroad Quattro, an all-wheel-drive with increased ground clearance and added body protection panels. It's not what you would call an SUV, but is capable in soft, even medium, off the beaten track work.

Handling is better than average for a front-wheel-drive car, though the powertrain layout, with the engine mostly in front of the axle, means the nose-heavy machine tends to push slightly wide on corners. This has been toned down with each successive model, but is still a weak point compared with other vehicles in this upmarket German class.

Owners who are more interested in calm, quiet cruising are unlikely to ever experience the understeer even in the older models.

There is the option of Audi's famous quattro all-wheel-drive system for added traction on slippery roads. It too can suffer from front-end push, but does so at higher cornering efforts. Quattro isn't on offer in all models, but is well worth it for keen drivers.

Engines come in a staggering range, with petrol and diesel units on offer. …

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