Audi A6  2.8 Quattro Saloon V6 

30 Valve Quad Cam

Audi A6 Quattro 2.8 30 Valve.

Having just hopped out of the ugly but worthy Ford Scorpio, it was very easy to fall for the charms of this undeniably handsome motor car. Audi may have restyled the new A6 with a little bit of added TT about it but I can't help feeling it was wasted money. Just looking at this older A6, the thing just oozes class. OK it may be a little understated but class and loud are not synonymous. 

Getting aboard, the air of quality and sensible, subtle design gently imbibe themselves upon your senses.  The dash is a pleasure to look at - clean and easy on the eye and not a crowded mass of fighting dials in sight.  At night they glow a pleasant soft red and their relative dispersion avoids too much tired-eye syndrome.

 

The switches are uniformly sized and sit in a sensible row across the centre console. Even the corporate triple column switch gear as seen on Golfs and Polos (and presumably Lupos) doesn’t look out of place or cheap. There are just as many things to play with as on other vehicles but it's just that Audi seem to be able to switch them all on with half as many buttons.

The steering wheel is both a joy to behold and hold. Its malleable leather rim beautifully contoured where it expects your hands to go. Up from the centre console sticks a delicate chrome shaft leading from the tortuous Auto gate to the leather covered shift handle. Disappointingly, there are no transmission switches but perhaps the Auto is so good it doesn't need them (more later).

The seats are not the only firm things about this car - steering is firm, suspension is firm, even the grab handles in the ceiling crack back into place as if powered by Land Rover rear springs. The whole car has a feeling of solidity and safety that not even the biggest Volvo could match.

It's hard to be critical of the handling - the all-conquering Quattro system, allied to big fat tyres, means that even this non sporting version has limits way above my feeble driving skills. Suffice to say even that the most poor drivers can get away with careering around slippery corners 10 or 20 mph too fast making fools into instant street heroes. Anyone who can overcook it in one of these really needs their head testing and probably shouldn’t be driving on the public highway in any case..
Audi A6  2.8 Quattro Saloon V6 30 Valve

If we are being really churlish we could say that the steering is not very communicative despite its weighty feel and that the handling is a triumph over engineering development over design elegance. The Quattro design allows Audi to make use of far more horsepower than their traditional front engine front wheel drive systems. Audi's engineers make maximum use of the Quattro to give levels of grip and balance that a front driver with a big engine hanging out of the front could only dream of but it’s all a mechanical illusion brought about by twice as much engineering.

I can't remember a time that the onset of winter brought about the thought of 4-wheel drive in me, that's probably because our weather is really far too mild. In our rain infested climate 4x4 is probably an extravagance at the very least, if not complete overkill. But if you feel the need for the added security of 4-wheel drive or you live in somewhat more extreme circumstances than I do, then Audi's system is one of the best.

What I can complain about, though, is the ride. Over bumpy roads it is fidgety at best, bouncing off bigger holes without making any attempt to ride them. For a car of this size and class you really do expect a more cushioned ride. Over smoother roads and at speeds it settles nicely into just informing you that you're not riding on a billiard table which is okay but how many of our roads are in good condition any more? Luckily traction and stability are not compromised by the pounding suspension and the A6 is so well built that its interior doesn’t start to rattle like many others would.

Audi's conventionally aspirated 2.8 litre V6 unit drives this motor along and a very nice motor it is too. 195bhp is a respectable output and powers the A6 along at a very swift rate. It can only be a tribute to the chassis that it never feels like too much power as the Quattro system gobbles up all that the engine can chuck out like a hungry dog at a barbecue. Even being a lame brain and kicking it down from top to bottom gear whilst rounding a bend simply results in the A6 gathering pace and maybe running wide as opposed to simply sticking you in a bush.

Maybe it's because I had just got out of a multi-mode auto car or maybe the A6 suffers from a slight lack of (relative) bottom end torque, but I could not really get on with the Auto-Box. It either slugged about when I wanted it to change down or it changed down multiple gears when all I wanted was to pick up a little speed. I could have changed it by hand but that would have defeated the objective. Whatever the problem is it would be nice to see a multi-mode gearbox to fit in with the rest of this cars sporting pretensions.

Audi A6 Boot Storage.With foot against the floor, engine charging hard and the gearbox holding its lowest possible ratios, the box works fine, clipping up a gear smoothly just off the red line. 
The engine will push the A6 around to somewhere about twice the legal limit but, more importantly, it would seem to get there with little fuss. Ad hoc tests up to around a ton showed the car to still have fierce acceleration through the nineties and onwards. It delivers it's power with such smoothness and unstressed nature that the only signs of the increasing speed are the increasingly quick progression of lamp posts passing your ear and the rate at which normal traffic is caught.  It's quietness when pushed is impressive though the seat of my pants tells me it’s a tad less smooth than Audi's 2.6 motor but there is not much in it and both are very, very impressive units.

In terms of practicality, the A6 is probably as practical a proposition as any big saloon. Audi have always sacrificed a little space in the name of style and in the A6's case it's a fair trade-off. The car is plenty big enough for most and the boot will hold a fairly decent amount, even if it can't match some of the more spacious (but less stylish) offerings around.

The Audi's biggest competitor is probably BMW's excellent 5 series and in many ways there is not much to choose between them. Both are well built and both are available in a range of engines from not quite enough to way too much. The BMW steers much nicer in the dry at least and rides better but in the wet or in the snow the Audi is streets ahead. 

Audi A6 2.8 30 Valve V6 Engine.

SPECIFICATION

 

 

Price

31,392
Engine 2771cc  V6 30v Quad cam 
Max Speed 145 mph
Max Power 193 bhp
Performance 0-60mph in 8.1 sec
Insurance Group 17

 

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