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Use car focus: Audi A6 1997-2004

The A6 offers used buyers a real alternative to the BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-class.

It’s superbly built, drives well and, being an Audi, it oozes class. Saloons are cheapest to pick up, with prices starting from around £4,500 for a 97/P 1.8T. Avants are pricier, but offer a roomy and elegant solution for family life.

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All models have traction control, front fog lights, climate control, body-coloured bumpers, alloy wheels and electric seat height adjustment. SE adds 10-spoke alloys, split/folding rear seat, front centre armrest, driver information system, auto-dipping rear view mirror, and standard metallic or pearlescent paint. Avant estates were launched in March 1998; Allroad 2.5 TDi and 2.7T estates in July 2000. RS6 (Sept 2002) has dynamic ride control and luxury sports equipment.

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE

Sure-footed at all times, A6 is best suited to cruising the motorway, rather than backroad sprints. All the controls are well weighted and the ride is impressive over most surfaces (revisions were made in 2001).

COMFORT

The A6’s driving position should please most. Precise-feeling controls and high quality materials are used throughout. In the back there’s enough legroom for two adults; the boot is large and wind and road noise are well suppressed.

ENGINES

Petrols engines range from 1.8T and 2.0, through to the 2.4, 2.7, 2.8, 3.0 and 4.2. 1.8T is sporty enough – the 2.0 feels weak in comparison. Good range of diesels: the 1.9 TDI is available with 110, 115 and 130bhp. The 2.5 V6 turbodiesel is powerful, yet surprisingly economical.

SAFETY

A6 scored three stars in the Euro NCAP crash test (at a time when scores were out of four). Security-wise, there are strong deadlocks, and an effective immobiliser and alarm. A tracking device might have been fitted on top models by previous owners.



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