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First Drive: Audi A6 Avant - on sale April 2005



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Audi claims to have created a new segment with its A6 Avant by making it bigger and more luxurious than the competition.

Its mission is to provide the “sportiest business estate in its class” and its designers believe they have brought the luxury associated with the A8 into the executive segment.

It certainly is bigger. At 87mm longer than the 5-series Touring and 80mm longer than the E-class estate, the A6 Avant offers a class-leading 1,660 litres of maximum capacity thanks to a 1.05m wide boot, accessed via the electrically-powered tailgate. In addition, it offers numerous details and options that will help owners make full use of its potential.

A two-tier boot floor with a foldable and lockable top level prevents small loads from sliding in transit, while the lower level incorporates a wipe-clean plastic tray for stowing items such as muddy boots. Rails set into the boot floor utilise four adjustable lashing eyes to secure cargo, and can be combined for added practicality with a number of optional storage systems including securing rails and straps, a storage box or a cycle rack.

Audi is offering the Avant in comfort-orientated SE or more sporting S Line trim. Both specifications include cruise control, CD system, climate control, automatic headlight and wiper activation plus Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) basic control system. The S Line also receives 18in alloy wheels, part-leather sports seats, sports suspension and uprated brakes on certain models.

All models can be further equipped from an options list which includes sat-nav, radar-assisted cruise control, adaptive air suspension, keyless entry and storage systems.

UK sales are expected to total 3,000 units in the remainder of this year, increasing to 5,350 in 2006. Diesels will take three-quarters of all sales, with the entry-level 2.0 TDI (arriving in June) the best seller. Until then, five engines are offered: three petrols and two turbodiesels, including a new 2.7 V6. Quattro four-wheel drive will be available on most models except 2.7 and 2.0TDI. Fleets will take two thirds of business, but private buyers are rising.

Strengths: Refinement, performance
Weakness: You tell us
Opportunity: Innovative options will generate extra revenue
Threat: Could be a silent licence loser
USP: Biggest executive estate available
Prices: £26,505 to £46,265
Engines: 2.4 V6 177bhp, 3.2 V6 255bhp, 4.2 V8 335bhp. 2.7 V6 TDI 180bhp, 3.0 V6 TDI 225bhp (2.0 TDI140bhp available June)
Transmissions: 6-spd manual, 6-spd Tiptronic, 6-spd multitronic; fwd, 4wd quattro
Performance: 0-62mph 6.2-9.5 secs 137mph – 155mph (governed) top speed
Efficiency: 24.1-40.3mpg (comb) 187 – 281g/km CO2
CAP RV: 36-45%
Rivals: BMW 5-series Touring, Mercedes E-class estate

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