2014 Audi A6 TDI Quattro TiptronicPosted on February 27th, 2014
Clean diesel model rounds out sport sedan lineup
By Nina Russin
This year, Audi adds a turbo-diesel injected model to its midsized A6 sedan lineup, combining the fuel economy of a much smaller engine with V-6 power and performance. The three-liter six-cylinder engine accelerates from zero-to-sixty in 5.5 seconds, yet averages up to 38 miles-per-gallon on the highway. By comparison, the gasoline-powered three-liter A6 averages 27 mpg.
Extensive use of aluminum throughout the sedan’s body structure contains curb weight to 4,178 pounds. While the A6 is by no means a featherweight, it is light enough to perform nimbly on challenging two-lane roads.
Base price for the TDI model is $57,500, excluding the $895 delivery charge. Options on the test car include special exterior paint and S line trim, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, four-zone climate control, Bose surround sound, adaptive front headlamps, 20-inch wheels, sport suspension, Ash wood trim and a black headliner. Final MSRP is $66,795.
Engineered for stop-and-go driving
Nothing is more frustrating for commuters than sitting in stop-and-go traffic burning fuel. Audi’s solution is to employ smart stop technology that automatically cuts the ignition when the driver stops.
The concept is similar to what gasoline-electric hybrids have done for years except that there’s no electric motor: the car battery powers whatever accessories are running at the time. If the car needs additional power to, for example, run the air conditioning compressor, the engine automatically starts up again.
As a runner and pedestrian, I appreciate the reduction in exhaust toxins when cars are stopped at a traffic light.
While hybrid technology offers the greatest fuel economy benefits in city driving for the reasons described above, clean diesel extends those fuel savings to high-speed motoring as well. Drivers can expect about a 25 percent increase in fuel economy across the board. Not only does this save money, but trips to the gas pump. A 600-mile driving range between fill-ups is not unusual.
Test drive in Phoenix
Over the past week, I put about 200 miles on the turbo-diesel A6. The drive route included surface streets and highways in Phoenix, Arizona and the east valley as well as a section of the Gila River Indian reservation south of town and a two-lane road through the Superstition Mountains to the east.
The A6 is a sport sedan in the finest European tradition, with excellent front-to-rear weight balance, nimble steering response and excellent power. Because the diesel engine develops up to 428 foot-pounds of torque as low as 1750 rpm, the driver needn’t dig deep into the throttle to set the car in motion.
Turbocharging has the additional benefit of reducing parasitic power loss at altitude. Driving into the foothills of the Superstitions involved an elevation gain of about 1500 feet. There was no perceptible difference in performance between 3000 feet and downtown Phoenix at about 1250.
Both six-cylinder models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Its performance is seamless. Large overdrive gears contribute to the diesel model’s excellent highway fuel economy.
I kept the car in fully automatic mode for most of the drive, but switched to manual gear selection in the Superstitions. I like being able to use the gearbox to slow the car down on steep descents rather than depending on the brakes. Selecting gears manually also enables the driver to keep the engine in its sweet spot: about 3000 rpm.
Visibility around the perimeter of the car is good. I was able to adjust the driver’s seat high enough for a clear forward view. The B pillars are rather thick, but they are slightly behind the driver so as to not interfere with over-the-shoulder visibility.
I drove the car briefly at night. Adaptive lighting swivels the headlamps to light corners of the road that traditional headlamps don’t reach. It makes a big difference in the driver’s ability to see pedestrians waiting to cross at intersections.
When the driver shifts into reverse a split screen projects a wide angle view to the back of the vehicle on one side and an overhead view on the other. Lines superimposed over the wide-angle image indicate the car’s trajectory according to steering input.
All models come with a four-wheel independent suspension that consists of a five-link setup with stabilizer bar up front and trapezoidal-link in the rear. I found it to be firm, yet comfortable. Since Phoenix, Arizona doesn’t get the winter road damage other parts of the country do, it was hard to tell what the ride would be like on harsh road surfaces, especially with the optional 20-inch wheels.
Steering feedback is pleasantly heavy at speed, with more assist on the low end for maneuverability. The sedan’s long wheelbase and large wheels give it a wide turning circle: 39 feet. It’s possible to perform U-turns on wider suburban roads but not in the city.
Four-wheel disc brakes stop the A6 in firm, linear fashion.
Keyless entry and start enables the driver to enter the car and fire the ignition without removing the key fob from his pocket. Inside, the Audi A6 comfortably seats up to four adults. A large floor tunnel takes up most of the legroom in the center, second-row position.
The slanted roofline enhances the sedan’s coupe-like profile, but also reduces headroom in back. It isn’t an issue for smaller adults, but taller people will be more comfortable up front.
I found the power driver’s seat adjustments easy to use, with ample lower lumbar support. A mouse-type device on the center console is within easy reach of either front seating position, enabling both the driver and front passenger to control audio, navigation and performance settings. Redundant steering wheel controls for the audio system and Bluetooth interface minimize driver distraction.
The Audi A6 comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, daytime running lamps, antilock brakes, traction and stability control, all-wheel drive and a pre-sense system that primes the brakes when a collision is imminent.
The factory warranty includes 12 months of complimentary scheduled maintenance and four years of roadside assistance.
Audi builds the A6 at its Neckarsulm, Germany assembly plant.
Like: A sport sedan with outstanding power and performance that offers a 25 percent fuel economy gain over like-powered gasoline equivalents.
Model: A6 TDU quattro Tiptronic
Base price: $57,500
As tested: $66,795
Horsepower: 240 Hp @ 3500 rpm
Torque: 428 lbs.-ft. @ 1750 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 5.5 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 24/38 mpg city/highway2014, Green Hybrid, Luxury 2014, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, Audi, performance, pricing, standard safety
One response to “2014 Audi A6 TDI Quattro Tiptronic”
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