2014 Audi A6 3.0 TDI – Review and Road Test

By Christian Stampfer on 9 July 2014
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IMG_7397MUNICH—The Audi A6 TDI is one of five diesel models that the Ingolstadt-based automaker offers its customer in the United States. The A6 oilburner competes with the diesel variants of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5 Series in the highly competitive premium sedan market. The current version of the A6 was introduced in 2011 and Audi has launched several four- and six-cylinder diesel engine variants of the car in other markets. The diesel engine range starts with a 2-liter four-cylinder TDI with 136 horsepower output and ends with the 3-liter six-cylinder TDI with 313 horsepower. Also, Audi offers European customers a hybrid version of the A6.

After I had the pleasure of driving a diesel-powered Audi Q5 in the beginning of 2012 and an Audi A7 3.0 TDI Quattro in May 2013 the tradition was continued in March 2014 when I picked up a glacier white Audi A6 3.0 TDI Quattro at the Munich Airport Center (MAC). The car’s white metallic exterior was a perfect complement to the black interior and silver aluminum trim. Other features of our A6 included Audi’s adaptive air suspension, night vision with pedestrian detection, LED headlights, active cruise control with stop & go functionality and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

ENGINE AND TECHNOLOGY

The 3.0 TDI engine of the A6 was engineered with Audi’s latest diesel technology, using the common-rail direct injection system that injects diesel fuel with Bosch piezo-injectors in precise quantities into the cylinders. The two-stage turbocharged V6 diesel engine produces 313 horsepower (230 kW) making it the most powerful diesel engine of the entire A6 line-up. Maximum power is available between 3,900 to 4,500 rpm and offers an impressive 479 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission that distributes the power to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system.

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Next to Audi’s excellent diesel engine, the eight-speed tiptronic transmission and the permanent Quattro all-wheel drive system are the two other technology highlights. The tiptronic allows the driver to switch gears manually at any time. Its dynamic shift program, or DSP, keeps the car in high gears at low speeds to improve fuel economy and shifts at a later point when the car is driven more aggressively. When the driver selects the sport mode via the optional Audi Drive Select system, the shifts are performed even later. The Audi Drive Select adjusts the settings of the throttle, steering and transmission according to the preferred driving mode.

Probably the hardest task the engineers faced was one that is not visible and not (directly) noticeable to the driver. Audi’s lightweight construction of the A6 reduced the overall weight of the car down to 4,111 pounds or 1,865 kilograms (176 pounds or 80 kilograms less than the predecessor). Aluminum components played a big role in the weight reduction and are used for the doors, the side panels and the hood.. The lightweight construction not only increases the performance of the car, it also improves the fuel economy by up to 21% compared to the previous generation.

A feature that was readily noticeable after the first few miles on the road was the active sound design of the A6. The active sound uses two loudspeakers built into the exhaust chamber which make the V6 sound like an eight-cylinder. In concert with the Bang & Olufsen sound system, the sound was most impressive from behind the wheel.

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