What luxury car leaps forward like a bracket-racing muscle car – you’ll swear you’re getting daylight under the front tires – but also gives you almost 40 MPG on the highway?
It’s the new Audi A6 TDI.
Efficiency – and performance.
The only catch is it’s not a cheap date: $57,500 to start for the TDI – vs. $43,100 for the standard (and gas-engined) A6 2.0T.
On the other hand, the TDI A6 is only about $2,400 more than the performance/power equivalent supercharged (and gas-engined) $55,100 A6 3.0 T – and that slight difference up front ought to be made up for pretty quickly in the form of down-the-road savings, given the TDI’s solid 10 MPG advantage at the pump over the 3.0T.
And – if the fur flies in Syria – as seems imminent at the time I filed this review in early September – almost 40 MPG (and being able to burn diesel rather than gas) could become a lot more relevant overnight.
Even if the fur does not fly, this is still a magnificent piece of work. It’s a bullet compared with the base/gas-engined, four-cylinder A6. And it’ll run right on the heels of the supercharged gas V-6… while running away from both of them when it comes to MPGs.
It also cleans the clock of one of its two main potential rivals, the Benz E350 BlueTec.
Which leaves just one rival that might be able to hang with it – the soon-to-be-available diesel-powered BMW 5.
The A6 is Audi’s mid-sized/mid-priced luxury-sport sedan – in the same price/size class as the BMW 5, Benz E, Jaguar XF and Caddy CTS.
But, of these competitors, only the BMW (2014) and the Benz offer (or soon will offer) diesel engines – so that winnows the field down by half. And of the two remaining – the Benz E350 BlueTec and the soon-arriving 2014 BMW 530d – only one – the BMW – offers either the performance or the economy the A6 does.
Much less both those things.
Base price for the A6 TDI (which also includes Quattro AWD) is $57,500 – vs. $43,100 for the base A6 2.0T with FWD and $55,100 for the supercharged 3.0 Quattro (AWD).
The current Benz E-350 Bluetec diesel starts at $53,105.
The almost-here 2014 BMW 530d’s MSRP was not available at the time this review was written but will probably fall somewhere in between.
The star attraction for 2014 is the addition of a turbocharged 3 liter diesel V-6 to the A6’s roster of available powerplants.
The A6’s base 2.0 liter gas engine also gets goosed to 220 hp vs. 211 last year.
Muscle car thrust: 5.5 seconds to 60 (that’s more than two seconds quicker than a Benz BlueTec).
Economy car MPGs.
Adjust almost anything via electronic controls – even the steering feel – to suit your liking.
A gorgeous – and classy – car.
2014 BMW 5 diesel will reportedly be available with a manual transmission – and may outdo the Audi on performance or economy.
Higher price of diesel fuel vs. gas eats away at some of the diesel’s over-the-road economy advantages.
Google is watching you.
Hassle/expense of urea (Adblue), a fluid that must be replenished every once in awhile to keep the car’s emissions control system working as designed.
About two years ago, something very significant happened – even if not many noticed its significance: Mid-sized luxury-sport sedans began to shed their standard sixxes in favor of much smaller – but turbocharged – 2-liter-ish fours. Prior to about 2011, there wasn’t a single car in this class that came with less than about 3 liters – and six-cylinders. Now both the Audi A6 – and one of its main rivals, the BMW 5 – both come standard with turbo fours.
For the same reason – i.e., the increasingly urgent need to satisfy ever-upticking federal fuel economy minimums (set to reach 35.5 MPG less than two years from now) while also satisfying customer performance expectations – both Audi and BMW are trotting out turbo diesel engines as a way to offer better-than-four performance with the gas mileage customers expect – and that Uncle demands.
Benz got there first, of course – but the E350 Bluetec is a generation behind the A6 TDI – and the pending BMW diesel. It’s only so-so efficient (21 city, 32 highway – which, incidentally, is slightly less than the new A6’s 2.0 turbo gas engine gives you) and its performance is, frankly, subpar for a car that starts at $53,105: Zero to 60 takes 7.7 seconds, about the same as a four-cylinder Toyota Camry or Honda Accord that costs half as much and also gets about the same gas mileage.
Now check out the specs of the A6 TDI.
The 3.0 liter turbo-diesel produces 240 hp (30 more than the base 2.0T gas turbo) and – here’s the real deal – an incredible 428 ft.-lbs. of torque at 1,750 RPM. This number needs to be put into perspective. One of my favorite muscle cars – and one of the strongest classic-era muscle cars ever made – was Pontiac’s 1973 SD-455 Trans-Am. This high-performance 7.4 liter V-8 – one of the biggest V-8s ever made by an American (or any other) car company – only made 390 ft.-lbs. of torque.
And didn’t make it until 3,600 RPM.
The ’73 SD-455 Trans-Am could run a high 12 second quarter mile – and lay rubber for 100 yards on the way down the track.
Now, reflect upon the fact that the A6 TDI has 38 lbs.-ft more torque – available at just over half the engine speed.
Of course, the A6 won’t run a 12 second quarter – but it is extremely quick: Zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds, which blows away the Benz E350 BlueTec’s embarrassing 7.7 second to 60 fat man jog. On top of that, the speedy Audi is also economical.
How’s 24 city – and 38 highway – grab you?
Stack that up against the slow-mo’ Benz’s 21 city – and just 32 highway.
I averaged 34.2 miles during the week I had the A6. That’s 2 MPG better than the Benz’s best-case highway number.
The wild card is the soon-to-be-released BMW 530d. Preliminary stats say 255 hp (which would be 15 more than the A6 TDI) and 413 ft-lbs. of torque (a bit less than the A6, a bit more than the Benz). No word – yet – on either 0-60 capability or MPGs.
One thing, though, that is known is that BMW will offer a manual six-speed transmission with the diesel. The Audi – and the Benz – both come with automatics only, though the A6 one-ups the E by coming standard with an eight speed automatic while the Mercedes has a mere seven forward speeds. The A6’s unit features standard and Sport modes, with an additional driver-selectable manual mode controlled via paddle shifters on the steering wheel. It is also possible to tailor the engine/transmission, steering feel and adaptive cruise control settings separately and individually.
As mentioned earlier, every A6 TDI comes with AWD. It’s still optional on the rear-drive Benz.
No word yet on whether the ’14 BMW 530d will be RWD or AWD (either standard or optionally available).
Cars – in general – are now so good overall that when one rises above the rest, it’s a real achievement.
The A6 TDI is such a one.
I can’t say enough in praise of the turbo-diesel engine. It’s an almost no-downside deal. Muscle car performance when you want to hustle – and 600 miles on a full tank.
Off the line, it will literally snap your head back like a Cadillac CTS-V if you’re not ready for the bracket-racer thrust of all that right-now torque. The mid-range, though, is even better. A light downward pressure on the accelerator pedal is all that’s necessary and – just like that – you are at 80. Or 90. Or a lot faster than that. And because the engine is a diesel, it hardly revs to get you there. It doesn’t need to. At 70 MPH in top-gear eighth, the RPMs are about 1,800 – a fast idle, really. This is why, incidentally, the TDI Audi is such a fuel miser on the highway. A gas engine would turning higher RPMs – and so burning a lot more gas. Just look at the A6’s other engine – the 3.0 liter supercharged V-6: 18 city and 27 highway (and 5.2 seconds to 60).
The TDI turbo-diesel gives you almost the same all-out acceleration potential – with the actuality of much better economy no matter how you drive it. I’ve already mentioned I averaged 34.2 MPG – driving in a most non-Clover manner. A 3.0 T driven the same way would return high teens.
And, another thing: In real-world driving, the TDI’s power curve is arguably preferable. Yes, the supercharged gas V-6 will move the car down the line even more rapidly than the turbo-diesel. But, you’ll need to work it harder. Both its peak hp and its peak torque happen way up there in the RPM scale – relative to the TDI. It can be fun, no doubt, to spin a high-performance supercharged engine to the redline. But it’s nice to not have to – and enjoy very comparable forward momentum. Indeed, is it not the essence of luxury to move very rapidly with no apparent effort?
That’s what the TDI does.
And – at the time of this review – no one else does it better.
Some people want a luxury car that bellows – look at me, I have a lot of money!
Audis speak more softly. There is a quiet, self-assured elegance about the A6’s exterior styling that’s very appealing – to me, at least – in a world of often belligerent, nouveax riches garishness.
In fact, Audi has arguably taken over the slot formerly occupied by Jaguar as the brand for people who wanted a really nice car for its own sake, not to make an issue of it for the sake of other people.
But, these are subjective observations. Let’s consider some of the objective ones.
Audi – like BMW, like Benz – adopts a parking brake 180 when it comes to packaging a diesel version of a given model for the US vs. the European market. Over there, the diesel engine typically comes in the lower-trims, with less equipment – at a lower price – with the object being to make the car more affordable to buy as well as to drive. Over here, the diesel-powered version of a given car will typically come loaded – at or near the top-of-the-line – with the object being (apparently) to make the diesel engine more attractive to people who are not used to them – or who may have bad memories of them. You’ve got to keep in mind that – as a rule – the American experience with diesel powered passenger cars has been limited – and often, unpleasant. Noisy, smelly – and slow. No doubt this helps explain why my test car had TDI CLEAN DIESEL emblazoned in huge black and red lettering on each door.
And, no doubt, it explains why the A6 TDI comes with almost everything you can get in any A6 already included in the package – including all the stuff that comes in the almost top-of-the-line 3.0T Premium Plus: 18 inch wheels, LED headlight “underbrows,” HD radio with Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI) mouse input, GPS with fold-out, iPad-style display, real-time Google earthview-topographical mapping (more on this in a moment), in-car Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HD radio … well, you get the picture.
My test car had, in addition to all of those things, the optional Prestige package – which adds LED cabin lighting, S-Line exterior trim, Bose ultra-premium audio with Sirius satellite radio, four-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats, Audi’s Pre-Sense system, which automatically rolls up the windows and closes the sunroof if an imminent crash is detected by the car’s sensors, rear-end collision warning system and a few other bells and whistles besides, including – wait for it – an infra-red night-vision system that can detect the heat signature of a deer or pedestrian up ahead, before your eyes can see it. The thermal image is displayed in between the speedometer and tach.
There is also an Auto-Start (and Stop) system. BMWs and other cars have this feature – which automatically turns off the engine when you’re stopped in traffic in order to save fuel that would otherwise be spent idling the engine. But the A6’s system is different in one important way: The default setting is off – not on. In cars like the BMW 5, it is necessary to turn the system off every time you start the car – if you don’t want the engine (and the AC) to stop every time you roll up to a red light. In the A6, the engine will not stop unless you push Auto-start on (or turn the engine off yourself by pushing the ignition button on the center console).
That’s the way it ought to be. Unobtrusive – and thus, luxurious.
Another objective thing the A6 has in its favor relative to rivals is a roomier second row – 37.4 inches. The Benz E, in contrast, is pretty tight for an ostensibly mid-sized car – 35.8 inches. The BMW 5 is slightly better, but not by much: 36.1 inches.
On trunk space, the A6 is dead heat with the BMW – 14.1 for the A6 vs 14 for the 5 – while both come up short relative to the Benz E, which has a more generous 15.9 cubic foot trunk.
I have very mixed feelings about the A6’s Google-ized GPS system. Google’s motto is, “Don’t be evil” – but we know Google egregiously violates the privacy of Google e-mail users by filching through the contents of correspondence – and there’s good reason to worry that Google is in cahoots with the NSA and data-mining every Google web search, too. So, the question arises: Do we really want Google in our cars? More precisely, monitoring where and when we drive – and even how fast we drive?
Well, check out that GPS display. It gives you a real time-rolling, birds-eye view (from what appears to be about 1,000 feet up, though this can be adjusted either way) of your car in relation to everything around you. A Google Earth view. You can literally see the leaves on the trees around you. Off to the left, there’s your neighbor’s house. Not an icon of a house – a digitized photograph of his actual house. Google knows where he lives – and where you are. And where you’re going – and where you’ve been.
Google also knows what the speed limit is.
Off to the right, on the lower edge of the screen, there is a real time-updating speed limit icon that changes as the posted speed limit changes. Right now, this is “informational.” But – being I think understandably worried about the fact that Big Brother is watching us – I wonder whether the end game is to use this technology to enforce compliance with the speed limit? All the technological pieces are there. It would probably take nothing more than a software update to either over-ride your foot – the car refusing to go any faster than the posted speed limit. Or, to narc you out to the local revenuers – either the state/county. Or the insurance mafiosi. Progressive insurance – one of the biggest of the “families” – already pushes in-car driving monitors. Bet your bippie they’d love to make these things mandatory.
Personally, I’d prefer to not have Google (or Onstar or any such electronic overlord) in my car. As they say, your mileage may vary.
The only other thing I’m a bit ambivalent about is the Audi’s occasional need for AdBlue fluid – that is, urea. There’s a tank that must be periodically topped off with Audi-specific fluid, in order to maintain the full function of the car’s emissions control system. It’s an additional expense – not huge (maybe an extra $100 annually, depending on how many miles you drive) but, nonetheless. It’s also a potential hassle – because if you don’t top the AdBlue off in time, the car’s computer will progressively disable the drivetrain until you reach a point after which the car will not re-start and must be towed to a dealer. Now, this only happens if you ignore about six progressively more insistent warnings over the course of a pretty long period of time – so you’d have to almost deliberately ignore them before you had to worry about calling AAA.
On the other hand, it’s the necessary price we all have to pay in order for Audi (and Mercedes and others) to be able to sell diesel-powered cars in all 50 states – or even in any of them.
So, we must count our blessings – and embrace the technology necessary to end-run Uncle.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Beautiful – fun – sensible, even.
Throw it in the Woods?
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I know this article is quite old now but I was wondering if you might get hold of (or have already) reviewed the A6 Allroad? That’s my dream car. I have had 2x 1997 A6 Avants… which ended up in the junk yard. I currently own an ’02 A6 Avant, a 2014 A8 (for the wife), and a 2015 A4 Allroad (my daily driver).
I just love the brand. And you know its “love” because it’s so irrational. The maintenance on these cars is so insane. One thing I have to say though is: an A6 with 2.0T is a crime against humanity! (nearly) 😀
And I’ve argued this with the dealer up in Rockville that tried to tell me that the 2.0T in an A6 (or a Q5, etc, etc) is plenty fast enough. I guess that’s the corporate propaganda but I was (clearly) not swayed.
I had been waiting forever for Audi to bring back the A6 Avant and I guess that they’re just not gonna do it. That’s why, to the protests of my wife, I never intend to get rid of my ’02 A6 Avant which needs *serious* engine work and has become my project/spare car. I drive it once in a while and I still love it.
Did you hear about the Google Earth thing with Audi? TBH, I think Audi of America is lying about that. They said that as of Dec 2020 that Google Earth will no longer support the video hardware in existing models. That’s baloney. I’m a software engineer for a DOD contractor. Google Earth continues to run on the oldest and “least common denominator” video hanging around any crusty old lab. Audi just doesn’t want to allow it to work IMO.
I really dislike the approach of turboing-up a small engine. It just seems like a recipe for fast aging and higher maintenance. Though my little A4 Allroad (2.0T) is VERY quick off the line, it kinda lacks any real “guts” like my A8. I wanna get it a stage I APR tune for it but I have to wait for the extended warranty to expire first — if I keep the car that long (probably will).
I’m nervous about tuning the A4 Allroad because we had to replace the turbos on my wife’s A8. They just stopped working one day on her travels up to Annapolis! THANK FREAKING GOD we bought the car with an extended warranty! Just over $10K to replace those turbos! The quote was $12K… I think Audi “found a way” to do it for less on warranty. I dunno for sure.
Anyway, thanks for the articles! I brew good beer every once in a while.
Surely a fine machine to drive but the price is insane – and no manual gearbox?
And does anybody who can afford it give a damn about the MPG?
And clearly overloaded with a lot of electronic crap we can do without – certainly when components fail and dealers have you by the balls for replacements. And a device which disables the engine if you don’t follow their rules -horse hockey!
And you said it all about every more surveillance coming on. Finally, that hideous nose on the thing! I will still stay, for good, with my 1972 BMW 3.0 CSi that attracts a lot more attention than current fat assed luxo rides. So what if its getting long in the tooth engine gets whipped in the stop light sweepstakes – the only cops who stop me are the curious – wanting to know what it is! 🙂
I must agree! Why no manual transmission? What a wonderful combination that would be.
I’ve put about 25k miles on a VW Touareg TDI with basically the same corporate 3.0 turbo-diesel in it over the past 9 months or so, and I can’t believe how much I prefer a diesel over a gas engine in 95% of driving situations.
Most of the time when driving, your vehicle runs at fairly low RPM relative to its redline. In a gasoline engined car, this means you have to downshift and build revs to get into the powerband for, say, passing or pulling into traffic, or accelerating up an on-ramp. In a diesel, the powerband is broad and very low so that much less downshifting and much less revving is required to get power. As a result, you get a much bigger surge of power much earlier, which makes the vehicle more tractable in normal driving. This is somewhat attenuated by turbo-lag, but still favors diesel over gasoline in day-to-day driving and passing situations.
Also, and this is ideal for a luxury car, at highway speeds the diesel is as quiet if not quieter than the gasoline engined model. Because it tends to run at much lower RPM, even at 80mph, there’s not much engine noise at all. Most of the noise is from tires and wind. Even when you move to pass, unless you’re really hammering it, the diesel tends to be quieter and more civilized than gas engines as they’re not working as hard to pass.
There are definite, though minor, downsides to a diesel, though. Most noticeably, though the Touareg TDI would happily run all day long at >100mph (if such were legal here), and it effortlessly accelerates from 70-90mph on the interstate, it won’t plant you in your seat at anything above about 50mph when accelerating hard. It also starts to run out of breath around 100mph in the sense that the rate of acceleration drops off dramatically around 90-100mph and you can tell it’s working a bit harder (though still quietly). In a sense, it’s backwards from gasoline engines in that with gas, you feel the power build to a crescendo from a low ebb, but with diesel you have a lot of power and fury at the low end that slowly tapers off as RPMs and speeds climb.
At lower speeds, if you let the diesel “fall asleep” and the turbos spin down b/c of low RPM, if you demand sudden power, the turbo-lag will deny you that immediacy you get from a naturally aspirated car (or supercharged). This is a problem with turbo engines in general, but since most diesels today are turbo-diesels, you’ll tend to see it more with diesels. You can counter this by pressing the accelerator a little earlier than you’d normally do so in a gas powered car, but it definitely requires more situational awareness, which is not something most American drivers are particularly good at.
And for a luxury car, because there is so much low-end power, it’s harder to be “smooth” with the throttle inputs when at low speeds but accelerating as the turbo coming on with power can literally snap your neck back with acceleration. It requires more deft control of the accelerator and some finesse, which is another thing drivers here aren’t generally known for.
There is also the slight problem of filling up. It’s not that it’s hard to find diesel. It’s that it can be frustrating to find the “right” diesel. Somewhere around half of gas stations I’ve seen carry diesel, and the ultra-low sulfur diesel mandated for all on-road diesels is all they are permitted to carry by law. However, there is more than one type of nozzle for diesel pumps, some of which appear to be designed for semi trucks and other large diesels and will not operate on an Audi or VW. You can’t always tell until you get up to the pump and check the nozzle. Also, there’s this diesel variant called “biodiesel” which is basically vegetable oil mixed with diesel. In older diesels without all this emissions crap on them (pre-2008 or so), biodiesel works fine, and it’s a LOT cheaper (over $1.00/gallon cheaper). BUT, modern diesels cannot handle it. The VW group engines are only rated for B5 biodiesel or less, which means 5% vegetable oil at maximum (and 95% real diesel at a minimum). Same for BMW and MB. The biodiesel pumps I saw were rated for “5 to 20 percent biodiesel” but were not more specific than that. Incidentally, they were charging about $2.50/gallon of biodiesel last week whereas regular diesel was running around $3.65/gallon. That would be because of government subsidies to biodiesel (much like ethanol). I also only ever saw biodiesel in the midwestern states, particularly Illinois. Not surprised.
Now some thoughts on a couple of the comments EP made.
First off, the cost difference between diesel and gasoline is still generally going to favor diesel in this type of car WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT most gas powered cars in this class are going to demand premium fuel. In the 9 months I’ve owned this diesel, and having put 25k miles on it literally all over the US (filling up from sea to shining sea), only 3 of those months has diesel actually been more expensive than premium (91 octane) gasoline. For about 3 of them it was less than mid-grade (89 octane) gasoline. A few rare times it was less than regular (87 octane) grade gasoline. So for 2/3 of the time I’ve owned it, even with the mandated and more expensive ultra-low sulfur diesel, the diesel has still cost less per gallon than premium gasoline. Comparing apples to apples, you will likely break even or possibly be ahead vs. a car that runs on premium gasoline, as most German luxury cars do. As an added bonus, having an estimated range of nearly 800 miles on a tank of fuel means long-distance highway cruising is its forte all while getting excellent mileage. You don’t have to stop at the suspect gas stations and find one that looks cleaner/safer (e.g., no cops parked out front).
Second, I don’t like the emissions controls on these new diesels. I would estimate that without them, I’d be seeing a 2mpg increase in economy and more power to boot. But I don’t really see the AdBlue cost itself being a big issue. It will actually be FAR LESS than $100/year to refill that tank. Considering that the price of DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) has dropped considerably (thank you free market) since it has been required (screw you government), I can completely fill the tank for about $30 myself. It’s not as easy as, say, filling a windshield washer fluid reservoir, nor is it as cheap, but it’s not really an issue. I’m more worried about the fact that this is one more complicated and entirely unnecessary system that can break, require expensive repairs, and sideline the whole vehicle until it’s addressed. That and it adds weight, exhaust restriction, and burns extra fuel by injecting it directly into the exhaust periodically to burn off the soot, all contributing to loss of efficiency.
That said, except in sports cars, I would tend to favor modern diesel over gas engines in most automotive applications. I’d certainly favor it over hybrid or electrics. A diesel hybrid powertrain, though, might be interesting. . .
A few observations in reply:
The version of the 3.0 TDI in the A6 is a bit stronger (at least on paper) and the Touareg is both much heavier (by almost 1,000 pounds) and far less aerodynamically efficient.
It is probably also geared differently.
I’ve driven very few SUVs that don’t begin to feel winded (because they’re struggling against the wind!) at 100-plus MPH, irrespective of their hp (or torque). I’d have to do the math to give you a specific number in this specific case, but I’d ballpark it that the Touareg would require 40-50 percent more power than the A6 to accelerate comparably from say 100 MPH to 140 MPH.
I can tell you, having driven the A6 extensively, that there are no issues with get up and go at any speed in this thing. Not by my standards, at least – and my standards are pretty high! Remember: 0-60 in a bit over 5 seconds. That would have been considered supercar performance in a gas-engined high-performance sports car not so long ago.
And from 60 to 80 is an eyeblink.
Unmentionable (in print) speeds are very accessible. Speeds far in excess of any realistically usable speeds in this country.
And in Europe, where such speeds are permissible, I suspect this car would be a joy to drive from say Munich to whererever at “supercruise,” around 140 MPH, without having to to stop every 100 miles to refill the tank!
what MikeP says really comes down to a choice of trade-offs made by Audi.
That diesels are fully as good if not better than gas engines in the respects he mentions has been proven by Audi how many times now when winning Le Mans with DIESEL engines in 1-2-3?
why overpriced, when it is better than its direct competition and more so than most others?, What is that measured against?
Yeah, it aint cheap, but check out the labor costs per hour in Ingolstadt, they just can’t do it for less (compare to the price in Germany for example).
ditch google for searches, use:
check them out, they don’t collect and snoop like google.
A few months ago, I was following a US Spec. Audi R8. As he braked and signaled for a right turn, his right brake light began flashing – on a car which costs well over $100.000. Did your test A6 have this same cheap, US style lighting?
I never thought I would say this, but I like this Audi. The car is quite a bit over priced, but what a nice piece of machinery. That mileage will only improve once the engine breaks in too. That car meets every want and need I have. Performance, styling, mileage, and lack of noise.
I was thinking: If the SHTF today – if the maniacs start WWIII – at least I’ll have this car.
Of course, with my luck, WWIII will start tomorrow – and I’ll have a SmartCar to review.
LOL. Visions of Eric hiding out in his compound with a 55 gallon drum of diesel & a new Audi.
If I were to purchase a car in this price bracket…….well, fuel economy is just not too crucial. And at this price point, I’d prefer a gas engine.
Torque is essential…even great. It’s what gets you moving off the line. But without equal horsepower, the rush is over way too soon. Torque and horsepower should be in relative balance. In a car the A6’s size 400/400 seems about perfect. And I’d rather have 425 bhp with only 300 ft lbs of torque than vice versa.
Don’t get me wrong. These new diesels are awesome! Perfect for luxury SUVs. And just fine for solid, pragmatic Teutonic transportation cars.
Nevertheless, when you get into luxurious, sporty, PERFORMANCE cars, even these new diesels are…. to be charitable….kind of silly.
Not having to fill up more than once a week is a small but definite perk. I drove the snot out of the thing and it still has about an eighth of a tank left (they’re picking it up today). I’ve driven the supercharged 3.0T also and that thing would have been sucked dry in half the time, driven the same way.
And the TDI launches like an angry Brahma Bull. Much stronger-feeling coming off the line than the 3.0T – and more relaxed feeling at high speed, too. Imagine running around 80 – at less than 2,000 RPM.
There is also longevity/durability to consider. Now, granted, I would not personally buy any high-end car (with all its myriad complex and expensive systems) if I intended to own it much longer than eight or so years. But, I would bet on the TDI engine to last longer without problems than the 3.0T or even the 2.0T simply by dint of being a diesel.
In any case, the point I was hoping to get across in the review was that this diesel is one of the first such cars that doesn’t make you compromise performance to get superior economy.
2-3 tenths of a second to 60 (vis-a-vis the 3.0 supercharged) is a negligible difference that is hard to detect by seat of the pants feel. Side by side, on a test track, the 3.0T would be maybe half a car length ahead of the TDI after a 0-60 run.
But a 10 MPG difference at the pump – and that’s lowballing it – is a difference you can see every time you go for drive!
I’m not an expert when it comes to performance cars. However my A3 TDI is a kick in the seat to drive, especially on some of the twisty mountain roads out here in Colorado. The 2.5 TDI engine is just amazing and driving from home to Las Vegas on one tank of fuel (about 550 miles) is almost surreal. Passing on the highway is done in 6th gear, no kickdown needed.
My main complaint is the flappy-paddle transmission (and lack of clutch) since it likes to second guess what gear I want. It also won’t ever disengage the clutch and let the vehicle coast unless you actually shift into neutral. Very unnerving for anyone who’s driven a stick, and it did take some getting used to.
The other complaint is the Bose stereo. I’m surprised they continue to put this hunk of junk in their higher end cars, especially when they have the Bang & Olufsen system available. I had an A5 loaner with the B&O stereo and it sounded incredible. The Bose in my car is a constant source of frustration, I can never seem to get the EQ settings right. I would have preferred to order it with no stereo at all, just pre-wired for speakers amp and a head unit, but because I had to get it packaged with the other stuff I did want I’m basically stuck with it.