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Car reviews - Audi - A6 - Avant 5-dr wagon range

Launch Story

Audi logo29 Jul 2005

By MARTON PETTENDY

AUDI concedes its new A6 Avant will be far more of a niche model in Australia than it is in Europe, where more than 30,000 examples have been sold since its launch in March this year - and where 40 per cent of all Audis sold are wagons.

Nonetheless, the latest A6 Avant joins a long history of popular Audi wagons dating back to the Audi 100 C2 of 1977, and arrives in Australia armed with enough style, technology and value to go head-to-head with BMW's new 530i Touring and a range of E-class Estates from traditional luxury wagon leader Mercedes-Benz.

On sale this week in two variants, the new A6 Avant offers two new engines, larger dimensions, new styling and a number of new advances over its predecessor.

Opening the A6 Avant batting at $84,990 - giving Audi a sizeable price advantage to Mercedes' entry-level E240 Classic ($98,500) - the front-wheel drive 2.4 Multitronic is powered by a 130kW/230Nm 2.4-litre V6, mated exclusively to a continuously variable transmission.

Audi's direct rival for the 530i Touring and E350 Estate - both of which are priced well above it at $114,800 and $130,500 - is the $105,400 A6 Avant 3.2 FSI quattro, powered by the same 3.2-litre direct fuel-injection V6 that recently became available in both A4 and A6.

An all-new engine, it delivers 188kW (2kW shy of BMW's 190kW 530i and 12kW short of the 200kW E350 Estate) and 330Nm of torque, which also falls between the BMW and Benz. The new V6 drives through a six-speed Tiptronic auto and a torque-sensing all-wheel drive system.

Featuring Audi's gaping new single-frame grille, a tall shoulder line, narrow window line and a coupe-like roofline, the new A6 Avant is 4930mm long, 1860mm wide and 1460mm high. The bodyshell is claimed to offer 25 per cent more torsional stiffness than its forebear.

Audi claims the new A6's meticulously planned cargo area is larger and more flexible than before, measuring 110 litres larger at 565 litres - and 70 litres larger with the rear seat folded at 1660 litres - to be almost lineball with the 5 Series.

The "new load area concept" also offers a 1050mm-wide through-loading width, two floor-mounted securing rails with four adjustable and lockable lashing eyes, a retaining strap and a telescoping rod that divides the load space horizontally or diagonally.

Standard A6 2.4 equipment includes two sweeping polished aluminium roofrails, a luggage net, Multi Media Interface infotainment platform, 7.5x16-inch alloys with 225/55 R16 tyres (7.5x17s with 225/50s for the 3.2), a full-size spare wheel, electromechanical parking brake, auto lights, auto wipers, two-zone deluxe climate control, Bosch 8.0 electronic stability control, Xenon headlights, foglights and speed-dependent servotronic steering.

A6 Avant options include adaptive air suspension from the A8, a 270-watt BOSE surround sound system, DVD navigation, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, Advanced Key access system and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

"We firmly believe that there is a market for this style of vehicle," said Audi Australia managing director Joerg Hofmann. "Although the A6 Avant will be a relatively niche model in the Australian market which is currently dominated by SUVs, we are confident that its supremely sharp styling will entice luxury car buyers to consider this car in favour of a less sporty off-road vehicle."

Audi hopes to sell 100 A6 Avants per annum.

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