An Excellent Estate For Families

Audi A6 Avant ultra S tronic.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Audi A6 Avant ultra S tronic.

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The estate or station wagon body style is exceptionally popular in Europe because it combines most of the style of a regular sedan and the practicality of a hatchback. In an estate, the roof extends rearwards and ends in a tailgate, this, coupled with foldable rear seats, means much more space in the boot. I recently had the Audi A6 Avant for a weekend and found it to be an excellent example of an estate car.

The A6 is Audi’s best-selling model in the country and it recently received a face-lift to help it stay competitive with its German rivals. In terms of design, the face-lift encompass a revised front grill, headlights, air inlets, bumpers, side sills, rear lights, and tailpipes. It’s all very subtle, but the end result is undeniably handsome. The new A6 looks very confident and grown-up. But looks aside, the car now also gets a lot more features and options as standard.

One of the most important is Audi’s Matrix LED technology, which is now standard on the A6. The Matrix LED technology combines a camera with a headlight system that is made up individual LEDs that can be turned on or off independently to provide very precise distribution of light.

How it works is that the camera detects cars ahead or cars oncoming in the opposite lane and then directs the LEDs in the headlights to turn off to avoid blinding them. It also monitors your steering inputs and can direct the lights into bends and curves. Though Singapore enjoys a highly illuminated road network, the Matrix LED system can be especially useful for jaunts up north in Malaysia. 

The A6 Avant has remarkable road presence
thanks to its handsome styling and imposing size.
The A6 Avant has remarkable road presence thanks to its handsome styling and imposing size.

In addition to the Matrix LED headlight, the A6 also has Audi’s new and very cool dynamic turn signals - turn indicators that light up in sequence in the direction that you are indicating.

As you would expect, the cabin of the A6 is a very nice place to be in. The thing that most owners would notice as they start the car is the large powerretractable 8-inch touchscreen display that is the key element in Audi’s MMI (Multimedia Interface). 

The touchpad lets you interact with the Audi MMI
using swipes and natural handwriting.
The touchpad lets you interact with the Audi MMI using swipes and natural handwriting.

There are many ways to interact with the Audi MMI, you can use the touchscreen display or the touchpad that is on the center console, or you could even use voice control. Voice control is particularly nifty, because once you activate it using the voice control button on the steering wheel, the car automatically silences the air-conditioning so that it can hear you better.

One of the neat things about the A6 Avant is its
rear seats, which fold down easily to expand
luggage space to a whopping 1,680 liters.
One of the neat things about the A6 Avant is its rear seats, which fold down easily to expand luggage space to a whopping 1,680 liters.

The display and interface are powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 30 processor, and so it should be no surprise that it runs fluidly and that the graphics are really nice. The 3D maps in the navigation app, for instance, are all rendered sharply and quickly with no perceptible sense of lag even when you are swiping to navigate or pinching to zoom in and out of the map. That said, the interface needs further refinement because of its number of options and the great number of clicks required to get things done.

The driving experience is very positive, even if the engine has also been downsized. This new facelift model has a smaller 1.8-liter turbocharged engine, whereas its predecessor had a 2-liter turbocharged engine. But despite the smaller displacement, power has been increased. This model possesses 190hp and 320nm and accelerates from Hardware 0-100km/h in just 8.2 seconds, which means it feels preppy and eager.

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AT A GLANCE:
ENGINE 4-cylinder turbocharged.
ENGINE DISPLACEMENT 1798cc.
MAXIMUM POWER AND TORQUE 190hp/320nm.
FUEL CONSUMPTION, COMBINED 5.9l/100km.
PRICE $252,000 including COE.

CONCLUSION

The Audi A6 Avant has everything a family man needs: lots of space and a calm and soothing ride.

The ride is exemplary of its class and is simply sublime. The car soaks up bumps and jolts like it’s riding on a cloud of marshmallows and never feels hurried or disturbed. Engine, tire and road noise is also kept to a minimum, thanks to double-glazed windows in the front passenger compartment. My only complaint is that the A6’s steering is far too numb and lacks any feel. Then again, the A6 doesn’t profess to be sporty, it’s just a very capable and comfortable cruiser, which I think families can appreciate.

Speaking of families, the A6 Avant offers loads of space in the back. With the rear seats up, luggage capacity is rated at 560L. But once you fold down the rear seats, it expands to a whopping 1,680L, which is big enough to transport bulky items like bicycles and even small furniture. The tailgate is also electronically operated and can be opened by a simple kicking action under the rear bumpers. It’s a small touch, but it’s especially handy if you have your hands full.

Unfortunately, all of these comforts and nice touches don’t come cheap. And if you are looking for practicality, there is no shortage of more affordable options. But what the Audi A6 does very well is how they managed to cram everything into a handsome, comfortable package. If you got the cash, there are few estate cars that are as capable as the Audi A6 Avant.

PICTURES AUDI.