STYLISH BUT NOT fashionable. Upmarket but not flashy. Modest but not humble. Techy but not nerdy. These are the fine lines trodden by the new estate version of the Audi A6, and quite possibly by many of the people who will be drawn to it.

Offering vast interior passenger space, a practical rear end, all the kit you can find on the more expensive A7 and A8, and some punchy powertrains, it poses serious questions about why you’d look at any other type of car.

But does it do enough to distinguish itself from the key rivals – the Mercedes E-Class, the BMW 5-series and the Volvo V90? Possibly not. While its handsome looks, tech-heavy interior and all-round quality are very impressive, it’s up against a bunch of excellent and well established alternatives.

AUDI A6 AVANT SPORT 40 TDI

> Price £40,740 > Engine 1968cc 24v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 201bhp @ 3750 295lb ft @ 1750rpm > Transmission 7-speed dualclutch auto, front-wheel drive > Performance 8.3sec 0-62mph, 149mph, 60.1mpg, 124g/km CO2 > Weight 1710kg > On sale November 2018
VERDICT
Polished, but not the best estate
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The whooshy 3.0-litre V6 diesel (badged 50 TDI) with air suspension isn’t as wafty and smooth as an equivalent E-Class (nor as vast inside) and it’s also not quite as responsive to drive as a BMW 5-series.

The all-wheel-steering option is effective at making the A6 feel much more agile, but it’s never quite as refined nor as sporty as you might like when you flick between modes. A standard steering set-up combined with adaptive dampers is much more effective and indeed really rather pleasant.

We’d suggest picking the entry 2.0-litre diesel (badged 40 TDI) in a modest spec – Sport or S-line trims are available – and you’ll get a refined, composed, grown-up estate car that just gets the job done efficiently and without any drama. TOM GOODLAD


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