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Why does my new Audi A6 have a start button and a push button handbrake?

I recently purchased a new Audi A6 Avant to replace an A4 convertible now that we have a new addition to the family. I am a big fan of the Audi range and I am broadly pleased with the car: the 2.0 TDi engine being sufficiently gutsy and the overall driving experience is one that I would recommend, with two exceptions. Firstly, why have manufacturers decided that an ignition key must be replaced with a 'start button'? To start the A6 requires some patience and negates its use as a getaway car. Secondly, and even more irritating, what is wrong with a good old-fashioned handbrake? Replacing it with a button makes no sense at all and it seems to me that it is a perfect example of over-engineering.

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Right and right again. Removing key starters gets a few more NCAP crash safety points because there is no longer any lock and key to kneecap the driver in a crash. Unfortunately a start button makes the car extremely easy to steal by decoding the security system via the OBDII port. The theory behind electric parking brakes is that they can clamp rear brake discs more effectively than a lever and cable system. But if BMW can fit a proper lever operated parking brake to the F30 3-Series, why can't Audi fit one to the A6? Electric parking brakes seem to last, on average, up to four years before they fail.
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