Our Cars: Audi A6 Allroad

30 December 2019: A6 Allroad or S6 Avant - which would be our choice?

The Details

Current mileage 2921
Claimed economy 47.9mpg
Actual economy 35.7mpg

What's better than one big Audi estate? Two big Audi estates. For the last week I've been driving about in the new Audi S6 Avant which has given me a chance to not only annoy the neighbours when it comes to parking, but also to compare the S6 to our A6 Allroad.

One my be performance and the other more rugged but the two actually have a lot in common. In fact the two cars you see here aren't that different in price. The S6 Avant starts at around £63,000 and with options fitted, the model we're driving is close in price to the £69k price tag of the A6 Allroad.

They also share the same engine. While many may be signalling the death knell of diesel, it still makes sense for big cars designed to cover long distances, so the S6 Avant gets the same 3.0 TDI V6 as the Allroad.

Of course it does have more power as you'd expect with 350PS and 700Nm compared to the 286PS and 620Nm of the Allroad. It also doesn't have the ugly grille either. I'm still not a fan of the awkward vertical chrome strips.


Like the Allroad, the S6 Avant also has a mild-hybrid system, an 8-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox and Quattro four wheel drive. That hybrid system isn't for performance - like the Allroad it uses an electric compressor to provide instant torque and a 48-volt mild hybrid system to enable engine-off coasting and improve fuel economy.

Naturally the S6 Avant is far more accomplished in corners than the Allroad, with its lower ride height and stiffer suspension, but the Allroad does its best to keep up, even if it does feel very much the big estate it is when you throw it into a corner. The S6 on the other hand is surprisingly nimble. 

But in a straight line there's very little between the two. True the S6 Avant has more power but the Allroad is hardly short in this department and both are effortless rapid away from a standstill. The biggest difference is that the S6 Avant doesn't suffer the gearbox lag of our Allroad (yes that's still incredibly frustrating).

It means the S6 Avant is far more eager and responsive, while the Allroad is like a cumbersome whale as you wait for the power to kick in. The thing is, if the gearbox (or at least the software) from the S6 Avant was fitted to the 50 TDI in the Allroad, it would solve all the problems...

« Earlier: The options that are worth spending your money on     Later: Matrix LED headlights - a genuinely brilliant innovation »

They may seem like an expensive gimmick but Matrix LED headlight have proved to be a great innovation - as we've discovered in our A6.
30 December 2019: A6 Allroad or S6 Avant - which would be our choice?
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Our A6 Allroad has an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox but it's not without its issues, as we're discovering.
The A6 Allroad has plenty of good points but its perhaps the quality and design of the interior which really stands out.
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