Our Cars: Audi A6 Allroad

13 November 2019: Dear Audi gearbox, what is going on?

The Details

Current mileage 1971
Claimed economy 47.9mpg
Actual economy 35.8mpg

There's much to like about our A6 Allroad. It's comfortable, quiet and has a superb interior. But if there's ony big fly in the Audi ointment, it's the automatic gearbox. And it's starting to become a real issue. 

Our car is fitted with the more powerful 286PS version of the 3.0-litre TDI engine but it has the same eight-speed Tiptronic as the 231PS model. It's also the same gearbox you'll find in many big Audi models like the A7 and Q8.

Get in our A6 and accelerate from a standstill and you'll wonder what the issue is. The Allroad is hugely powerful thanks to that 620Nm of torque and it effortlessly gains pace. The shifts are instantaneous and pretty much impercetible. The problem arises in every driving, especially the kind of thing common in the UK - roundabouts.

If you slow down for roundabout (or a junction) and then ask the A6 to accelerate again you'll find there's a big delay before the power kicks in. It may only be a second or two but it feels like an age when you want to get across a roundabout and there's some big truck lumbering towards you.

Audi A6 Allroad Gearbox

The first few times it happened I thought maybe it was just a one off, but it soon became apparent that it's just the way this gearbox is programmed. I've changed some of the settings, turning off the Intelligent Coasting function for example, but it's still the same. The only way to combat it seems to run it in Sport mode, but even then the problem persists, albeit not quite as pronounced. Also, I don't really want to have to drive around in 'Sport' all the time.

This is delay is something we have noticed in other Audi models with this gearbox and 3.0 TDI engine, however, it seems much worse in our car. A quick phone call to Audi UK gave us some answers though. It seems we're not just imagining it and there is an issue.

Audi AG has admitted there's a 'start-off delay'. It says "The 3.0 TDI (210 kW / 286 PS) has been designed for efficiency and driving comfort. We are aware that this vehicle currently features a certain start-off delay. With a view to product optimisation, we are currently developing and testing suitable measures to improve the engine and transmission control in order to improve the start-off performance.”

So for now all we can do is live with it and hope for a software fix sooner rather than later. It has somewhat taken the shine off our enjoyment of the A6 Allroad. There's no a journey goes by where the problem doesn't become frustrating as you sit there waiting for the power to kick in. It makes driving smoothly annoyingly difficult. Fingers crossed for a fast resolution. 

« Earlier: Simply one of THE best interiors around     Later: Is this A6 worth £70,000? »

Updates
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13 November 2019: Dear Audi gearbox, what is going on?
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