Our Cars: Audi A6 3.0 TDI

20 January 2012: The top 5 options on the A6

The Details

Current mileage 7922
Claimed economy 47.9mpg
Actual economy 41.3mpg

When I chose my A6 I could have spent hours going through the list of optional extras. In fact, I surprised myself at how sensible I was in only choosing a few options, adding 'only' a few thousand pounds (well £5k to be precise) worth of extras. Considering I've tested similar A6 models with knocking on £35,000 of options, mine is pretty sparse in comparison. The options list is expansive and there's an almost overwhelming choice. But the question is, what are the ones you should go for? Well I've picked out, in no particular order, what are my top five choices.

1. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) £1800

Acc

On my trip to Frankfurt back in October I realised how useful the adaptive cruise control system would have been. It's a big step forward from standard cruise control and especially useful considering how busy UK roads are. On the A6 it also includes a stop & go function and Audi pre sense front.

Basically it works by using a radar to regulate the speed as well as the distance from the vehicle in front. If the car in front slows or someone pulls into your lane on the motorway, the system will slow the car down. Once it's clear, the A6 will accelerate back up to your chosen speed. Cleverly you can choose between four distance modes depending on how close you want to be to the vehicle in front.

The radar scans 250 metres ahead and there's also a small video camera in the base of the mirror that looks 60 metres ahead. This means it can recognise complex situations such as busy traffic on a motorway or roundabouts. It also uses route information from the sat nav to calculate the driving line of the road, even in bends. In town it's even more impressive. The system slows the car to a stop in traffic and uses signals from the park assistance sensors in the front bumper to start the car again automatically.

2. Head-up display £1450

Audi A6 Head -Up Display (2)

BMW was the first to introduce a head-up display system on the previous generation 5 Series. So it's no surprise to see Audi hot on its heels - it made its debut in the A7 Sportback and is now available on the A6 Granted, the system isn't especially cheap but it is very useful. It projects speed (and sat nav directions if you want it to) onto the window so it sort of hovers about 2 metres in front of the car. It's height-adjustable too. All very Top Gun. Usefully it gives you a constant reminder of your speed and means you don't have to take your eyes off the road.

3. MMI Touch (part of MMI Navigation Plus) £1175

Audi A6 MMI Touch

This is definitely one of those 'wow factor' features and something that always impresses people the first time they see it. If you opt for the the upgraded Navgation Plus not only do you get a higher resolution and larger 8-inch screen plus 20GB of music storage, but it also includes MMI Touch.

This is a small square pad on the dash (on my A6 this is replaced by six standard buttons for the stereo) which lets you actually write out letters and numbers with your finger which the sat nav will recognise, so you can spell out your destination without taking your eyes off the road. The system even recognises characters from languages that don't use the western alphabet while a special coating ensures that the touchpad can withstand 600,000 input operations without any tangible wear.

4. Adaptive light and high Beam Assist £690

Audi A6 Adaptive Lighting

It may be the cheapest option here but it's one of the most useful, especially if you do a lot of driving in the dark. The adaptive light system changes the headlights according to where you are, with different settings for the city, country roads and motorways. The unit uses a small video camera in the base of the rearview mirror along with data from the optional MMI navigation plus system to anticipate changes in lighting depending on where you are. So for example the cornering light will be triggered before the car reaches a junction to aid visibility.

The other part is high-beam assist (which is available on its own for £140) which automatically varies the range and width of the headlights between dipped and full beam according to the road you're on. The best bit is that it can detect the lights of on-coming traffic and will dip the lights for you so you don't dazzle people coming the other way.

5. Quattro/sports differential £1100

Audi A6 Sports Differential (3)

The quattro sport differential was first used by Audi on the S4 and RS5 and in the A6 range is available with the 3.0 TDI quattro and the 3.0 TFSI quattro versions. It continuously distributes power between the rear wheels, working even more quickly than the electronic stability program (ESP).

Depending on steering angle and speed, the system works out the best distribution of torque to the wheels. So when the car accelerates in a corner, power is redirected to the outer rear wheel. This has the effect of 'forcing' the car into the corner so that the angle of the front wheels is followed accurately.

In everyday driving it means that the A6 feels more agile in corners with less steering input needed. It's not cheap at more than £1000 but it does make the A6 feel a lot sportier and if you push the car, you'll notice better traction through corners.

« Earlier: Auto Start-Stop: Good or Bad?     Later: A6 or A5 Sportback »

Updates
The past six months with our A6 have absolutely flown by and it's proved to be a real favourite so we're sad to be saying goodbye.
The A6 doesn't come with front fog lights. Well, not the traditional type - instead it gets 'all-weather' lights which are actually more effective.
A recent test of the revised A5 Sportback got me thinking about how similar it is to our A6. And surprised at how closely matched they are.
20 January 2012: The top 5 options on the A6
There's a vast number of optional extras available on the A6 and here are what I reckon are the best five.
Fuel saving engine start-stop systems are becoming more common on new cars, indeed even our A6 3.0 TDI has one.
I've left it a little late but with the cold weather on the way it's time to get our A6 properly prepared with some winter tyres.
The A6 is fitted with plenty of advanced technology under the skin, with lots of features designed to make living with it easier.
Our A6 has already racked up 5000 miles in less than three months and the 3.0 TDI engine is getting better and better.
I've spent a lot of time behind the wheel of the A6 lately. Much of it in traffic. But it's given me plenty of time to play with the Audi MMI.
Audi offers a great choice of alloy wheels on its models with some superb looking designs. And when it came to the A6 we were spoilt for choice.
The A6 goes straight to work with a mammoth pan-European trip to Frankfurt and a chance to test out motorway economy.
The new Audi A6 is the latest addition to 'Our Cars' and the 3.0 TDI quattro S Line version we've chosen has already had a hectic start to its time with us.
 

Value my car