We like the Audi A6 sedan. The exterior, as crisply tailored as a Savile Row suit, has a subtly upscale elegance that promises to age as gracefully as Christie Brinkley. The luxo-tech interior sets a benchmark for the segment, combining Audi‘s Virtual Cockpit with a set of haptic touchscreens and bold, architectural forms. The new 3.0-liter, mild-hybrid turbo V-6 powertrain is smooth, efficient, and capable. And it rides with the quiet aplomb of an E-Class, with much less of the nose-heavy feel that bedeviled previous-generation A6s when you start having fun in the corners.
But we like the new Audi A6 Avant wagon even more.
Just look at it: The Avant’s long roof and steeply raked D-pillars transform the A6’s visual signature from conservative to cool, to a car that’s as fashionably multipurpose as a Brunello Cucinelli field jacket.
In Europe, base versions of the A6 Avant can be ordered with four-cylinder engines and front-wheel drive. Our tester, a 50 TDI Quattro S Line, with all-wheel drive and a six-cylinder engine, was more representative of the specification U.S. customers could expect should Audi of America decide to bring the A6 Avant across the Atlantic (it is currently under discussion, say sources). Fitted with adaptive air suspension, four-wheel steering, a full suite of safety and driver-assistance technologies, and a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, our A6 Avant tester was equipped similarly to the top-of-the-range Prestige version of the A6 sedan, which starts in the U.S. at $68,095.
In the U.K., the base Avant costs 5.4 percent more than the base A6 sedan. Applying a similar premium to the U.S. market would have entry-level A6 Avant Premium starting at about $62,000 (a couple thousand below the U.S. market E 450 wagon) and a Prestige A6 Avant priced just over $70,000. For context, a Q7 SUV starts at $54,545 for the 2.0-liter turbo-four Premium model, with the six-cylinder Prestige at $69,695. The larger, lavishly equipped Q8 SUV, the entry-level Premium version of which comes standard with Virtual Cockpit and a panoramic sunroof, starts at $68,395 and stretches to $77,545 for the Prestige model.
That’s quite a needle to thread for Audi of America product planners wanting to appropriately position the A6 Avant for U.S. consumers. But it’s not an impossible task. After more than 1,200 miles from London to Geneva and back in the A6 Avant 50 TDI Quattro S Line, it’s easy to see why 60 to 70 percent of all A6s currently sold in Europe are Avants.