This MK5 model Audi A6 trims up and sets about its rivals with a package that's based on a efficiency, technology and, yes, a bit more power. It'll have its work cut out dislodging BMW and Mercedes but it's hard not to love the care and attention that's clearly been lavished on this car.
Engine-wise, things kick off with the 204PS 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine in the '40 TDI' variants, offered with either front wheel drive or quattro 4WD. For six cylinder buyers, Audi offers this A6 with two powerful, smooth engines - one TFSI and one TDI. The 3.0 TFSI V6 turbocharged petrol unit powers the saloon from rest to 62mph in 5.1 seconds using its 340PS and 500Nm of pulling power, topping out at an electronically limited 155mph.More popular though, will be the 3.0 TDI diesel with 286PS. This unit delivers similar performance thanks to 620Nm of pulling power.
As before, all A6 models are exclusively equipped with automatic transmission. The 3.0 TDI unit is paired with an eight-speed tiptronic and the 3.0 TFSI with a seven-speed S tronic. Both engines channel their outputs through quattro all-wheel drive as standard. In conjunction with the tiptronic transmission, the quattro configuration is based on the more familiar self-locking centre differential format, while the S tronic transmission works with the even more efficient ultra variant, which is capable of engaging the rear axle instantly whenever needed but decouples it during cruising to maximise efficiency.
In conjunction with the tiptronic transmission, the optional sport differential can enhance handling by actively distributing the power between the rear wheels. The driver can select various driving profiles via the Audi drive select system - the wide spread from Comfort through to Dynamic is even more pronounced than in the outgoing model.
The styling of this fifth generation model borrows much from its A7 Sportback and A8 executive and luxury segment stablemates. So there are taut surfaces, sharp edges and striking lines, plus a long bonnet, a long wheelbase and short overhangs. The wide, low-slung Singleframe grille, the flat headlights and the powerfully contoured air inlets lend a suitably purposeful air. In profile, three striking lines reduce the car's visual height. The powerfully taut contours, which are drawn over the wheels, are testimony to Audi's quattro genes.
This shape is certainly very sleek: thanks to advanced aerodynamics, a class-leadingly-slippery drag coefficient of as little as 0.24Cd has been achieved. The interior is larger than the outgoing model. Legroom in the rear exceeds not only that predecessor design but also the space you'll get in core competitors, while headroom and shoulder room measurements in both front and rear are also more generous than previously. Up front, the dash features the black-panel design we first saw on the current A8. As there, the centre console is directed towards the driver, as is the top MMI touch response display, which almost disappears into an aluminium clip when switched off.
Has Audi done enough with the fifth generation version of this car? Many thousands of managers who'll put many more thousands of miles under the wheels of their new A6s every month will feel so. As before, they'll value this car for its quiet, understated professionalism, further marvelling in this guise at its mind-boggling technology and rather wonderful cabin.
Yes, there are perhaps more characterful cars than this smart, efficient and perfectly mannered business conveyance - perhaps even some that feel sharper at the wheel. But it's hard to think of a more complete or cost-effective choice in this sector. It's all very vorsprung durch tecknik. And at the end of a very long day, you're likely to feel that that's what really matters.Click here to find out more about our Audi A6 range