The A4 Avant's Big Sister

By: Neil McGarry

Owning an A4 Avant, I was very excited about driving the bigger A6 Avant. This car has 98.3 cu. ft. of interior space and can easily hold 4-5 adults and their gear. Click here for dimensions. The optionally heated rear seats have great legroom and no one goes cramped. If you believe the A4 Avant just isn't big enough for four people and their gear, the A6 Avant might just be the ticket without buying a SUV! 

Even with the optional 16" wheel package, this car seemed a bit soft for my tastes. It's suspension is setup for highway cruising and it sports touring tires. I did have a quick fix though. I mounted my 8.5 X 18 BBS RCs (offset 32) with 225/40 18 Sumitomo HTRZ II. These tires just transformed the Avant. I couldn't see any downside to wheel/tire upgrade. The plush suspension kept the ride from being harsh and the meaty rubber made the car much more connected to the road. The before and after look was striking. The big wheel/tire combo accented the Avant's impressive lines with it's low .28 drag coefficient. The car was now setup to drive! I tested the car on twisty mountain roads,  the open highway and my daily commute. I thought the ride quality was improved on all types of roads.

The A6 Avant would make an excellent ski/snowboard vehicle. With the 60/40 split rear folding seats you can fold down the 40% side for your boards and still get two people in the back seat. We tested the cargo space of the Avant by loading up a large adult sized scooter and driving up the twisty road to Cougar Mountain for a free run down the mountain.

The only negatives I had with this particular Avant were:

  • The stock touring tires (First thing to upgrade if you buy this car)
  • No manual transmission option (The Tiptronic is the best compromise I have driven)
  • The Terra Cotta interior did not go with the Black exterior (IMHO)

Would I buy this car? Maybe. The A6 can be had for under invoice in many parts of the country and it's equipment level makes it a good value. I think I will just have to wait on upgrading to the bigger Avant until the 2.7TT or 4.2 versions are available in North America.

Road Trip with the A6 Avant

By: Jason Teller

Audi calls the A6 Avant its luxury touring wagon. After a 1000 mile road trip I would have to say that this description is right on the money. Putting the day-to-day city driving aside for a moment, this car is amazingly adept at providing all the comforts that driver and passenger might require on the highway. From the dual-power seats to the auto-dimming mirrors to the ample leg and cargo room -- this car has roadtrip written all over it.

The first leg of our trip took us from the Toronto area northwest to Montreal by major highway. From there we headed north into the Laurentides to the Mont Tremblant resort. Taking the long way home meant nearly two hours of twisties as we wound through the mountains and ended up, eventually, in Ottawa. More highway driving brought us back to Toronto three days later.

One of the simple pleasure of this car is actually available in most of the models produced by Audi. The Tiptronic is a great feature when you are in bumper to bumper traffic like we were on the way out of town. Whereas shifting a manual would soon get tiring, the automatic transmission makes heavy traffic a breeze. And if you want to drive a little more aggressively at some point you have the ability to shift "on the fly" and control exactly which gear you are in at any given time. I'll admit that I'm not a fan of automatic transmissions, but if you have to have one then this is the best compromise I've ever experienced.

The A6 was extremely comfortable during the trip. One reason, of course, is the space. Compared to my personal A4, the A6 feels very wide inside. The dual zone climate control is a nice added feature. The A/C in our car was working hard while we were stuck in traffic the first day. Check out the temperature gauge reading!

Coming back to the day-to-day driving aspect of this car, I'll say that it is also above average. The engine is responsive and the car feels solidly planted on the road and around curves. Ergonomically the cabin is well laid-out and all necessary switches and gadgets are within easy reach. Features such as the auto-dimming mirrors, memory power seats (which are linked to each driver's individual key fob) and fairly decent stock stereo make the car very driver-friendly.

My only complaint with our test vehicle was the stock tires -- it would be my first upgrade if I were to buy the car. The tires said "touring" right on them and didn't have a lot of performance bite. During hard cornering or agressive lane changes I definitely felt like the tires were the weak link.

The A6 Avant is a great alternative to a fully decked-out SUV or mini-van for the family on the go. As the Audi press release points out, you don't have to give up taste for function.

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