Published on October 6th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Audi A6 1.8 TFSI: Bolder Than Your Average Continental Car
Audi has been causing quite a stir both locally and abroad. It let is German rivals know that. It took a while to get the brand away from its low-key image of the past but now that it’s where it wants to be in terms of global recognition, it’s only going to get more challenging. The brand’s appeal used to be its unique and downplayed approach, but to play with the big boys, you have to bring a lot more to the table. And that’s why the A6 might actually surprise old time fans of the brand – it’s actually better equipped than its competition.
We tested the base model A6, which was only recently launched in Malaysia. This car is propelled by a 1.8-litre TFSI petrol engine, so we really expected something mildly underpowered given its. Instead what we found was a superbly tuned and capable power plant. Despite having the same displacement as the engine that goes into the smaller A4, Audi’s engineers have managed to squeeze out additional power from the unit, giving us 190hp and 320Nm of torque from the motor. This allows the A6 to accelerate to 100km/h from a standstill in just 7.9 seconds.
Just like any great turbocharged petrol engine, it feels at least 50% larger in displacement than it actually is. In typical Audi fashion, every cubic centimetre of engine displacement is efficiently milked for as much power as it can produce, and then some. But perhaps the real star of the show performance-wise isn’t the engine, but the transmission. Audi have equipped this base model A6 with its 7-speed S tronic gearbox – a dual-clutch system that has matured well over the years.
When dual-clutch transmissions first hit the mass market, many found its characteristics to be a little jarring. Now that some years have passed, most of its peculiarities have been ironed out through software updates and hardware revisions. So what you’re left with is something a lot more refined.
In sport mode, gearshifts are a thing to behold – lightning quick and more than eager to stick up to very high revs. And when things settle down a bit, Audi estimate that this powertrain set-up can return approximately 5.7 litres/100km – impressive to say the least.
Design wise, Audi has opted to go for an ultra-modern interior, so instead of a typically conservative continental cabin, you get something quite a bit more engaging. It’s easy to see where Audi was heading with this design direction. While other brands in this segment tend to look to the past for inspiration, Audi is not constrained by lineage and iconography. There is a certain way a Benz or a Bimmer should look on the inside, but the brand with the four rings can simply give their customers exactly what’s wanted. And what screams ‘want’ more than a display that automatically hides itself within the dashboard when the engine is turned off?
That’s right, that 6.5” colour display is electrically extended when in use and tucked away when not. Such a feature is almost never found at this price point, so kudos to Audi for making sure it came as standard. The base model comes with a version of the MultiMedia Interface called ‘MMI radio plus’. Its got a fully activated voice dialogue system, so you can use natural language to communicate with the car instead of just preset commands. Audi’s music interface is pretty easy to use, but like the other German systems, has its own set of rules that take a short while to adjust to.
There is just one complaint about the interior and that’s to do with its use of plastic paddle-shifters – the sort you find in some Volkswagens. In an age where Japanese SUVs that cost half as much can have magnesium ones, why can’t the A6? Material choices elsewhere are difficult to find fault with though. The aluminium trim inserts feel expensive and form a nice contrast against the black ‘Milano’ leather, which quite honestly feels puts its competition to shame. The instrument cluster hasn’t quite reached TT levels of modernity, but it’s still anything but typical.
As for the exterior, the new A6 preserves the distinct look of the nameplate that we’ve come to love and there are enough changes to set this car apart from the outgoing model. For instance, the daytime running lights and taillights now sport a Y-shaped pattern. Put this side-by-side with the older model and it’s clear that the new lights are a natural evolution. The headlamps are particularly striking. Xenon bulbs come as standard, but Audi’s signature Matrix LED lamps are a cost option worth looking into. And while the hexagonal corporate grille doesn’t immediately come across as different, it’s actually a total redesign. It protrudes just a tiny bit more and integrates the logo as part of the design more naturally.
For under RM325,000, the Audi A6 is one the best deals you can get for a German-made saloon of this calibre. Yes, you heard right – for less money than a typical CKD Mercedes-Benz or BMW competitor car, the Audi A6 offers more equipment, a more exciting ride, a highly efficient and powerful 1.8-litre petrol engine and best of all, is made in Germany.
Audi A6 1.8 TFSI Specifications
Engine In-line 4 petrol with direct fuel injection and turbocharging
Transmission 7-Speed S Tronic dual clutch
Max Power 190hp@ 4200-6200RPM
Max Torque 320Nm @ 1400-4100RPM
Selling Price RM324,270.80