Motoring with Tony Conlon: Audi A6 is a real stellar saloon

You just know when you’ve driven a very good car. You’re left with a bittersweet sensation somewhere between sadness and gratitude that you’ve just experienced something special – and it usually sets in just as I turn onto the motorway at Kilcock heading back to the distributor’s Dublin HQ.

It happened again to me recently as I was returning the latest Audi A6. As cars go, this facelifted German beauty left me with a great feeling of satisfaction.

It all started a week previously when I was handed the keys to a gleaming Ascari blue metallic A6, one of two exclusive colours to the S and S-Line models that costs an additional €2,891.

When I sat into the Audi and switched on the ignition, its new instrument panel delivered the first wonderful surprise. Having become accustomed to many of today’s electric cars displaying driving distances ranging from approximately 300 to almost 600 kilometers, this 2.0 litre diesel was offering me just over 1,100 kilometers’ driving range.

In other words, if I chose to, I could drive to Cork and back without stopping to charge, queue at a charging point and drink more coffee than I could stomach while I waited for my car’s battery to fill up.

There is no mistaking this car as anything other than an A6 for Audi has carried out only subtle changes. Outside, the car has been given a new front end featuring a matte-black honeycomb grille and silver air blades in each corner of the lower apron.

New LED headlamps and rear 3D light clusters are also part of the makeover. While 19” alloys are the normal fit, my test model sat on attractive 21” 5-V spoke dynamic designed alloys. Costing an additional €1,446, anti-theft wheel bolts are also part of the package.

Inside, the A6 has been given the latest Virtual Cockpit Plus system. Simple to use and very intuitive, the system does not look as high-tech as the those in the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series models, however.

But what you do get is a fully digital instrument panel with a 12.3-inch screen and full HD resolution. I could live with this infotainment system all day long.

Complete with the Ambient Lighting Plus package that costs an additional €403, standard fit MMI navigation plus, rear-view camera and a host of safety systems, the car’s standard Audi Matrix LED headlights makes easy work of night driving thanks to their brilliant illumination and clarity.

Everything outside and inside this large saloon car looks well put together. Sitting into the driver’s leather seat and gripping the excellent feel multi-function three-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel imparts a lovely sporty feeling. That sportiness is something that is part of Audi’s DNA.

But the A6 not only offers a swanky interior and beautiful build quality. Selecting D on the seven-speed S-tronic transmission and setting this front-wheel saloon in motion also relayed a special feeling.

It’s always a privilege to control a car that makes driving feel so easy. With the 2.0 litre diesel engine capable of producing 201bhp, just pointing this car into a tight corner is enough to give a very confident feeling of security.

Always predictable in its handling, the Audi’s extra-large wheels made light work of driving on rough surfaces. Apart from it being very accommodating, powerful and secure in its handling, this car produced another unexpected highlight over the course of the test: wonderful economy.

Take it handy and this Audi A6 will deliver economy of 4.54 l/100km (60mpg). Audi has approved many of its diesel engines to now run on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a new sustainable fuel made from waste cooking oil and agricultural residues and which is available from fuel distributers like Certa. But always check with your dealership first. Anyone who can use this fuel in their new car can be confident they are reducing their carbon emissions by up to 90%.

On two counts, I was saddened giving back the keys of this car. Firstly, it felt like I was parting ways with an old friend I’d just got reacquainted with, and secondly, there was the possibility I might never get a chance again to drive such a wonderful diesel car.

My test car was priced at €75,746, including €7,856 options. Now I’m away to buy a Lotto ticket in the hope that, finally, this is the week my numbers come up…