Any car like the Audi A6 that bucks the trend towards increasingly and needlessly overweight design and actually proves substantially lighter than the one it replaces will always start on the right foot with us. It bears repeating: a light car will be easier to stop, quicker to accelerate, faster through the corners, more frugal and less environmentally destructive than a heavier one. All other things being equal, it will also be more fun to drive.

Although we tend not to dwell too long on looks during the formal evaluation process, the shape is not only more purposeful than before but, with those trademark daytime running lights, also more distinctively Audi than ever. The 2016 facelift did very little to alter this look, with larger intakes and tweaks to the rear diffuser the largest exterior changes.

The A6 comes with all the basics, but many items that should be standard appear on the options list

Under the sleek, modern bonnet remains the oddity of a north-south engine which, for the bulk of sales, is powering a front-drive car — a unique feature in the class.

Slim C-pillars and effective rear quarterlights provide impressive over-the-shoulder visibility. In spite of the wide rear screen, the boot aperture is relatively small, but the boot’s 535-litre capacity is just 10 litres less than the Mercedes E-Class’s and 10 litres more than that of the BMW 5 Series.

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