Previously the 2.0-litre TDI S tronic S line would have averaged 61.4mpg and emitted 119g/km of CO2. Now, however, it returns 64.2mpg and 115g/km – thanks to a coasting mode for the transmission and a revised stop-start system.
VED and the company car tax band remains unchanged at £30 and 19 per cent respectively, though, compared to its predecessor; those in the 40 per cent tax band will consequently pay £240 a month in company car tax for the A6. The similar BMW 520d Touring, in paddle-shifted automatic SE specification, will cost a lesser £228 a month.
Pocket the £2450 premium for S line trim and that monthly premium falls to £212, in part because of a 1g/km drop in CO2 emissions – the result of one-inch smaller wheels – that knocks the Audi into a lower tax band.
A 2.0-litre diesel, with a focus on economy, might not sound like a great option in an estate with a kerb weight of 1800kg, but fortunately the Audi’s quiet, smooth engine produces a stout 295lb ft between 1750-3000rpm – and 188bhp between 3800-4200rpm. This grants the Avant adequately swift performance, with Audi claiming a 0-62mph time of 8.5sec and a top speed of 140mph.
The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission remains an impressively swift-acting gearbox. Torque steer is pleasingly minimal in the dry, and traction plentiful, so for the most part the A6 refrains from descending into a cesspit of front-driven scrabblery. Occasionally the transmission can skip to too high a gear at too low an engine speed, in an effort to eke out maximum efficiency, which causes a slight drone – but not a particularly intrusive one.
Even in S line specification, the Audi’s ride is pleasingly damped and well controlled, with minimal body roll in corners and none of the harshness you might expect. Predictably the A6 lags behind a little on the involvement front compared to a BMW 5-series, but its steering is precise, its brakes strong and front-end grip is high.
Practicality remains a strong point, with plenty of room for five adults in the quiet cabin – although the central rear passenger will have to straddle a fairly hefty central tunnel – and a decently sized boot. A large 73-litre fuel tank also grants the A6 a potential range of 1030 miles. We averaged 46.3mpg without effort during our test, translating to a 740-mile range – but no doubt attaining more would be comparatively easy.