They say time flies when you’re having fun – I’ve been having plenty and that is all thanks to our latest long-termer, the A6, a nameplate which you may find hard to believe has been around for 25 years. Debuting back in 1994 as the replacement for the Audi 100, it is now into its eighth generation and has built up quite a reputation over the years to take the fight to the likes of the 5 Series and E-Class. It’s now the kind of car that you know will be really good before you even get in and drive it. It comes loaded with all of the latest technology and safety kit and as an added bonus, has been wrapped in a very attractive exterior too.
Our 2019 tester is a Daytona Grey, 55 TFSI packing a 3.0-litre V6 producing 340 horsepower and 500Nm of torque (mated to a seven-speed S tronic automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive) which we have bagged for a whole month and our intention is to see whether it meets the dynamism of the BMW and all-round brilliance of the Mercedes-Benz, its two biggest rivals in the premium mid-size saloon segment. I think I have already come to a pretty definitive verdict whether or not it has managed to achieve this in just my first week with it. Note to Audi: this does not mean I’ll be dropping it back early - if anything, I may just be asking for an extension because it is… Hang on a sec, I can’t reveal my final thoughts this soon. I’ll keep you guessing for a little while yet and so for week 1, I would like to turn your attentions to its handsome exterior.
Aesthetically, it takes a few styling cues from the new A7 Sportback and the A8 and features sharper lines, harder angles, and more defined details. This is not a complete reboot when compared to the previous generation but there are more than enough differences to warrant the “all-new” label. Starting at the front, the Singleframe grille with its thick polished metal surround jumps out and it is flanked by a pair of squinty HD Matrix LED headlights; the grille and lights dominate the fascia while the new large intakes in the bumper help to give the A6 an aggressive look.
Its profile is even more alluring; aside from the long bonnet line and a roof line which pushes towards the tail, the highlight of the exterior has to be the bulky rear fender flares which hark back to the old Quattros of the Eighties and add some visual muscle.
It boasts a 12mm longer wheelbase than the predecessor (providing 21mm more interior room) and short overhangs, while the rear gets horizontal taillights which sweep in from the fenders and feature a chrome strip that runs through the middle of them to connect them across the boot lid.
It rides on a set of cast alloy five spoke 20in wheels that totally fill the arches (optional 21’s are also available, surely they’d rub?) while the S-Line package adds honeycomb inserts on the front and rear bumpers, a rear diffuser in matte titanium black and illuminated aluminium door sill trims. Overall, the exterior looks very good indeed - but it has some of the worst fake exhaust tips I have ever seen! Visible right below the phony chrome tips is the actual exhaust - Audi could have done a better job in hiding them.
The body consists of a mix of materials of aluminium and steel that contribute to high rigidity and it exudes sporty elegance, sophistication and stands out with its balanced proportions and athletically taut surfaces. It sure is a striking looker and although you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this one has made a very solid first impression.