What do a Honda Unicorn’s airbox and an Audi A6 2.0-litre TDI’s fuel gauge have in common? No matter what I do, they refuse to budge. Even as my hands were deep inside my Unicorn, trying to prise the stubborn plastic box out, the exceedingly white A6 arrived home, immediately prompting me to wonder what Jason Statham would think of it. The Audi chap looked a bit shocked as I reached for the door handle with frighteningly greasy hands, so I didn’t touch the car (not until he left, anyway), and got back to dismembering the poor Honda. Yes, I was as excited as Mr Statham would be to see the new Audi A6 2.0 TDI.
However, a few hours and a couple of hundred kilometres later, the fuel gauge remained resolutely at the ‘full’ mark, causing my eyebrows to raise in appreciation. This is certainly one very efficient motor. And though we motoring journalists always make fun of how all Audis look the same, this time, I noticed that people do look...no, make that gaze at the A6. Something about white cars and Indians, methinks.
The other highlight of the car other than the way it looks, is the MMI interface, and the way it moulds the car around you, the driver. Want features? Be careful what you ask for, because the A6 could drown you in its list of creature comforts. A cool-looking screen pops out of the dashboard and lets you control myriad number of systems via a circular knob near the armrest, like the drive select system. Here, you choose between ‘comfort’, ‘dynamic’, and ‘auto’ settings for the engine, drivetrain, steering and suspension. If you want, you can individually tailor each parameter through an option called... er, ‘individual’.
And boy, does it work. ‘Comfort’ gives you a light-as-an-iPod (feathers are passe) steering, that can effortlessly twirl the long and wide A6 through never ending mall parking spirals. The throttle response is more laidback, and the suspension is in its most forgiving mood. Put it into dynamic, and instantly, the steering feels more weighted and business-like, with the throttle response noticeably sharper. What’s more, slot the ‘box into ‘S’ mode, use the flappy paddles behind the steering and your traffic-battling sedan becomes a firebreathing DTM machine. Well, not really, but the difference is that apparent.
Talk about power and 177 bhp might not sound like much on a car like this. But a 0-100 kph time of 9.1 seconds (against Audi’s claimed 8.2 seconds) is pretty respectable and nothing to scoff at. The 38.75 kgm of torque comes in at 1750 rpm via the seamless and fast gearbox, and catches the traction control sleeping every time you want to execute a traffic light getaway that’d do Mr Statham proud. In ‘dynamic’ mode, the A6 goes through corners with gusto – no quattro on this one, only front wheel drive, but that doesn’t stop it from displaying neutral-to-positive handling characteristics up to moderate speeds.
Over the limited time that I had this new A6, I quite came to like it. Though the MMI interface buttons tended to stick and the European ride quality is not suited for the worst of our roads, the anti-Transporter did it all and is quite a stunning car to live with, I must admit. If
I had the necessary Rs 37.70 lakh, I might vaguely consider buying it. As for the bald bad good guy, this is the Audi he’d pick to go across countries, if he wasn’t allowed fuel stops.
Displacement: 1968cc, I-4, diesel
Max power: 177 bhp@4200 rpm
Max torque: 38.75 kgm@1750-2500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Type: Electromechanical steering with power assist
Front: Five-link with anti-roll bar
Rear: Trapezoidal-link axle with
(F/R): Ventilated discs/solid discs, with ESP and ABS
(F/R): 225/55 R17
L/W/H (mm): 4915/1874/1455
Wheelbase: 2912 mm
Boot space: 530 litres
Kerb weight: 1585 kg
0-100 kph: 9.1 seconds
Top speed: 220 kph
Fuel consumption: 14 kpl (overall)
Price: Rs 37.70 LAKH