Product Type: Audi cars
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Vorsprung durch technik - but not by design
Audi A6 in general
Member Name: Buzz
Audi A6 in general
Date: 26/06/00, updated on 06/07/00 (293 review reads)
Disadvantages: Ugly, average performance, lacks attention to detail
I have a theory about modern car design. It seems that all you need to do is design and build a bog standard car then hermetically seal it, attach a high pressure air hose and pressurise the bodywork until all of the corners sort of 'pop out' into rounded curves.
To be honest, the Audi A6 doesn’t look too bad head on but when you look at it from the rear it really is a complete catastrophe. It only needs someone from Daewoo to weld the back of an A6 to the front of a Fiat Multipla and they could really clean up in the grotesque design stakes.
I drove a 1.8t for 18 months as a company car that I inherited from my predecessor. I wouldn’t have picked it out of choice and it did nothing in that time to endear me to it.
I should say straight away that I drove a BMW 320 Coupe for three years and a 5 Series estate for a year. I love BMW because of their attention to detail. They really think about the little things that make driving such a pleasure. A good example is the windscreen wipers, which automatically switch from continuous to intermittent mode when the car is standing still, thus preventing that annoying scrape as they try to clear a dry windscreen while waiting at traffic lights. It is these little things that are missing from the Audi.
From a performance point of view, the A6 isn’t too bad. Mine was an automatic with the ‘Tiptronic’ manual gear change option. I found this quite novel for a while, the only problem being when pulling away from traffic lights and you’ve forgotten that it’s in tiptronic mode so it doesn’t change up from 1st, necessitating rapid handwork before the rev limiter is reached. In automatic mode, I found the gear change particularly harsh and frequent when driving in town resulting in an uncomfortable and not very smooth ride. Not something that you would expect in a vehicle of this class.
A particular gripe was the digital readout of mil
eage, outside temperature etc. on the dash. In bright conditions, particularly on sunny days, the display and several warning lights were totally invisible. I sometimes ask myself whether designers actually try these things out before the car goes into manufacturing.
My experience wasn’t helped by the fact that the car needed 3 new turbochargers. The first came about as a result of the hammering that my predecessor gave the car. The Audi dealer who supplied the car rebuilt the turbo and I collected it from them on my first day with the company. Three days later the turbo had blown up again. It was duly returned and two weeks later came back, apparently repaired but emitting oil smoke from the exhaust which I was told was ‘normal’ for the first 100 miles or so. 120 miles later, with a huge cloud of oil smoke from the exhaust, the turbocharger went again. This obviously didn’t bode too well for my future relationship with the car or the Audi dealer whose staff were, more or less indifferent to my plight!
If you want German ‘vorsprung durch technik’ engineering you can get it even better from ‘the ultimate driving experience’ offered by BMW.