What is it?
Could this plug-in hybrid Audi A6 be the real-world sweet spot of the range? Yes, everyone loves the idea of justifying an RS6 – it has a boot, it must be a family car – but in reality, it’s a lottery win away.
This A6 50 TFSIe, on the other hand, is more realistically attainable with a starting price of £52,790 for the saloon (our car was S line, hence the £56,450 you’ll see in the spec box). An Avant is due along soon.
It features a 2.0 TFSI petrol engine and is combined with a 141bhp electric motor housed within the dual clutch transmission to give a total system output of 295bhp. That’s on the money with the BMW 530e and the mid-range punch should be healthy thanks to the 332lb ft of combined torque, a smidge up on the 530.
There’s also a more powerful version available, the 55 TFSIe, with a total power output of 362bhp. It’s the same 141bhp electric motor but the 2.0-litre petrol engine has been boosted to make up the difference.
But back to our 50 TFSIe on test. Thanks to the A6’s 14.1kWh battery, eco credentials are equally respectable. It has a claimed 33-mile range, although you’ll dip nearer to 20 in winter, but it will do 84mph on battery power alone so even if your commute has a motorway section, the A6 TFSIe will cope.
Inside, it’s the usual Audi flawless fit and finish. The twin touchscreens might not be to everyone’s liking, but at least they offer haptic and audible feedback, so you’ll know when you’ve turned the heat up to 28deg C by accident, rather than simply slow-roasting yourself.
What’s it like?
The 0-62mph time is a competitive 6.2sec (the 530e does it in 5.9sec), but it’s the acceleration from 30-70mph that’s more impressive. It’s a fast machine, piling on the sort of effortless pace that makes real-world journeys easy, the kind where tractors and lorries jostle with you for road space. The electric motor fills in the traditional turbo lag gap so you get the sense that you’re waiting more for the gearbox to catch up than anything to spool up.
Combined with the smooth ride that does a decent job of smoothing away the sharper lumps and potholes, it feels like a car that’s happy in its own skin.
Downsides? It’s not a rewarding drive. The A6 PHEV does offer quattro – it’s either two- or four-wheel drive depending on what it thinks you need – but there’s no sense of this car rotating neatly underneath you. It’s precise and safe, but not exciting. There’s no feel from the steering or chassis, despite the expensive five-link suspension design, so if you want that sort of experience, you’ll need to look elsewhere.