“Ha, ha, stalled it,” my wife wisecracked as the 2014 Audi A6’s start-stop feature shut the engine off at the top of our driveway. I just smiled and kept my mouth shut while adjusting the four-zone climate control to max out her seat heater. The engine instantaneously turned over as I released the brake pedal and we hit the open road.
The fuel-saving system, one of the many features on our loaded tester, takes over in prolonged idle situations and can be canceled altogether. Another interesting feature on the A6 is that Audi makes it nearly impossible to run out of fuel. Most new cars today go above and beyond to alert a driver when it’s time to refuel. But, despite audible warnings, fuel gauge lights and range indicators, I still see people making the walk of shame with a red gas tank in hand. When our A6 tester starting running low on fuel, a message popped up on the 7-inch screen on the center console with several nearby filling stations. I selected one and Audi’s navigation system enhanced with Google Earth maps, not only gave directions, but also provided a true aerial view of the route along with a street-view photograph of the gas station. The Internet-based system also provides Wi-Fi connectivity for passenger use. The feature, which puts Google’s search engine into the Audi’s dashboard, is free for the first six months and $15 per month thereafter.
Audi offers three engine options for the A6. A turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, a supercharged 3.0-liter, and a popular diesel engine. Our tester, which topped out at $67,295, had the 3.0 liter 6-cylinder “clean” diesel engine that provided plenty of hustle for around town and on the highway. An 8-speed automatic transmission made quick passing acceleration effortless and smooth. I averaged 30 miles per gallon during my week with the A6 and I was able to crank the miles per gallon up to 38 if I kept my cruising speed below 65 on the highway.
Diesel does have it’s drawbacks. It’s messy, it’s not always easy to find and it does cost more, about 55 cents more per gallon over regular gasoline, but provides 30 percent more fuel efficiency.
Our tester had a $2,800 driver assistance package that included a responsive and smooth operating adaptive cruise control. The package also included blind spot monitoring and a system that helps to lessen the effects of a rear-end collision by closing the windows and sunroof and tightening seat belts if fast-approaching vehicles come within a 150 feet of the A6’s rear end. A top-view camera provided an overhead image that made me feel like I was cheating while parallel parking.
The A6’s handling was superb and had me looking forward to every corner and highway interchange. A 14-speaker Bose surround sound system pretty much eliminated any road noise concerns. Center console controls were backlit in red and stood out against an all-black leather interior. Eight-way power adjustable front seats required a fair amount of tweaking to find a desirable driving position. We found ample space in the backseats and cavernous trunk.
Overall I was impressed with the A6 diesel. I found an optimum blend of comfort, performance and space. A few minutes into our drive, my wife urgently requested that we turn down the heat. I dialed down her seat heater and pointed out her passenger side climate controls. “By the way, it didn’t stall, it’s an automatic,” I said. “I know” she said.