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Audi A6 Avant review: Wunder wagon
REASONS to own a station wagon: It looks more interesting than a sedan and can carry more stuff. Reasons not to own one: some of your elderly relatives will think it looks like a hearse, and will somehow see a need to tell you every single time they see you.
How else do you explain the non-existence of wagons in Singapore when sport utility vehicles (SUVs), which are pretty much the same basic shape, are everywhere?
But here's the Audi A6 Avant, a station wagon you can merrily drive and confound your elders with.
Its rakish rear end looks downright sporty, so while a basic A6 sedan looks generically handsome, the Avant is blessed with a body that turns heads. We should all be so lucky.
Then there's the sheer usefulness of the thing. You can swing 565 litres of stuff through the open tailgate, or 1,680 litres if you fold the rear seats. That sounds like a bootlegger's dream right there, but it's to ferry a "lifestyle" around that you'll want an A6 Avant for.
It's easy to see that capacious rear end being put to use for a big, shaggy dog, a mountain bike, a wakeboard, fishing tackle … whatever it is that active people need to ferry around.
Yet, the true appeal of this car is not the big backside itself, but the fact that it's attached to an Audi A6, an exemplary car as modern exec transport goes.
The cabin oozes quality, while digital gauges and twin touchscreens make it feel as modern as a spaceship. There's plenty of room for five inside, and it's huge in the back, where there seems to be more headroom than in the sedan.
There's no shortage of chassis technology - the car The Business Times tested came with rear axle steering and a clever system that makes the steering wheel more responsive the further you turn it - but the A6 is more yacht than speedboat.
It handles with a reassuring solidity, but isn't particularly rewarding to push hard around corners. That said, it is about a hundred times sharper than just about any SUV, which is enough to make it a winner in my book.
Despite that, the A6's real strength is that it's a fabulously soothing car to be in, with supportive seats and a way of gliding over the road with the sort of comfiness that you once would have had to buy a Mercedes S-Class for.
If your interest is piqued you'll have to wait till early next year to order one, when you'll have your choice between a 2.0-litre version with 245 horsepower and front wheel-drive or a 3.0 V6 with 340 horsepower and all wheel-drive.
Choose the latter for its smoothness, but keep in mind that the Audi is more cultured than exciting so the smaller engine might be the wiser choice, especially since it's likely to be six figures cheaper.
Either way, you might call the A6 Avant an Audi for the audacious. It will stick out like a bee-stung bottom in Singapore chiefly because wagons are scarce here, but driving this tells the world that you have hobbies (and I don't mean stamp collecting) and that you have too much taste in cars to drive an SUV.
As for your elders, never mind how they see it. If you live your life according to what other people think, you might as well be in a hearse already.
Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI quattro
Engine 2,995cc, V6, turbo
Power 340hp at 5,000-6,400rpm
Torque 500Nm at 1,370-4,500rpm
Gearbox 7-speed automatic
0-100km/h 5.3 seconds
Top Speed 250 km/h (limited)
Agent Premium Automobiles
Price To be announced
Available Early 2020