The smoothest, most efficient and most fuel-sparing automatic transmission in the premium sector returns to the executive class this week in the latest Audi A6 2.0 TDI and 2.7 TDI multitronic models, which consequently become the most cost effective automatic saloons in the sector. Audi multitronic-inclusive A6 TDI prices range from £26,725 OTR to £30,115 OTR.
Using stepless CVT technology as a foundation, multitronic is unique in eliminating the need for sacrifices in performance, fuel economy and general driveability in exchange for a more relaxed drive. In some cases, the highly sophisticated transmission can actually bring improvements in all these areas compared with a manual equivalent.
Priced from £28,545 OTR, the A6 2.7 TDI SE with multitronic transmission can cover the 0-62mph increment in 8.3 seconds, reach a top speed of 140mph and return a potential 37.7mpg, giving a range of up to 581 miles on a single tank of diesel. An impressively low CO2 output of 200g/km equates to a 30 per cent tax liability for business users, resulting in the lowest benefit-in-kind charge for a premium sector automatic. Attracting a charge of £3,401.04 for a 40 per cent tax payer, the A6 2.7 TDI SE will save company car drivers at least £372 per annum compared with premium brand equivalents.
The incentives to divert to the diesel pump become still more appealing in the multitronic-equipped A6 2.0 TDI SE Saloon. Priced from £26,725 OTR, this model ranks not only as the most affordable executive diesel car in the premium sector, but also combines strong turbo-boosted performance with class-leading economy and tax efficiency for business users. Delivering up to 40.3mpg, it offers a potential range of up to 621 miles on a single tank of diesel, while a comparatively low CO2 output of 189g/km results in a 27 per cent tax liability equivalent to a lowest-in-class charge of £2,865.46 per year for a 40 per cent tax payer.
For 2006, A6 Saloon and Avant models feature an enhanced SE specification with visual impact boosted by an alloy wheel upgrade from a 16-inch 9-arm design to a 17-inch 5-spoke ‘Star’ wheel and a High Gloss Pack that adds aluminium window trim strips, door handle surrounds and sill inserts.
Inside, the standard A6 climate control has been replaced by the even more sophisticated Comfort Air Conditioning System Plus that until now has been fitted only to 4.2 V8 quattro models. Until December 2006, four-cylinder A6 2.0 T FSI and 2.0 TDI versions will also be equipped as standard with a 6 CD autochanger and CD ROM satellite navigation – a combined feature previously available at an extra cost of £1,250.
Thanks to its advanced technology, Audi multitronic is more than a match for the high level of torque developed by the latest Audi TDI engines. Its sophisticated variator, incorporating an exceptionally robust link plate chain, also permits smoother-than-normal acceleration from rest, and eliminates the need for a torque converter, which has been replaced by an oil-cooled multi-plate clutch that helps to avoid the power losses normally inextricably linked to automatic transmission. The clutch also enables the system to adapt its acceleration to suit the situation based on a variety of acceleration programmes.
Multitronic also features a manual mode, which can be selected by moving the gear lever to the right of the gate, and which in this latest generation system offers seven fixed transmission stages, each selected with just one touch of the gear lever or optional steering wheel-mounted rocker switch.