Industry support for diesel has definitely begun to waver in recent years. The furor surrounding Dieselgate and the resultant bad press that the fuel-type has received has led to an environment in which diesel is no longer fashionable. There are, however, certain OEMs that are resolute in the backing of diesel. And no manufacturer is more prominent in this than Audi.
It’s 30 years now since Audi launched its first turbocharged direct injection model, and yet the technology is as relevant as ever. The latest model to benefit is the A6 40 TDI.
At the heart of the German manufacturer’s entry-level A6 is a reworked, turbocharged 2.0 four-cylinder that is equipped with a common-rail injection system. Importantly, this engine now benefits from an alloy block rather than steel, reducing its weight by a whole 20kg. In this application, the EA288 diesel unit will output 204ps and 400Nm of torque, and comfortably provide up to 4.6l/100km fuel efficiency.
On paper, the 40 TDI is currently the most modest of the A6 powertrain options, but the performance is surprising. This engine, which is paired with Audi’s 7-speed dual clutch transmission, will get you from zero to 100km/h in 8.1 seconds. And although the gearbox can sometimes struggle second guess what you want to do, in most situations the saloon is a joy to drive. It feels quiet, refined and there is plenty of power across the rev range.
Sitting behind the wheel, the A6 is an enjoyable place to be. NVH generated by the powertrain and the road is minimal and the steel sprung suspension enables a ride that handles bumps with composure. And despite the 40 TDI’s size, the front-wheel drive system gives the feeling of agility, connection to the road, and it ensures little body roll in corners.
The Audi A6 finds itself in a category that is notoriously competitive, with both the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class vying for the same customer base, but at just north of £40,000 (US$49,950) the 40 TDI represents a fantastic choice. It’s a car offers a highly refined, comfortable drive, excellent efficiency and a welcome degree of dynamism. It wouldn’t even surprise us if people opt for the 40 over its bigger brother the 3.0-liter V6 50 TDI.