Last Chance To Buy: Audi A6

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When is it going?

When is it going?

The A6 has gone replaced by a new model which is proving rather controversial. As BMW goes avant-garde now is the time for Audi to stick with the staid old A6, except that the new A6 also happens to be five inches longer and 2 inches wider too.

What's good about it?

The A6 makes a change from all the usual German-built suspects. It is superbly built, better than a Mercedes E-Class and easily a match for a BMW 5-Series. The interior particularly sets the Audi apart, although the fit and finish of the exterior panels puts most manufacturers to shame.

There is plenty of room inside. There is also a massive choice of engines ranging from a four-cylinder turbo to some very refined V6 turbo-diesels and high-performance V8s. The RS6 4.2 gets to 60mph in under five seconds. The Quattro four-wheel-drive system is excellent and means on-road reassurance all year round, whatever the conditions.

What's bad about it?

It isn't a 5-Series, the old one. The BMW is still the benchmark for an executive car. The A6 just isn't as good to drive. However, if you are not some ultimate-driving-machine obsessive you will find that the A6 is great. Road testers tell you that the A6 is set up for the motorway and not B-roads. They also moan about uncommunicative steering and a firm ride, but that's just nit-picking.

How much?

Audi dealers are advertising discounts of between £1,000 to £2,000. At Hitchin Audi (01462 439700) we found an A6 1.9 TD Sport at £20,995, that's £2,000 off.

Any snags?

Not really, apart from high-mileage wear and tear. The suspension bushes will probably need replacing once the mileage climbs over 100,000. Also, immobilisers that muck you about can be a pain on some models. Finally, if that finely crafted body has been damaged, returning an Audi to A1 condition will cost you.

FACT FILE

Launched: 1997

Engines: 1.8 Turbo. 1.9 Diesel, 2.0, 2.4, 2.5 Tdi, 2.7T, 2.8, 3.0, 4.2 Quattro, S6 4.2, RS6 4.2

Performance: 2.5 Tdi, 138mph 0-60mph in 9 seconds

Economy: 2.5 Tdi, 40mpg

NCAP safety: ***

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