Audi A6 Ultra


Price: £34,365
Engine capacity: 2.0-litre diesel
Power output: (BHP @ RPM) 187 @ 3,800
Top speed (MPH): 144
Fuel economy (MPG): 64.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 114

Sitting on the side of the A1 by Blyth in rural Nottinghamshire, with the worrying glow of an engine warning light in front of me, I had more time than usual to reflect  on the qualities of the new super-frugal saloon from Audi.

If you happened to be passing last week and saw me hunting for a signal to call the breakdown company, you may not have noticed that my test Audi A6 had a small “Ultra” badge on its rear. This subtle branding shows that I was in the latest efficient A6, which gets an advanced engine, an efficient automatic gearbox, an exhaust treatment system and all sorts of gadgets to reduce emissions.

Whipping past me, you probably wouldn’t have noticed that my temporarily stranded test model was the top-of-the-range S-Line model, either. That means that it had xenon headlights, LED rear lights, sports suspension and 18in wheels. On the run up north (it was on the journey back south that I had trouble) the two-litre diesel engine certainly delivered in the economy stakes, returning close to 57mph. That may not sound impressive – many city cars will do better – but that’s a very good figure for a frankly vast German saloon.

My problem was the emission control light, which showed that the Audi’s engine sensors had suffered something of a minor meltdown. The manual advised driving “slowly” to the nearest Audi service centre. A quick Google revealed that this meant a tiresome detour to Lincoln. A further search showed that the forums were full of Audi owners with this sort of problem.

Thankfully, a quick call to Audi Assistance confirmed my hopes: I was probably “fine” to drive it home, unless there was “any loss of power”. Slightly reassured, I made it home at a sedate speed and the car was towed away the following morning.

Audi tells me that the problem was a “third party” adding an incorrect amount of a diesel exhaust fluid to the catalytic converter (so there was nothing wrong with the car itself). I’m not guilty on that front, I promise, but my gentle and somewhat nervous drive home did result in a rather marvellous fuel consumption figure. Maybe this is Audi’s latest eco gadget, designed to convince me to slow down and save the planet.

Search for used cars