Audi Ultra heads up the A6

Looking for a luxury car that won’t cost the earth? The new Audi A6 Ultra could definitely be worth considering. According to Audi, it is up to 80 kilograms lighter than its predecessor and has been developed with “the single-minded pursuit of unparalleled efficiency."
And the result of all that single-mindedness is lower fuel consumption and fewer CO2 emissions, which Audi claims will fall by some 14% from a standard model. Professor Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s head of development, said: "The latest TDI (turbo-charged direct injection) technology, ultra-efficient transmissions, advanced exhaust after-treatment – customers will hardly see anything, but they'll notice the effects of powerful acceleration and, thanks to extremely low fuel consumption, when paying at the gas station." OK, OK – ‘after-treatment’, ‘gas station’… But he’s a professor and a doctor who works for a car maker, so let’s cut him some slack.

Charge for turbo?

So, just how cheap will the new A6 Ultra be to run? It’s only currently available (to order) with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine and a seven-speed s-tronic twin-clutch automatic gearbox – although manual transmission versions will become available later this year. (For those of you not overly-familiar with VW/Audi terminology, ‘s tronic’ is short for ‘sport tronic’, which basically means you can override the automatic transmission and order the car to shift up or down a gear when you want it to. Quite why ‘sport’ needs to be shortened to ‘s’, I’m not so sure. (As for the twin-clutch concept – no idea why twin clutches are faster than single ones, but that seems to be the case, meaning the gears are engaged for more of the time, giving sustained bite and reducing coasting. Only by mili-seconds, mind, but every little counts.)

Emission control

It will go from 0 to 62mph in 8.2 seconds and has a top speed of 144mph. But speed is not really the point with this economical new Audi. Emissions of just 114g/km put it in vehicle tax band C, meaning that not only is it environmentally friendly, it will also qualify for tax of just £30 a year. The similarly-equipped Avant model, meanwhile, has emissions of 119g/km, meaning it too will sneak into the C tax band, which is for cars with emissions of between 111g/km and 120g/km.

Life of luxury

Audi just about edges in as a luxury brand, and comfort and look are certainly not lacking here. Audi fans looking for a more economical ride will be pleased to know that it will be available in both saloon and estate 'Avant' guises, and will also share other A6 features such as full leather upholstery, SD card-based satellite navigation, cruise control, ‘keyless’ operation and the Audi auto-parking system, with both acoustic and visual guidance. The new A6 Ultra is not the only cheap-to-run Audi on the cards, however. Forthcoming Ultra models will also be similarly impressive in the emissions stakes. The Audi A4 Ultra, for example, is expected to produce emissions of just 104g/km, while the Audi A5 Ultra will have a 163bhp engine and emissions of 109g/km. Both these models should therefore qualify for the tax band B, which costs just £20 a year. A date is yet to be set for these cars to arrive in the UK, though, whereas the A6 ultra is due hit UK showrooms next month. You can order one today and drive it away for £32,515 and upwards.

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