Audi's latest executive sedan has presence, space, comfort and plenty of premium amenities
Where the Audi A6 aces The Audi A6 rides beautifully, with a limousine-like suspension system which irons out the many kinks and blemishes on Singapore roads. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Audi's A6 competes in the same arena as the Mercedes-Benz E-class and BMW 5-series, but has never been quite as successful as either.

The latest model, however, seems better equipped than its predecessors to stake a claim in the hotly contested executive sedan segment.

Longer and wider than its two key competitors and sitting lower at the same time, the Audi strikes a stately and athletic pose. Its wheelbase is the shortest of the three. But at 2,924mm, it is more than adequate for the purpose of space packaging.

The car is packed to the hilt with technology and dynamic features. These include all-wheel-drive, variable all-wheel steering and a 48-volt electrical system which allows for engine-off coasting under certain conditions.

An infotainment system with touch and voice control functions, and a sizeable virtual cockpit with head-up display, adorn a dashboard which is the sleekest and most modern among its peers.

It is also equipped with the latest driver-assistance programs, including one which allows the car to cruise and keep in lane on its own with minimal steering input.

There is even something called Overtake Prevention, which stops you from overtaking on the left when the adaptive cruise control is on. For instance, you are stuck behind a lane-hogger on the extreme right lane and you want to pass him on the left. You signal and move to the left. But the car will not overtake the hogger even if your set speed is higher. You can, of course, override it easily.

The steering will also resist lane-changing if sensors deem a vehicle in the rear is too close. Often, it is too conservative. You can also override it by overcoming the resistance. As well-intended as these aids are, they tend to be a tad intrusive to drivers who are quite capable of uneventful commutes all by themselves.

Perhaps they reflect the car's priorities. The latest A6 leans more towards the Mercedes E-class, with a chassis tuned for comfort first, and performance, second.

It rides beautifully, with a limousine-like suspension system which irons out the many kinks and blemishes on Singapore roads.

With its strong road presence and luxurious and well-appointed interior, the A6 is a convincing alternative to E-class customers, even the diehards.

But 5er clients are better off staying put. The A6, while far from sloppy, does not have what it takes to unseat the BMW in this area.

Despite its all-wheel-drive, all-wheel steering and the shortest wheelbase, it betrays an inordinate amount of body roll when driven enthusiastically - even in Dynamic drive mode. It is also not as quick as its stated 5.1-second century sprint suggests.

Perhaps both have to do partly with the car's relatively high kerb weight of 1.8 tonnes.

But if driven in a civil manner, the A6 pleases. It has the cushiness to match its new stature - with plenty of luxe features thrown in.

The most thoughtful one by far are illuminated seatbelt buckle slots, which mean no more fumbling in the dark. Its servo-assisted soft-closing doors do not hurt either.