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A6 test drive

I test drove the new A6 on Saturday.  Very general impression:  nice car, would
do well in the US, but will probably come in overpriced with regards to the
competition, especially based on the A4's success and US dealerships.  

Lots of standard features for a german car, A/C most obvious.  The car is also
sensored to the hilt:  dash, every door opening, etc.  Don't plan on putting in
an aftermarket stereo or speakers.  The radio is the oversized model, with a
sliding panel to hide it.  Tweeters front/rear located up by the door catches,
woofers down low, sub woofer right rear.  Monster trunk with 100% usable space
-- 551 liters.  It makes the old A2 Jetta trunk look small, it's that big.

I drove a FWD 2.4 V6 30 valve.  A very nice engine, but the torque doesn't come
on until around 3000-3500.  The Servotronic (tiptronic) tranny is cool.  I've
haven't driven an automatic in years, but this was very unobtrusive, maybe it's
the equivalent of a 5 speed vs. the 3 speed autos I'm used to.

The car is very, very quiet.  It is most definitely a big car, not a sports or
even "sporty" car.  The 2.4 puts out around 165 horses and this car, at 1450 kg,
can use them.  It's not slow, but I think the 1.8T is too small.  The 1.9 TDI is
going to be the big seller -- less power (110 hp), more torque (235 N-m) and
half the fuel consumption.  No offense here, but what's up with Audi's engines?
Granted, this 2.4 puts out the same HP as an MC motor, and does it without the
turbo; but my Honda Accord puts out 140 HP from a 2.2 4 cylinder.  I had
expected a little more from a 30v V-6.  I'm not saying it's a bad or weak motor,
but maybe I wanted a little more "Vorsprung".  auto, motor und sport complained
about vibration at high rpm's in the 2.8.  They claim it's inherent in V motors
and praise the I-6 on the BMW for smoothness, but the Audi gets laurels on
"elasticity" due to the torque coming on lower.  

Driving impression:  The very quiet interior and automatic gave driving the car
a sort of detached feeling.  I'm making a direct comparison to the much more
tactile 200q (with 70k miles).  It went where I pointed it, when I pointed it
there; but gave no impression of being "tossable".   I didn't take it on the
Autobahn, so top speeds were 60-65 mph.  I found the car to be rather bland, but
likable.  Of course I'm also beginning to reminisce about my old Jetta as an
exceedingly un-bland fun car to drive.  You ur-Q owners will probably turn up
your collective noses at this car; and I wouldn't blame you.  

Biggest complaint:  brakes.  On the test car they grabbed and were difficult to
modulate.  auto, motor und sport also gave the A6 very poor marks in braking, so
I'd expect some fix, or change in pads.  Their complaint was in loaded
situations or with warm brakes.

Overall:  good, solid, well-equipped car.  Would I buy one?  Depending on price
and, with Audis, warranty; maybe.  Would I buy one as a "sports sedan"?  No.

Joe Yakubik
No future in auto journalism.

PS:  it has cupholders and very useful "fold-out" storage areas in the doors and
a cool "pen-holder" clip in the glove box door.  The anti-freeze is also