Latest A6 Avant attempts to break free of its predecessor's boring shackles with a more angular design.
Latest A6 Avant attempts to break free of its predecessor's boring shackles with a more angular design.

Audi's all-new A6 sedan, unveiled late last year, has now been joined by the Avant version, which replaces Europe's most successful executive wagon.

Yet while the sedan version resembles its predecessor a bit too closely in profile, the new Avant is easier to tell apart with its more angular D-pillar and a prominent tailgate 'lip' giving it a sportier edge.

Despite this, it still claims to be practical, matching the car its replaces with a luggage capacity of 565 litres - up to 1680 litres when the rear seats are folded.

And what would a new German car be without some nifty new gadget to boast about? In this case it's a 'gesture-controlled' tailgate that allows the rear hatch to open automatically if the driver stands behind the car and makes a specific movement with his or her foot. But unless your name is Chuck Norris, you'll need to have the key close by in order for this to work.

Sadly, this new A6 Avant will not be coming to South Africa - the current one's already been dropped from our line-up due to lack of interest and Audi clearly can't see better prospects for the new one.

In Europe, Audi will offer the Avant with a choice of two petrol engines and four diesels and they're up to 18 percent more efficient than before.

Strangely it's not a petrol engine at the top of the performance pile - but rather a new 3-litre TDI twin-turbodiesel that makes 230kW. Audi has not yet disclosed torque figures for this engine, but the company does claim a 0-100km/h sprint of 5.4 seconds.

Further down the oil burning ladder, customers can choose between a 3.0 TDI with either 150kW or 180kW and a super-frugal 130kW 2.0 TDI that sips five litres per 100km on the combined cycle, according to claims.

Only two options exist on the petrol front, these being a naturally aspirated 2.8 FSI V6 with 150kW and the supercharged 220kW 3-litre TFSI.

As with the sedan, lightweight construction (around 20 percent of the body is aluminium) maximises the potential of these engines and allows the new Avant to tip the scales at 70kg lighter than the previous version.

Depending on the engine chosen, the Avant can be had with front- or all-wheel drive and there's a wide range of gearboxes including a six-speed manual, Multitronic CVT, and seven-speed dual-clutch S Tronic while the 230kW TDI gets an eight-speed Tiptronic.

On the chassis front, it's as per the sedan, with a five-link suspension at the front and a track-guided trapezoidal-link at the back and the usual entourage of electronic aids, including an electronic limited slip diff on front-wheel drive models.

Available interior goodies include head-up display, front seats with ventilation and massage function and a candy shop of infotainment options that also includes an internet connection with online services via Google and real-time traffic data.