By BRENWIN NAIDU
You can guess what the topic will be when a group of motoring scribes are thrown together at a product launch: cars, cars and more cars. On a recent occasion, sitting comfortably in the lounge of a trendy cafe, the subject was automotive design and what we define as pleasing to the eye, from past and present.
Obviously, the Jaguar E-Type reared its pretty face as one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Interestingly, vehicles from the pre-1960s era – with large, swooping bodies and elegant chrome embellishments were also mentioned as design marvels. One such vehicle was the Mercedes-Benz 540K, and a particular cue that sparked our interest was the exposed pipes that ran next to either front fender.
We mused that traits like four exhaust pipes and large wheelarches – often seen on contemporary sports cars, would be the design hallmarks that future car lovers reminisce about. And let’s not forget the trend of LED-lighting, a dial that one manufacturer seems to have pioneered and made their own hallmark – Audi.
By most standards, the new A6 is a beautiful car: it is elegant and graceful, but possesses an unassuming modesty that you would want, if you’re a business executive wanting a car that is commensurate with your image – but not something too flashy. The test model was silver, a colour that suits it nicely. But if the choice was mine, denim blue or jet black would be on the order form.
One aspect from the test car I’d keep if I had the funds to buy a new A6, would be the 220-kilowatt 3-litre supercharged engine – which is, to use an adjective normally reserved for treats from a bakery, delightful. I use the word, because the engine suits every driving style so well – you can’t only give it a label like “Perfect for high-performance driving” or “Adept at cruising” – because it all competently.
Set it to Dynamic mode through Audi’s MMI system, get liberal with the accelerator, and the A6 whooshes forward without protest. When you’re on the highway, all that’s needed is a feather-touch to keep the momentum going – or you can just use the cruise control. You can also choose between a 3-litre turbo-diesel, a 2-litre turbo-diesel, or a 2-litre turbocharged model.
I loved spending time in the A6’s cabin: it was a comfortable retreat after a hard day’s graft in the office, a virtue I’m sure fast-paced business folk would appreciate. Trimmed out in fine black leather, the upholstery exuded class – and a delicious smell typical of the material.
You can see that the engineers were pedantic and obsessive in their design of the interior: everthing seems indestructible, that it would still be looking fresh even when the car is onto its 5th owner. The heads-up display, which projects your speed on the section of the windscreen in-front of the driver, was quite handy. Although it disappeared when I donned my sunglasses.
Other cool gadgetry includes a screen that folds out of the dashboard, which gives you control of the car’s systems through the MMI interface. A parking assist camera displays what is behind the Audi’s rear when reverse is engaged, and really helps with safely parking this sizeable saloon.
It oozes prestige, but not in a flashy manner. It’s a car appropriate for the high-end landscape of the corporate parking lot, and a vehicle that your kids would happily want to be dropped off at school in. The Audi A6 3-litre T FSI is a satisfying car, which is hard to fault. You really wouldn’t be disappointed with one of these in your driveway.