|AUDI A6 50 TFSIE QUATTRO 299HP S LINE|
|The story: Audi has stretched the range figure on its A6 PHEV, taking it over the 40-mile mark for a significant BiK benefit versus its premium rivals|
|Key rival:||Volvo S60|
The key figure for plug-in hybrids is how far they can go on the battery alone, because breaking through certain boundaries shifts the amount of Benefit-in-Kind taxation a driver pays, as well as having an impact on company NI cost.
Which is why Audi pushing the range of the A6 out to up to 43 miles thanks to an uprated battery is a big deal. It makes the A6 PHEV the first premium executive saloon to get more than 40 miles, cutting the BiK by four bands to 7%, while BMW, Mercedes and Volvo rivals are still all up at 11%. If the A6 were at 39 miles of EV-only range, rather than its actual 41-43, depending on spec, then 40% taxpayers would be passing £210 a month to the treasury. At 40 miles or more, the figure drops to £134. That compares with £188 per month for the equivalent Volvo S60, and £199 or over £200 respectively for the BMW 530 xDrive saloon and Mercedes E300e, with the latter the least efficient of the four, despite being the only one all-wheel drive.
The A6 is the most expensive of the quartet by a reasonable distance, but to counter that, company National Insurance costs are also hundreds of pounds cheaper than any rival over three years.
The change also filters through to the A7 model, which now has a range of 42 miles, cutting its BiK position.
The A6 50 PHEV is available in four trim levels, running from Sport, through S Line and Black Edition to the loaded-with-everything Vorsprung model. All combine 2.0-litre petrol and electric powertrains smoothly, with the refinement levels meaning it’s hard to tell which source the car is using. Depending on the driving mode selected, it can switch effortlessly between the two, save the battery for later in the journey, or default to using electric as much as possible. As might be expected, when pulling from both electric motor and petrol engine, the 299hp makes for pleasantly rapid progress.
Audi also has a 55-badged 367hp PHEV A6 that also does more than 40 miles on electric alone, but its extra costs means the 50 is definitely the one to pick from a company car point of view.