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First Drive

First Drive: Audi A6 PHEV

The story:
Audi’s electrification of its range hits what is, for now at least, until the new A3 PHEV arrives late this year, the most interesting of its plug-ins from a fleet perspective. The German premium brand now has a PHEV rival to the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class
Key rival:BMW 5-Series
On sale:Now

The Audi PHEVs are coming thick and fast, with the A6 now joining the A7 Sportback, A8, Q5 and Q7, with the A3 to follow by
the end of the year.

The A6 TFSIe, which is initially available in saloon form with an Avant estate following in the first part of 2021, gives Audi a rival to the already established BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S/V90 plug-in hybrid models.

It is described by Audi as a “critical car” in the sector, and launches with a 34-mile electric-only range that puts it in the 10% company car Benefit-in-Kind tax band, matching its rivals. That means a 40% taxpayer choosing the S Line PHEV driven here would pay £190 per month in company car tax. The same spec of 2.0 TDI A6 would incur a £556 monthly bill, although it does cost over £10,000 less than the PHEV. But the plug-in offers an extra 95hp. Go up to the 386hp quattro diesel A6 S Line and its P11D is just over £5,000 cheaper as a diesel, but the taxman will demand £637 a month.

First Drive- October 2020- Audi A6 PHEV- Image 3The PHEV comes in all four of the A6’s trim levels, with the entry Sport specification expected to prove the most popular PHEV, which is likely down to drivers stretching to the extra cost of the PHEV to then make the huge monthly tax savings. This also benefits the employer to the tone of thousands over three years in National Insurance cost, and that’s before you get to the fuel savings, as long as the car is diligently charged and run on electric as much as possible.

The A6 is classy, refined, fast and shifts almost seamlessly between powertrains where required, while also offering the high-quality interior Audi is renowned for. It is worth noting though, that the A6 TFSIe is priced higher than corresponding executive saloon PHEV rivals.

The only shame is that the PHEV system doesn’t seem to have quite the level of functionality as some other electrified models. For example, there’s no function to increase the level of regenerative braking, although the user can switch between electric, hybrid and battery hold functions.

paul barker

The verdict

Simply the A6 that makes the most sense for fleets, and takes the brand up against its PHEV rivals, although the Audi is priced a touch higher than its executive contemporaries