Long-term report: The Audi A6 Avant tackles video duties
Those who’ve been keeping up to date with our long-term reports will probably realise that the video department is, without doubt, one of the harshest testing grounds for any of our long-term fleet.
It’s not just a case of us simply grabbing a car that’s available and driving it for several months. Our test cars are amongst the highest mileage cars on the fleet, and they tend to go to places where few other long-termers venture.
There are a lot of boxes that need to be ticked if it’s going to fit the bill, and over the years we’ve tried a variety of different offerings to see which suits our needs best. These have ranged from pick-up trucks, to premium four-wheel drive estates, to commercial vehicles of varying sizes as well as practical family wagons.
The one common denominator among all these vehicles though has been the need for space. With a kit list that comprises of numerous Peli cases carrying cameras, lenses, stabilised rigs, drones and of course crew, the video team is pretty demanding, but that’s not to be confused with being a diva though.
So, when the boss handed to keys to the long-term Audi A6 Avant, in favour of something a little greener in the BMW i3, we didn’t need asking twice if it would do the job. Especially as for the last six months we’ve been driving around in a Viper Green Volkswagen Caddy, and to be brutally honest, while it was good at carrying equipment and came into its own when somebody was moving a load of boxes, it wasn’t really the most comfortable of vehicles to live with.
The A6 Avant, on the other hand, is a totally different proposition. While my other half had banned the Caddy from parking on the driveway, the A6 Avant has been lovingly welcomed, having a £50k Audi parked in front of the house certainly carries more kudos with the neighbours.
Marley, our four-year-old Staffy rescue has also welcomed the transition too. While the van would seem a suitable dog carrying tool, there was a divider between the cab and the load bay and him being the needy dog he is, I don’t think he’d have been a fan of being transported in what’s essentially a big box.
The A6 is far more interesting for him, and the boot is a good size for him to stretch out on long journeys. And while we’re on the topic of space, the A6 has a surprisingly big boot, which can carry a good chunk of our equipment. Of course, it’s not a van, so it won’t get everything in the boot, but for bigger jobs, we can fold the back seats down to extend the load bay from 565 litres to 1680 litres, it’s not the biggest in its class, but it’s a good size and shape.
Now already there’s been some somewhat heated discussion in the office of how the Audi drives, and I suspect the negative feedback is one of the reasons why it’s been passed down to video. Let’s be honest, if it was a car that was loved by all, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been handed over so willingly.
So far that have been no real complaints here. Yes the gearbox can be a little dim-witted and the ride is a little firm, but I think it’s just a case of adapting your driving style, and personally I’m a huge fan of the paddle shifts so spend most of my journeys using them so the issue of slow gear changes aren’t as much of a problem.
In our first review, we’ve established that the A6 Avant is something of a handsome beast. The exterior styling oozes premium quality and design, but then that’s exactly what you’d expect from the German brand.
This attention to detail is continued through to the interior. Now, I’ve always been a fan of Audi interiors, they’re beautifully laid out and easy to use, and, on more recent models, the technology is right up there with the very best in class. I love the virtual cockpit which displays information like sat-nav, radio, driver settings directly in front of the driver, rather than having to look over to the infotainment system.
Over my time with the Audi, I’m looking forward to having many comfortable miles getting to and from shoots, but also taking full advantage of it on a personal level too, whether that’s weekend getaways or even something as simple as finding new areas to walk the dog. Marley will be especially happy about that last bit.