The Audi A6 is a whispering sled for an aging world order

All cars grow. Almost every new model from city car to limousine is bigger, faster, more expensive than the last. Because of the comfort and safety features that require more space. The increased prosperity that fueled greed and the urge to rupture. The customer who, when he can’t afford a bigger one, still wants to feel a little growth brilliance when trading in his old Golf for a new one.

Thus, the time always comes when new cars equal or surpass higher in rank in length, price, prestige and performance. The current VW Polo is larger than the first Golf, the Audi A6 – still a high middle class in the hierarchy – almost as long and as wide as the top model A8 in 1994. This evolution has a fatal domino effect. In order to maintain their leading positions, the larger models grow out of their power until they have become redundant in the status pyramid. Due to the expansion pressure from below, the A8 has now been stretched to 5 meters 17 and even 5.30 for the long version. And that only to keep the A6 in control, which has long since taken its place. What a muddy frozen lump it is, an ice floe worked with the pickaxe. Elegant? The A6 has never been successful again after the first generation, a facelifted Audi 100. He always had to impress, as an undecided aesthetic compromise between the upper limo and the smaller A4. Audi’s designers searched in vain for the decisive but not swollen tone that always struck the well-heeled middle-class among the competitors of Mercedes and BMW.

First I think the importer assigned me an A8. The same gigantic grill, the same trunk-wide, LED-infused taillight with inlaid trim. You only see the extended rear wheel arches that have to mask the resemblance after looking twice. Within the same overly complex digital dashboard, the seating area of ​​a chauffeured limo, presidential dignity; you can show yourself with it in The Hague and Brussels. Including “adaptive windscreen wipers with integrated, heated windscreen washers” and “extended aluminum optics”, the test car costs more than 120,000 euros, punishing regent money. The A8 is passé.

Isn’t the A6 too? My 50 TDI in “Mythos black”, too strong a word, with its spotless but fossil six-cylinder diesel and darkened villain glass, is the whispered sleigh for an aging old world order. I feel like the driver of an important man who is about to count out. In my mental rear-view mirror I see EU boss Juncker sitting down in the backseat with expired jokes. I see the commissioner of the King of Gelderland who was done with politics – and those with him – staring longingly at the finish line in the distance, past the cookie bites with Alex and the ribbon showers. I run a mausoleum for fallen fighters.

Praise that comes too late

That is why it is so difficult to judge him on his considerable qualities, that museum pain always comes in between. He is thus propagating the end of the West. Whatever I say about the brilliant engine, the wonderful air suspension, the flawless finish, its 48-volt battery quasi-hybrid-assisted economy – it feels like praising old masters for color feel and composition, it’s praise that comes too late. The A6 is the overripe fruit of a great tradition with no future. I see him standing in parking garages between Teslas as a deeply outdated expression of power and wealth. The gleaming touchscreens on the center tunnel are a belated testament to forced progressiveness, the faint echo of the once vital Audi slogan advantage through technology. If I press the button for the assistance functions and the menu disappears from the screen within three seconds, I have eaten and drunk. Exit warning, intersection assistant, lane change assistant – get out, I think, you should stay old. You are the VVD member who defends the Darwinism of the market in a colorful Dijkhoff jacket, a Bavarian half-timbered restaurant with digital cash register.

In short: I don’t get it. The new Audi driver parks his practical A4 under the carport of his stylish semi-detached house in Diemen. The forties who should want him now drives Jaguar or Tesla. The last, ancient A6 faithful have relocated to the afterlife or a dozing high-seater. And rapper Boef, who saw in his Audi the symbol of the pauper victory over the commons, now drives Rolls-Royce for the same reasons. While, for a century it missed, it really is a masterful car.