There’s no denying the B6 generation oozed class. Taking a design nod from the 1990s A6, albeit smaller, not only did it deliver on the looks, it handled superbly and had an excellent line-up of engines. This was the car Audi could use to compete effectively with the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-class.
In fact, you can probably trace Audi’s dominance of the UK car market back to the emergence of the B6. Diesel certainly played a part. The car used Volkswagen Pump Duse technology and as such, Audi could offer the drivers of company cars excellent performance coupled with solid fuel economy and decent emissions.
To top it off, Audi pulled off a coup by offering the car as part of a premium package, that thrust it ahead of its compatriots, BMW and Mercedes, in terms of sales.
To really establish its foothold however, Audi needed a halo model. BMW had the M3, Mercedes the C32 AMG. What it came up with didn’t disappoint: a 344bhp 4.2-litre V8 Quattro. It was incredibly fast, well balanced and offered plenty of grip. It may not have put the M3 into retirement, but its position as class leader was assured.