A model of success going from strength to strength: Audi has further upgraded its A6 full-size class model line. Powerful engines have been added to the line-up and innovative technologies reduce fuel consumption by some 15 percent across the range. A refined suspension system and new high-tech assistance systems have further enhanced the driving experience, while the MMI operating system comes in the guise of a new, even more powerful generation. The further improved Audi A6 model line, comprising the sedan, Avant, A6 allroad quattro and S6, will be launched on the German market in mid-October.
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The sportiest business sedan on the market is also the most successful: the Audi A6 leads its segment both in Europe and worldwide. In 2007, Audi sold some 234,000 units of the sedan and Avant around the globe, equivalent to a market share in its core competitor group of 37 percent. The majority of A6 models were equipped with six or eight-cylinder engines, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and luxurious optional equipment features – that demonstrates the high esteem Audi technologies enjoy.
A series of new expressive features accentuate the design of the A6. The single-frame grill, bumpers, air inlets and fog lights have all been restyled. The headlights contain integrated daytime running lights – in conjunction with the optional xenon plus package, they take the form of a horizontal LED strip. The optionally available adaptive light now also includes a static turning light. Xenon plus can also be ordered with an additional function that automatically switches the main beam on and off.
The A6 presents an impressive side view with fine trim strips on the lower body sides, LED turn signals in the exterior mirror housings and powerfully styled alloy wheels. Its generous dimensions remain virtually unchanged – the sedan is 4.93 meters (16.17 ft) long, 1.86 meters (6.10 ft) wide and 1.46 meters (4.17 ft) high.
At the rear, a gentle lip on the trunk lid (on the roof edge of the Avant), a chrome strip on the bumper, a broad diffuser and straight exhaust tailpipes add definition to the design. The sedan’s rear lights have been updated: wide and flat, they now taper inward. LEDs in the light units provide optimum light efficiency.
Comfort lounge: The A6 interior
The spacious A6 interior, with its elegant lines and perfect craftsmanship, has a sumptuous lounge feel. With softer upholstery, the rear seats are now even more comfortable. Their L-shaped head restraints can be lowered well out of the way and are a stylish design feature. As an option, Audi will fit two exceptionally comfortable individual seats with leather upholstery. A bundle of elaborate details helps to significantly lower the already low noise level even further.
The character of the cockpit is also one of sophisticated elegance. The instrument cluster has been remodeled with higher-resolution graphics and a new frame now accentuates the display. Numerous tasteful aluminum and chrome trim details adorn the interior, including the steering wheel, emphasizing the luxurious ambiance. The new inlays are in Aluminum Radial. As an option they can be ordered in Aluminum Trigon or with the natural look of open-pore wood. The new colors linen beige and pale grey are available for the surfaces.
All colors and materials are harmoniously coordinated. The regular seats are upholstered in a new fabric; the sports seats are optionally available in Valcona leather upholstery, also in two colors. Soft armrests in the doors offer even more comfort. The integral head restraint system reduces the risk of whiplash injury from a rear collision.
Customers with especially dynamic tastes can opt for the S line sports package – it enhances the performance of the Audi A6 with 18, 19 or 20-inch wheels and sports suspension which lowers the body by 30 millimeters (1.18 in). The sports seats plus special trim strips and upholstery lend an extra degree of luxury to the black interior. For more dynamism, the S line exterior package adds a raft of sporty touches to the body. The features in the Audi exclusive program, on the other hand, are tailored to the needs of the luxury-minded individualist.
Powerful and efficient: The ten engines
One of the strengths that make the A6 such a successful competitor is the wide variety of engines it offers. Five gasoline engines and four diesels with four, six and eight cylinders are available, all offering the advantages of direct injection with the cutting-edge FSI, TFSI and TDI technology. Intensive engineering refinements have maximized the engines’ power and efficiency – across the model line, fuel economy has been improved by 15 percent. Their power is transmitted to the front or to all four wheels via a manual transmission, the high-comfort tiptronic or the continuously variable multitronic transmission.
The gasoline-powered range starts with a four-cylinder turbocharged engine, the 2.0 TFSI which delivers 125 kW (170 hp). At the very top end is a V8, the 4.2 FSI with 257 kW (350 hp). With regard to V6 engines, Audi is bringing out two new versions of the 2.8-liter FSI – one with 140 kW (190 hp) and another delivering 162 kW (220 hp). Both are equipped with the innovative Audi valvelift system (AVS). This varies the intake valve lift in two stages, with the effect of increasing torque and lowering fuel consumption.
An attractive new addition to the engine line-up is the V6 with 3.0 liters displacement and power output of 213 kW (290 hp). Audi implements the optimum package for each engine, which is why the 3.0 TFSI is equipped with a supercharger – the T in the TFSI logo no longer stands just for turbo, but for supercharging in general. Without increasing fuel consumption in any way, this supercharger technology produces spontaneous engine response. And the delivery of torque right from idling speed is formidably strong; a muscular 420 Nm (309.78 lb-ft) of torque is maintained constantly between 2,500 rpm and 4,850 rpm.
The 3.0 TFSI, combined with tiptronic and quattro drive, accelerates the A6 Sedan to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.9 seconds. And it keeps on going up to a governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph) – the kind of performance that up to just a few years ago was the exclusive preserve of eight-cylinder engines. Nevertheless, the supercharged V6 demonstrates exemplary economy: in the EU cycle, it covers 100 km on 9.4 liters of fuel (25.02 US mpg).
For a further demonstration of how Audi inseparably blends sportiness and efficiency, look no further than the TDI engines. Their fuel is delivered by common rail systems with high-speed piezo injectors; they run quietly and smoothly. The 2.7 TDI now has power output of 140 kW (190 hp) while the 3.0 TDI delivers 176 kW (240 hp). The maximum torque of the two V6 TDI units ranges from 400 to 500 Nm (295.02 to 368.78 lb-ft).
The entry level in terms of diesel power is a four-cylinder engine, the 2.0 TDI. Two versions are available, with power output of 125 kW (170 hp) or 100 kW (136 hp). The base version producing 100 kW (136 hp) can be ordered as the exceptionally efficient e-model with the name 2.0 TDI e. Its 320 Nm (236.02 lb-ft) of torque are delivered to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Taking 10.3 seconds for the sprint to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) and with a top speed of 208 km/h (129.25 mph), the manual-shift 2.0 TDI e is an agile performer. Yet its average fuel economy is an excellent 5.3 liters per 100 km (44.38 US mpg). The 100 kW (136 hp) 2.0-liter TDI is also available with the continuously variable multitronic transmission.
Audi has exploited a host of innovative technologies to achieve this exemplary fuel consumption figure. The power steering pump works “on demand”, the alternator regenerates energy in overrun, thus reducing the power draw on the engine. The body height is 20 millimeters (0.79 in) lower, aerodynamic modifications to the bumpers and underbody reduce its drag coefficient to 0.28. The transmission has taller ratios in the top two gears. All manual-shift A6 models with the driver information system, i.e. including the 2.0 TDI e, are available with a gearshift indicator in the cockpit; this recommends the most economical gear at all times.
Unstoppable progress: quattro drive
Audi supplies quattro all-wheel drive for all engine versions from 140 kW (190 hp) upwards; it is standard for the top engines. With the exception of the 2.8 FSI with 140 kW (190 hp) and manual transmission, quattro in the A6 means the latest generation of quattro drive with a slight rear bias. It gives the A6 superb handling dynamics, strong traction and superior safety. When the need arises, the mechanically-operated Torsen differential with its asymmetric torque split instantly directs the greater part of the engine power to the axle with the better traction.
In fine-tuning the suspension, two key objectives were identified: increasing comfort while retaining the model’s sporty character. With new large-diameter, front-axle shock absorbers on the front axle which use an optimized valve system, and with an improved spring response, Audi engineers were able to achieve both goals.
As an option, customers can have the A6 fitted with adaptive air suspension. The driver can switch between three settings to alter the adaptive dampers’ performance and characteristics. The high-power engine versions have large-diameter 17-inch disk brakes. On request, Audi supplies an intelligent tire pressure monitoring display which is entirely maintenance-free and non-wearing. Alternatively, customers may opt for tires that can keep going for up to 50 km (31.07 miles) after losing pressure.
New assistance systems also contribute to the experience of perfectly controlled driving in the A6. Audi side assist kicks in to help drivers when changing lane at speeds above 30 km/h (18.64 mph). Its radar sensors detect vehicles up to 50 meters (164.04 ft) behind you; if a lane change could be potentially critical, a yellow LED in the exterior mirror lights up. Other high-tech assistance systems include Audi lane assist, which helps the driver to stay in lane, the radar-assisted adaptive cruise control, which adjusts the speed of the A6 to the vehicle ahead and alerts the driver to the danger of a collision, and the Audi parking system advanced with rearview camera.
New generation: MMI navigation plus
Since it first appeared in 2002, the Audi MMI operating system has set the standard for the perfect integration of a multitude of functions. In the A6, a new generation of this system is fitted. The basic concept with the central control knob and large buttons for the function areas remains virtually unchanged. But now a cap has been integrated into the central control knob which can be operated like a joystick, thus making navigation on the monitor even quicker and easier.
Both the graphics chip from market leader Nvidia and the monitor set new standards. The latter measures seven inches diagonally and has a very high display resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, producing a high-contrast image that is extremely sharp, even in adverse lighting conditions.
The navigation system allows the driver to select a three-dimensional bird’s-eye view with extremely fast image response; it shows the landscape in topographical relief and represents prominent buildings as 3D drawings. Different altitude levels are indicated with a system of different colors, as familiar from atlases. The input functionality recognizes whole words without a prior learning process. A new option also allows you to navigate with the most economical choice of route.
The MMI is based on a modular system. The standard-specification base MMI already features attractive audio and operating functions. The full version, MMI navigation plus, is a high-tech system with impressive performance. Its most appealing attributes are a DVD drive and a hard drive with 40 GB of memory for navigation data. It can be used to store music files and also has capacity for up to 10,000 telephone directory entries. The computer unit includes an 800 MHz processor and a 500 MHz digital signal processor which can play DVDs in 5.1 Dolby Digital quality.
The new MMI navigation plus integrates a double tuner for perfect FM radio reception and a six-channel sound system. It features an innovative voice control system capable of whole-word recognition of navigation destinations. The MMI can be expanded with the addition of further components. The additional modules consist of two more sound systems, a double tuner for digital radio reception, an analog/digital TV tuner, a CD changer, a multimedia interface to connect up the customer’s iPod or USB memory medium, and an integrated telephone.
The MMI telephone takes over all the functions of the driver’s cell phone via Bluetooth – an extremely user-friendly solution.
Two other models also benefit from the vast majority of refinements made to the A6 Sedan and Avant – the versatile A6 allroad quattro and the dynamic S6. The A6 allroad quattro can be fitted with the new 3.0 TFSI with 213 kW (290 hp) and the two power-enhanced V6 TDI engines. As before, the V10 in the S6 still delivers 320 kW (435 hp). In the sports model, the modifications are focused on the visual details of the exterior and interior; its 19-inch wheels have been redesigned.
The improved Audi A6 will be available at German dealerships from mid-October 2008. Despite the many new features, its entry-level price is virtually unchanged: 34,200 euros for the A6 2.0 TFSI Sedan.
Equipment and trim, data and prices stated here refer to the model program offered for sale in Germany. Subject to amendment; errors and omissions excepted.