Evolutionary Audi A6 revealed
We'll forgive you for not showing any signs of surprise or bewilderment when seeing Audi's all-new A6 for the first time. Due to reach our shores in mid-2011, it really is just a case of Audi's familiar design language built-to-size.
Perhaps a bit more interesting than the A4, and its upsized A8 clone, the frontal quarters of the new A6 adopt the slanted headlight and grille theme first seen on the A7 and A1.
In profile you would need a sharp eye to tell it apart from the current A6, while the rear end continues Audi's familiar theme with a slightly squarer flavour.
Superficial aspects aside, the new A6 has taken a good step forward on the technological front and there's even a hybrid version in the pipeline.
For starters, the new A6 is surprisingly light for a vehicle of its size, with much of the body consisting of aluminium and high-tech steels.
On international markets the A6 will initially be offered with a choice of five engines. The local engine range is not yet finalised, but should follow the current range as closely as possible.
With all of the new A6' engines linked to efficiency-enhancing systems like start-stop, energy recovery and Audi's thermal management concept, average consumption across the range has been reduced by 19%.
The two petrol choices comprise a 150kW/280Nm 2.8 FSI V6 which, according to Audi, is good for a 7.7-second 0-100km/h sprint at the coast and a 240km/h top speed.
Top of the petrol pile, for now, is the 220kW/440Nm 3.0 TFSI turbocharged V6 that runs to 100 in 5.5 seconds and reaches the usual top speed for German cars.
While the respective 7.4 and 8.2 l/100km overall consumption figures for the aforementioned petrol engines are decent enough, the real tree hugging happens on the diesel front, where the entry-level 130kW/380Nm 2.0 TDI consumes just 4.9 l/100km, equating to just 129g/km of CO2, yet it still runs from 0-100km/h in 8.7 seconds.
The oil burning range is topped by two versions of Audi's 3.0 TDI V6: A 150kW/400Nm variant that sprints to 100 in 7.2 seconds and sips 5.2 l/100km and a 180kW version that sprints in 6.1 seconds and drinks 6.0 l/100km.
This new A6 will also be available in hybrid form, at a later stage, this one linking Audi's 2.0 TFSI petrol engine to an electric motor for a total system output of 180kW and average consumption of 6.2 l/100km.
As before, the A6 range is available with either six-speed manual, CVT or S tronic dual-clutch transmissions, their availability dependent on the engine you choose - and the same goes for the choice between front-wheel drive and quattro all-wheel drive, the latter incorporating Audi's crown-gear centre differential and featuring selective torque vectoring.
Front wheel drive versions benefit from ESP with limited-slip differential as standard.
The chassis of the new A6 incorporates numerous aluminium components and the basic suspension design consists of a five-link set-up at the front and a self-tracking trapezoidal-link design at the back. The Audi drive select dynamic handling system is standard on all models, and if you can stretch the budget for something resembling a 'magic carpet' ride, adaptive air suspension with controlled damping assistance is optional.
Inside, this latest A6 is almost identical to the A7 Sportback with dashboard that wraps around the cabin much like in the Jaguar XJ and a centre section that's shaped towards the driver.
There is a glut of high end equipment on offer, including front seats with ventilation and massage functions, ambient lighting, head-up display and the MMI touch operating system that connects to Google earth and integrates with the navigation route.
The system is also able to send route data to the systems that control the adaptive cruise control, transmission and headlights, allowing them to predict complex situations and assist the driver accordingly.
Of course, the A6 can also be ordered with VW's automatic parallel parking system, active lane assist and the night vision assistance system with a thermal-imaging camera.