Audi has unveiled the brand new A6 that will arrive in the UK in Spring 2011.
The new Audi A6 is unmistakably an Audi-born saloon, carrying family-look cues from the A4 and A8. It’s also packed with advanced details and a new hybrid option, though, which are intended to give it executive car sector leadership.
Read our guide to hybrid cars
2011 Audi A6: all-new outside and in
The new Audi A6 springs no surprises on the styling front. It is very much an evolution of the themes seen in the current luxury Audi A8 – although Audi says the low, wide proportions are more sporting. It has a long bonnet and short overhangs.
Audi uses a clever mix of steel and aluminium for the new A6 bodyshell. This means it is 15% lighter than it would be if it were all-steel. It’s lighter than the current BMW 5 Series, for instance, which will help emissions and economy.
The shape is also very aerodynamic to ensure it slips through the air smoothly. An integrated boot-lid spoiler and rear diffuser are fitted at the back, while the S line trim gets chunkier bumpers and special grey detailing to mark it out over a standard Audi A6.
Driving economy and power up
The new Audi A6 is fitted with multi-link suspension all-round, and is driven by both front-drive and Quattro four-wheel drive running gear. The latter includes an optional sport differential, for a racier feel, although even the standard Quattro has a rear-biased drive split. Audi hopes this will help it take on BMW for handling balance.
Five engines will be available at launch – two petrols and three diesels. The V6 petrols are around 13% more fuel-efficient than before, but are also more powerful. Diesels, however, will be the big sellers.
Particularly the revised 2.0-litre TDI, which now produces 177bhp, Audi is claiming CO2 emissions of just 129g/km for this version, along with average fuel economy of 57.6mpg. That’s a huge improvement on the current car, and will bring big tax benefits.
There are also two V6 TDI diesels, producing 204bhp and 255bhp. Both of these are capable of over 40mpg. Audi offers the new A6 with a choice of gearboxes, including manual, automatic and CVT.
Hybrid joins the Audi A6 range
Audi will launch its second hybrid model soon after introducing the A6, with the Audi A6 Hybrid joining the range. Using a combination of 211bhp 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine and 45hp electric motor, this will be a coup for the Audi A6 line-up.
It sounds impressive on paper – apparently, it can reach 62mph under electric power alone, and will run for several kilometres without the engine starting. The benefits will be found in town, where the car will blend electric and petrol engine running for best efficiency.
Audi is claiming 45.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 142g/km for the A6 Hybrid. These are subject to final testing though: we wonder if Audi will get it below the significant 140g/km company car tax level by the time it arrives in the UK?
Audi edges further ahead inside
Audi is renowned for its interior quality and says the new A6 sets new standards, particularly for richness of materials and precision of assembly. The design will, again, spring no surprises whatsoever, but some of the features will. They include on-board internet and integration with Google Maps.
The SatNav also ‘reads’ the road ahead and can set the car up for corners before you arrive at them. It can even alter the gearshift pattern for a more fuel-efficient drive. Clever stuff, as are the Bang & Olufsen stereo range, air-conditioned front seats Audi MMI touchpad options.
It also has an even longer wheelbase than the current car. As that already had quite exceptional levels of interior space, we expect the new Audi A6 to be even roomier still. Both four-seat and five-seat rear configurations are offered. There new Audi A6 saloon also has a 530-litre boot.
Prices not yet confirmed: to start at £32k?
Audi has not released prices for the new A6, which goes in sale in the UK next April. German cars, however, will start at around £32,500 – while prices for the current Audi A6 start at £28,000 (admittedly, though, for a less powerful 140PS diesel).
More details on the new Audi A6 will be announced early next year, for a car that remains important to Audi. Despite the brand’s progressive expansion into new niches, ‘core’ models such as the A6 remain key profits-drivers.
Drivers of the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class will be watching with interest to see what Audi delivers…
Read our review of the current Audi A6 and other car reviews
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