INGOLSTADT, Germany – Audi reveals the new ҆19-model-year A6 ahead of the Geneva motor show, where the German luxury sedan will make its public debut before North American deliveries begin later this year.
A sister model to the recently introduced second-generation A7 Sportback, the fifth-generation sedan introduces several key developments Audi is banking on to drive sales against stiff premium-brand competition, including a re-engineered platform, new engines featuring mild-hybrid functions together with a chassis with 4-wheel steering and, on more upmarket models, an advanced 48-volt electrical architecture.
The BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class rival also receives a contemporary interior layout with new high-definition displays and touchscreen controls. It also features a newly developed speech-recognition system allowing conversational commands and the latest in real-time navigation from HERE – a former Nokia-owned mapping specialist now controlled in a joint venture among Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler.
Dimensionally, the latest evolution of Audi’s MLB (modular longitudinal architecture) platform lengthens the wheelbase 0.5 in. (13 mm) of the new A6 to 115.1 ins. (2,924 mm).
The exterior styling reflects the latest Audi design language with clear influences from the Audi Prologue concept car unveiled at the 2015 Los Angeles auto show. Elements central to freshened appearance include a heavily structured grille and front bumper in a new-look front end that shares clear similarities with the larger, more luxurious fourth-generation A8.
Farther back, the new A6 adopts more pronounced wheel arch blisters featuring distinctive feature lines for added emphasis front and rear, deeply sculpted doors, a longer 6-window glasshouse and slimmer C-pillar treatment. At the rear is a more pronounced trunklid and prominent LED taillamps intersected by a chrome trim element that aims to add visual width.
In line with its key luxury-class rivals, the new Audi is claimed to feature enhanced aerodynamics with at least one of the upcoming A6 models said to boast a drag co-efficient of 0.24. Body rigidity is said to have been improved through the adoption of a new construction process which sees the front-suspension strut towers, fenders, doors, roof and trunklid made of aluminum.
Like the exterior, the interior of the ҆19-model-year A6 has been comprehensively redesigned. As with the A7, it receives a 12.3-in. (31.2-cm) digital instrument display combined with a 10.1-in. (25.7-cm) multimedia infotainment display integrated within the center of the dashboard and an 8.6-in. (21.8-cm) display mounted at the base of the center console – the latter two offering standard touch control, with haptic and acoustic feedback qualities.
Three driver-assistant packages will be available from the start of sales, the most advanced of which adds adaptive cruise assist – a supplement to the adaptive cruise control of the outgoing A6 with Level 2 autonomous steering intervention to keep the car in the lane for periods up to 30 seconds.
While details pertaining to the North American lineup are yet to be revealed, the new A6 will be sold with the choice of one turbocharged gasoline and two turbodiesel engines from the start of European sales. All engines are supported by a mild-hybrid system that uses a belt-driven alternator and lithium-ion battery to recuperate and store kinetic energy. In 4-cyl. models the mild-hybrid system operates with a 12V electrical architecture, while 6-cyl. models receive a more advanced 48V setup.
The initial lineup starts with the front-wheel-drive A6 40TDI and all-wheel-drive A6 45TDI quattro, both running a 2.0L 4-cyl. diesel with 201 hp and 228 hp, respectively. Farther up is the all-wheel-drive A6 50 TDI quattro with a 3.0L diesel V-6 with 282 hp.
Also planned is the all-wheel-drive A6 55 TFSI quattro. It features a turbocharged 3.0L V-6 gasoline engine developed by Audi and Porsche. The replacement for the earlier supercharged 3.0L gasoline V-6 used in the old A6 delivers 335 hp.
The new A6’s 2.0L 4-cyl. diesel and 3.0L gasoline V-6 are mated to a standard 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, while the diesel V-6 is paired with a standard 8-speed torque converter-equipped automatic. The mild-hybrid system includes a coast function that idles the engine when the driver lifts off the accelerator at speeds between 34 mph and 61 mph (55 km/h and 100 km/h).
New to the A6 is an optional 4-wheel steering system – dynamic all-wheel steering, as Audi prefers to call it. Already adopted by the A7, it turns the rear wheels in an opposite direction to those at the front at low speeds for added maneuverability and a claimed 36.4-ft. (11.1-m) turning circle in city driving. At higher speeds, the rear wheels are operated in parallel to those up front for added stability and enhanced highway lane changes.