Exterior changes may be subtle, but the new A6 is significantly more hi-tech inside.
After last year's reveals of the all-new Audi A7 and A8, it was only a matter of time before the mid-size A6 executive sedan received an upgrade. Ahead of its debut next week at the Geneva Motor Show, Audi has lifted the wraps off the all-new eighth-generation A6. On the surface, it's difficult to tell the difference between the new car and the outgoing model. Stylistically, the A6 features design cues taken from the A7 and A8, but the changes are rather subtle.
It's slightly larger than the previous model, measuring 0.5 inches wider, 0.3 inches longer, and 0.1 inches taller than its predecessor. Rear legroom has improved as a result, as has headroom and shoulder space. At the front, the A6 adopts a stylish and sophisticated design with "taut surfaces, sharp edges and striking lines." Its inherited the A7's wide singleframe grille, while its flat headlights and large air intakes give the sedan a sporty look. Three versions of the headlights are available, including top-of-the-range Matrix LED lights. Striking lines adorning the side of the A6 reduce the car's visual height, and there's also an integrated trunk spoiler and optional LED taillights with nine vertical segments.
While the exterior tweaks are subtle, inside there are much more significant changes. The cabin borrows nearly everything from the A7, which is a very good thing as this means the A6's interior is much more premium and hi-tech. The range-topping model includes the A7's 10.1-inch MMI infotainment screen, as well as an 8.6-inch display used for controlling the climate control and other convenience functions and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with Audi's virtual cockpit. MMI navigation also offers a host of new navigation features, including a self-learning function based on the driven routes, which generates intelligent search suggestions as you drive.
Audi loves to boast about the A8 being the first car to feature Level 3 autonomous driving technology, so it comes as no surprise to find that the new A6 is loaded with advanced driver assists, which use up to five radar sensors, five cameras, twelve ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner for its Park Assist package. This includes Parking Pilot and Garage Pilot, which enable the car to automatically park itself. A City assist package is also available with features including a new crossing assist, while the Tour assist package comes with an adaptive cruise assist that "supplements the adaptive cruise control by means of gentle steering intervention to keep the vehicle in lane."
Ventilation and massage functions are also optionally available for the seats. Two engine options will be available for the new A6 in Europe. The turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6 develops 340 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque and is connected to a seven-speed S tronic transmission and a standard all-wheel drive system. 0-62 mph takes 5.1 seconds before the sedan hits a top speed of 155 mph. A 3.0-liter TDI V6 diesel also produces 286 horsepower 457 lb-ft of torque. This unit is paired to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission and a quattro all-wheel drive system. No information has been released about US powertrains, but we doubt the diesel model will be available Stateside.
All models have a mild-hybrid system as standard that utilizes a belt-alternator starter and a lithium-ion battery. This enables the A6 to coast between 34.2 and 99.4 mph. The start-stop function kicks in up to 13.7 mph. Audi says the new A6 is "noticeably sportier than the outgoing model." It handles like a sports car but is as maneuverable as a compact thanks to redesigned suspension made of lightweight aluminum in many areas. Despite riding on larger wheels measuring up to 21 inches and tire sizes of up to 255/35, Audi says the A6 has improved ride and noise comfort. Steering is also said to be more direct, making the large sedan extremely maneuverable.
The new Audi A6 will go on sale in Germany this June. Prices for the Audi A6 50 TDI quattro start at 58,050 Euros ($70,945).