Stop us if you’ve seen this one before. In case you missed the news on the latest Audi A8 and A7, though, here’s the rundown on the new A6.
As you’ve already guessed, the least expensive of Audi’s medium and large sedan triumvirate borrows, as always, heavily from the long-tail A7 and coddling A8 luxury sedans. At the front, it’s identical to the A7 and mostly the same from the side, save the roofline. The rear end is the A6’s calling card, clearly related to the other two but uniquely executed.
The interior is like the nose, identical to its near-twin, the A7. Its showpiece is the latest Audi MMI touch response system featuring a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen at the top of the dash and an 8.6-inch touchscreen with haptic feedback below that controls the climate and accepts text inputs drawn with a finger. A fully loaded car with both the optional 10.1-inch screen and navigation also includes the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauges and a full-color head-up display.
Driving-related tech features include everything from active safety systems to driver aides such as adaptive cruise control with lane keeping assistance and Audi’s Parking Pilot/Garage Pilot, which allows you to pull the car into or out of a garage or parking space from outside the car with an app on your phone. As with the A7, the A8’s Level 3 autonomous driving technology is not on offer.
The theme continues unabated beneath the hood, where again like the A7, the only likely engine for the U.S. market is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 with a 48-volt belt alternator starter mild-hybrid system. Adding an electric motor/generator to the serpentine belt allows for quicker, smoother automatic engine start/stop as well as regenerative braking, torque fill when the engine isn’t making full power, and the ability to coast with the engine off between 34 and 99 mph. When auto-stopped, which can happen when the car drops below 14 mph coasting to a stop, the engine automatically restarts when the car ahead moves.
That engine is connected exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a variant of Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive, which decouples the rear axle when not needed to save gas. A rear-wheel steering system is optional and improves both agility and the turning radius.
As the wheels are driven and turned, they’re corralled by independent suspension all around with one of four spring and shock combinations: springs and fixed dampers, springs and electronically adjustable dampers, air suspension and electronically adjustable dampers, and a sport suspension with stiffer springs and fixed dampers.
Slightly larger on the outside, noticeably larger on the inside, and fully revamped, the A6 will go on sale in Europe in June with U.S. sales likely to follow by the end of the year.