Audi has (officially now) lifted the sheets of the all-new 2012 A6 that will take on the latest generations of BMW's 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz's E-Class executive sedans. The new A6 is set to make its market debut in early 2011 and will be available at launch with a variety of four-cylinder and V6 petrol and diesel engines, and later on, with a hybrid powertrain claimed to combine the power of a V6 with the fuel efficiency of a four-cylinder unit.
With Audi continuing its "one-style-fits-all" approach to design, there's not much to add about the car's exterior and interior works that hasn't already been said on our A7 Sportback posts. Even though the most accurate description of the new A6 is an A7 with a boot, we won't disagree with those of you waving the "larger A4" or "smaller A8" banner.
Moving on to the more technical aspects of the new A6, the sedan is 4.92 meters (16.14 ft) long and 1.87 meters (6.14 ft) wide, but just 1.46 meters (4.79 ft) high. It has a trunk capacity of 530-liter (18.72 cubic ft).
Audi says the aluminum components make up more than 20 percent of the body with all add-on parts, such as the front fenders, the engine hood, the rear hatch and the doors, as well as the bulkhead and the crossmember in the luggage compartment, all made of aluminum panels.
Underneath the body we meet an aluminum suspension with five control arms up front and, a self-tracking trapezoidal-link suspension at the rear, plus a redesigned power steering system with an electromechanical drive. As an option, buyers will be able to order an adaptive air suspension with controlled damping as well as a Dynamic steering system.
At launch, Audi will offer the 2012 A6 with a choice of five engines with the company claiming that fuel consumption throughout the range has decreased by up to 19 percent compared to the previous model.
The gasoline range includes two options, a 2.8-liter naturally aspirated V6 with 204HP and 280 Nm (206.52 lb-ft) of torque, and a 3.0-liter TFSI supercharged V6 delivering 300 hp and 440 Nm (324.53 lb-ft).
The 204HP model completes the 0-100 km/h (62mph) sprint in 7.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph). Average consumption in the EU cycle comes to 7.4 liters per 100 km (31.79 US mpg) with 172 g CO2 per km (276.81 g/mile).
The 3.0 TFSI sprints from standing to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds and reaches an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). It consumes on average 8.2 liters per 100 km (26.7 US mpg) and emits 190 g CO2 per km (305.78 g/mile).
There are three diesel options starting with a redeveloped 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI producing 177 hp and 380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) of torque. In conjunction with a manual gearbox, it propels the A6 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.7 seconds, then on to a top speed of 228 km/h (141.67 mph). In the EU cycle, it requires 4.9 liters per 100 km (48 US mpg) and emits 129 g CO2 per km (207.61 g/mile).
Next up in the diesel family is the 3.0 TDI V6 with 204 hp and 400 Nm (295.02 lb-ft) of torque. Paired with a multitronic transmission, it accelerates the A6 to 100 km/h (62mph) in 7.2 seconds and achieves a top speed of 240 km/h (149mph). Its average consumption is 5.2 liters per 100 km with a CO2 emissions level of 137 g per km (220.48 g/mile).
The top-of-the-line version of the 3.0 TDI churns out 245 hp and 500 Nm (368.78 lb-ft) of torque allowing the A6 to hit the 100km/h mark in just 6.1 seconds, continuing on to a limited top speed of 250 km/h (155mph). On average, this diesel powerplant uses 6.0 liters of fuel per 100 km (39US mpg) and emits 158 g CO2 per km (254.28 g/mile).
Depending on the engine version, power is transferred to the front wheels or to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system through a manual six-speed gearbox, the continuously variable multitronic, or the brand-new, sporty S tronic.
Shortly after the arrival of the first batch of A6 models, the range will be expanded with the A6 hybrid, the firm's second hybrid model after the Q5 hybrid quattro. The A6 hybrid employs a parallel hybrid concept combining a 211 hp 2.0 TFSI with an electric motor that delivers 33 kW (45 hp) and 211 Nm (155.63 lb-ft) of torque. The electric motor sits directly behind the TFSI, occupying the space of the torque converter upstream of the modified 8-speed tiptronic that drives the front wheels.
The hybrid system's compact lithium-ion battery that provides 1.3 kWh of nominal power and generates 39 kW is stored under the luggage compartment.
Audi says the A6 hybrid can achieve speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph) purely on electricity, but not for very long as at a constant speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) the range in this mode is limited to 3 km. It can also operate with the combustion engine only or in hybrid mode.
In terms of performance, the A6 Hybrid accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (62mph) in 7.3 seconds and tops out at 238 km/h (148 mph), while returning an average fuel consumption of 6.2 liters per 100 km (37.9 US mpg) and a CO2 emissions level of 142 grams per km (228.53 g/mile).
A more practical Avant model (Audi talk for estates / station wagons), as well as more potent S6 and possibly an RS6 models will be gradually introduced into the range.
Further details including pricing and U.S. availability will be announced at a later date.