2012 Audi A6 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2011

Highlights

  • All-new redesign
  • Sedan body style will be followed by a wagon
  • Lighter materials to reduce weight and improve fuel economy
  • Standard 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline engine
  • New 8-speed automatic transmission
  • New hybrid and diesel powerplants
  • New LED headlamps
  • New technology includes self-park and head-up display, among others

Introduction

The Audi A6 is a midsize luxury sport sedan that traces its roots to the original Audi 5000 models (also called the Audi 100/200 in Europe). The 5-passenger Audi A6 has traditionally been offered with standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive throughout its history. While early models were fitted with a 5-cylinder engine (naturally aspirated or turbocharged), more recent variants sold in the North American market have only been offered with 6- or 8-cylinder engines (the range-topping RS6 model featured a V-10). Audi has produced the A6 in both 4-door sedan and 5-door Avant (station wagon) body styles.

The 2012 model year welcomes an all-new, fourth-generation A6. While completely redesigned, the exterior is only slightly changed from its predecessor. The most significant changes occur under the hood, where Audi is introducing a new 6-cylinder diesel engine (a first for the U.S. market) as well as a new gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain based on a 4-cylinder gasoline engine.

The 2012 Audi A6 is expected to arrive in showrooms in late 2011.

Overview

Completely redesigned for the 2012 model year, the new Audi A6 (designated "C7" internally) features more aggressive headlight styling, lower front air intakes and a more defined "shoulder" line that runs beneath the windows. There is also a new matte black diffuser under the rear bumper, to further define the dual exhaust pipes.

Beneath the skin, the platform features more lightweight aluminum, replacing heavy steel. According to Audi, nearly 20 percent of the body is alloy, and the front fenders, hood, trunk lid and doors are all skinned in aluminum. Weight savings translate to improved acceleration, better handling, and improved gas mileage. To further reduce engine load and improve fuel economy, the power steering rack has been redesigned with an efficient electromechanical drive (there is no need for a belt).

Inside the cabin, the 2012 Audi A6 is recognized for a new wraparound cockpit. The centerpiece is a 7-inch driver information system on the instrument cluster, presenting the operator with most of the vehicle's vital information in one location. Vehicles equipped with the optional navigation system will have an 8-inch display (it rises automatically from the center of the dashboard and drops out of sight when not in use).

As with any new design, automakers introduce new technology. Audi is introducing the A6 with a self-parking system, head-up display (speedometer and navigation information is projected on the front windshield), and thermal night vision (which highlights unseen pedestrians and animals at night). Lastly, like its bigger sibling Audi A8, the A6 will be available with LED headlamps. They use less electricity than their incandescent counterparts, and they deliver a more diverse light pattern that is closer to "natural" light.

Powertrain

The 2012 Audi A6 will arrive with a standard 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6 engine under the hood of the A6 3.0. The standard transmission is a new 8-speed automatic, helping to improve fuel economy and acceleration. While standard models are front-wheel drive, the automaker's "quattro" permanent all-wheel-drive system is optional.

New for 2012 is the arrival of a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine, under the hood of the A6 3.0 TDI model. Already familiar to those who know the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI (it shares the same engine), the turbocharged powerplant is rated at 225 horsepower and an estimated 400 lb.-ft. of torque. The diesel is certified for sale in all 50 states.

Another new arrival is the A6 Hybrid, fitted with a gasoline-electric powerplant designed around a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, 4-cylinder gasoline engine. When combined with its 45-horsepower electric motor and a modified 8-speed automatic transmission, the A6 Hybrid will be capable of running in "electric-only" mode to over 60 mph, according to Audi. When both powerplants are in use (during normal operation), it is reportedly able to hit 60 mph in 7.3 seconds and return an average fuel economy of 38 mpg, the automaker says.
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