It seems like the Audi A6 was just introduced, but the 2009 model shows Audi is serious about remaining the leader in “business class.” What’s more, there is big news lurking under that understated A6 hood.
The visible changes made to the 2009 Audi A6 are subtle, but the new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is anything but. Holding down the center for the Audi sport sedan lineup, the A6 is aimed at the corporate crowd (or those on their way up) who want conservative styling on the outside and more than a little sport under the hood. The business class approach serves Audi very well, and the new A6 simply refines and improves a winning concept.
The A6’s visual changes are subtle and exciting. You’ll find notable resculpting front and rear. The grille and foglights are more pronounced. The air ducts are redesigned for improved engine cooling. There also are new headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lights (a new Audi signature), reworked exterior-mirror housings with integrated repeater lamps and added chrome along the shoulder line. The rear bumper has been reworked with a more prominent crease and better integration with the tailpipes. The A6 Avant (wagon body) will incorporate most of the new features.
Inside, the A6 continues the Audi tradition of fine quality interiors. Audi Side Assist, a blind-spot monitoring system, is now available. The gauges get a fresh design, and a few aluminum bits gleam as trim as the Audi MMI enters its third generation. Audi’s available MMI Navigation Plus features a CD/DVD/Navigation combination drive with a 40 GB hard drive capacity that can be used to store MP3s and up to 5,000 addresses. A new bird’s-eye picture mode shows landscapes in topographical relief in full detail, complete with three-dimensional images of landmark buildings. Like other such systems, it uses radar to detect when a car is in your blind spot and warns you with a light on the side view mirror.
The mechanicals are a different story. Audi has introduced a 3.0-liter V6 with a Roots-type Eaton supercharger. The air compressor teams up with a couple of intercoolers, so cool air maximizes the effect of direct fuel injection for potent combustion. The blown six puts out 300 hp and delivers near instantaneous torque at launch, something Audi feels is lacking in turbocharged engines. The blower helps generate 310 lb/ft of torque and keeps it on tap from 2,500 rpm on up. According to Audi, the A6 3.0T quattro's zero-to-60 mph acceleration and top speed matches that of the A6 4.2 quattro at 5.9 seconds and 155 mph.
Previewers say the new engine is lively, powerful and refined with little blower whine invading the cabin. Audi says the refinement is due to new engine mountings developed specially for the A6 3.0T. The optional six-speed automatic gearbox seems well suited to the new engine and shifts are smooth with decisive action. The A6 offers three modes of operation – Comfort, Sport and Manual – actuated by steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The A6 offers three other engine options – the 255-hp 3.1-liter V6, 350-hp 4.2-liter V8 and the 435-hp 5.2-liter V10 from the high-performance S6. The base A6 uses the 3.1-liter motor teamed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) driving the front wheels. All other A6 models come with a standard six-speed automatic gearbox with a Tiptronic “shift-for-yourself” feature and Audi’s quattro AWD. Quattro gets an upgrade for 2009 that adjusts the power apportionment rearward. The front/rear split is now 40/60, a change made in conjunction with a retuned suspension to add more sport to the handling.
Audi says every component in the A6 suspension got an examination as part of a drive to tighten up handling while preserving a comfortable ride. New large-diameter, front-axle shock absorbers and improved spring response were just two of the many changes.
Look for the 2009 Audi A6 in January, and we’ll be looking to offer you a thorough inspection and test drive.