Audi has revealed the sixth-generation A6 sedan in a series of official images ahead of the public premiere at the Detroit auto show. It arrives in North America in the second half of 2012.
The 2012 A6 is the sister car to the recently introduced A7. They share platforms, engines, front- and four-wheel-drive combinations, electric architectures and high-quality interior appointments. Most intriguingly, the A6 will be the second Audi model to offer the choice of hybrid drive. A new S6 is also planned.
Fitted with the same gasoline-electric system earmarked for the Q5 hybrid, the A6 hybrid has a 211-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. It works in combination with a 45-hp brushless electric motor drawing energy from a 1.3-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery mounted within the floor of the trunk.
Conceived as a full hybrid, the new Audi is capable of providing pure electric drive at speeds up to 62 mph. When traveling at a constant speed of about 37 mph, the car is claimed to provide a zero-emission range of 1.9 miles. Performance-wise, the car is said to hit 62 mph from standstill in 7.3 seconds and to reach a top speed of 148 mph. Combined city/highway fuel consumption is put at 37.9 mpg.
The A6 adopts a crisper and edgier exterior design than its six-year old predecessor. Still, a flourish of familiar Audi design features such as a prominent six-corner single frame, angular headlamps, a heavily curved roofline, prominent shoulder line underneath the side windows and stylized horizontal tail lamps leave little doubt about its Ingolstadt origins.
Dimensionally, the new A6 is slightly shorter but wider and marginally lower than its predecessor. The Audi also sits on a larger chassis; the wheelbase has been extended and the front track grows. Despite increased frontal area, the overall drag coefficient has improved to 0.26--down from an earlier 0.29.
Eschewing the aluminum-spaceframe build process used by the larger A8, the sixth-generation A6 retains a conventional unitary steel platform--albeit with a higher percentage of high-strength steel than the car it replaces--for added stiffness and lower weight. The body also makes more extensive use of aluminum, which is now used for the hood, front fenders, bulkhead, doors and trunk lid. In base guise, curb weight is claimed to have been reduced by 176 pounds, to 3,472 pounds, including 66 pounds of weight savings in the body alone.
Alongside the new gasoline-electric hybrid drive, the new A6 will come with the choice of gasoline and diesels--all equipped with standard stop/start, brake-energy recuperation and thermal management systems. Depending on the engine, buyers will also get the choice of three different gearboxes: a conventional six-speed manual, a continuously variable Multitronic and a seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic. As is tradition with all of Audi’s traditional models, there is also the choice of front- and torque-vectoring four-wheel drive.
Heading the new A6 lineup until the S6 model arrives is the 3.0 TFSI. It runs Audi’s supercharged 3.0-liter V6 direct-injection gasoline engine with 300 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque. In combination with the A6’s new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, it delivers a 0-to-62-mph time of 5.5 second, a 155-mph top speed and 26.7 mpg.
The A6 is the last of Audi’s mainstream models to adopt its modular longitudinal architecture underpinnings. Providing a larger engine bay that has helped Audi engineers shift the engine rearward, it offers improved weight distribution. The steering was also reworked and is now operated by an electrohydraulic pump and uses a more direct 16.1:1 ratio.
Inside, the A6 leans heavily on the A7 with a similar wraparound dashboard, instrument panel, multifunction steering wheel, switchgear and MMI (multimedia interface) rotary controller. Audi is offering a long list of options, including an eight-inch color monitor, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, a head-up display, ambient lighting and an online service developed in partnership with Google.