This summer, luxury and sports sedan buyers will have a new player to consider, but their decision should be easier than ever. That's when the all-new 2012 Audi A6 will arrive in showrooms, building on Audi's long legacy of offering the most innovative and stylish models in the marketplace, vehicles that quickly become the benchmark in whichever class they compete. From its revised styling to its all-new engine and transmission options, the new, seventh-generation A6 will continue to provide executive sedan buyers with a clearly superior product.
The most obvious change to the all-new A6 is its exterior styling, which continues to speak luxury and sportiness in understated tones. One glance and you will know this is an A6, but look closer, and you will see that the design has been updated in almost every area, incorporating Audi's striking new corporate design language that was first seen on the 2011 Audi A8.
The 2012 A6 arrives with a more modern, sophisticated look. Up front is a version of the large trapezoidal grille that was introduced on the 2011 Audi A8. Flanking the grille is a pair of headlight clusters featuring Audi's now-signature LED technology. The available all-LED system consists of five elements: Low beams, high beams, daytime running lamps, turn signals and “junction” lamps that react to conditions and point individual elements to illuminate the road most effectively. The face of the new A6 manages to be conservative and aggressive at the same time – timeless and modern with clear cooperation between designer and engineer.
The fresh look continues along the sides of the new A6. The flanks have a more defined shoulder line that adds tension to the car's profile and the re-contoured fenders better show off the new wheel and tire options. Those include a new 20-inch wheel that is both stylish and functional, allowing the vehicle to stay planted even better than in the past. The wheels also sit 2.7 inches farther apart for 2012, the longer wheelbase (115 inches) providing even more interior space for front- and rear-seat occupants.
Audi has increased the use of high-strength aluminum throughout the 2012 A6, reducing the car's weight (now 3,836 pounds) and allowing the vehicle to perform even better than its predecessor. While exterior dimensions remain similar to the 2011 A6, thanks to clever packaging, the trunk has grown from 15.9 cubic feet to 18.7 cubic feet. The cabin also feels larger and airier, thanks in part to the car's longer wheelbase and revised layout.
There is plenty of wood and leather inside, and the 2012 A6 interior also has a flow to its design that makes it much warmer and more inviting than inside the competition. Of course, the A6 also offers all the latest safety and infotainment technology as well.
The new electromechanical power steering system on the 2012 A6 allows Audi to offer fully automated parking assist on this model for the first time. Thanks to a forward-facing camera, the car can also steer itself back on course should the driver stray out of his or her lane. There is an optional front crash-sensing system available that uses the navigation system, a video camera, radar and ultrasonic sensors to analyze incoming data and apply the brakes automatically should it sense a front-end crash is imminent.
The new A6 also uses the latest generation of Audi's award-winning Multi Media Interface (MMI®) system, which combines multiple functions in one device. This helps minimize the number of buttons, knobs and switches on the dash with navigation, radio, telephone, voice activation and car setup available through one control knob. Buyers can choose between a 6.5- and eight-inch central video screen that electronically drops from the dash when needed. That full-color screen is also one of the highest resolution screens available thanks to the use of an NVIDIA® chip, which Audi was the first to employ in a car application.
Buyers who choose the optional eight-inch screen also get MMI Touch®, the innovative touchpad control system that was first available on the 2011 A8. The system includes a hard disk for music storage and can link with your cell phone to create a mobile Wi-Fi network for up to eight gadgets at the same time. The integrated navigation system even allows you to import Google Maps data and route instructions to make arriving at your destination as hassle-free as possible. A Bang and Olufsen® stereo upgrade will be available, as will a head-up display for the first time.
Besides being an exquisite luxury car, the A6 is also considered a sports sedan, and for good reason. Despite the impressive exterior dimensions, the A6 handles and drives like a smaller car, increasing confidence from behind the wheel because of its maneuverability. That makes it easier to park, but it can also negotiate twisty roads with aplomb. The newly available air suspension further serves to improve ride quality while the optional S Line Package sharpens handling for the more performance-oriented driver. Improving handling in all conditions and lending added confidence in inclement weather, Audi's legendary quattro® all-wheel drive system is always there to direct power to where it's most needed.
There is also plenty of power available to help the 2012 A6 accelerate quickly and smoothly, thanks to the car's new, supercharged, 3.0-liter TFSI® V6 engine. (“TFSI” stands for “Turbocharged Fuel Stratified Injection.”) This powerful and efficient six-cylinder engine develops 310 hp and 325 lb/ft of torque, more than enough for just about any driving requirement. All that power is routed through an equally new eight-speed automatic transmission that helps contribute to a brisk zero-to-60 mph time of less than 5.5 seconds. Remarkably, fuel economy also improves to a predicted 22/36 city/highway mpg and a combined 26.6 mpg rating – a significant improvement over the current model.
The 2012 Audi A6 3.0 TFSI quattro is expected to carry an MSRP of $51,500. That's an incredible bargain for an all-new sports sedan with this level of power, equipment, prestige and panache. Front-wheel drive models powered by the company's 2.0-liter TFSI may become available at an even lower entry price, and Audi has also hinted that diesel and hybrid models may be in the cards for the U.S. market as well. All specs listed above are based on the sedan released in Germany; full details are expected as the 2012 Audi A6 approaches its summer launch date.
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