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Geneva show: Audi A6 coasts in

Executive express: The new-generation A6 will be underpinned by the MLBevo platform that is used in the A7 and the A8.

Mild hybrid powertrains standard for new Audi A6 that arrives later this year


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28 Feb 2018

AUDI has uncovered its eighth-generation A6 sedan that ushers in mild hybrid systems across the range, advanced safety and comfort technology, and an evolutionary exterior design.

Revealed ahead of its Geneva motor show debut next week, the A6 benefits from significant changes under the skin to ensure a sportier yet more comfortable ride, and the increases in dimensions mean it is larger than the model it replaces.

While specific Australian timing is yet to be confirmed, the new A6 will hit local showrooms before the end of this year and be offered with both petrol and diesel powertrains.

Audi is playing catch up after its direct rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz launched their latest 5 Series and E-Class large cars in the past 18 months.

Underpinned by the Volkswagen Group MLBevo platform that is also used for the latest A4, A8 and Q7, the new A6 will share a lot with its swoopy A7 sibling that was revealed in October last year.

The A6 is 7mm longer (4939mm), 12mm wider (1886mm) and 2mm taller (1457mm) and has a 12mm longer wheelbase (2924mm) than the model it replaces. Audi says the interior is also larger than the previous model, with increased head and shoulder room in the front and rear.

It adopts Audi’s latest design language that was most recently evident on the A7 and the A8 limo, and previewed by the Prologue concept from the 2014 Los Angeles motor show, but it maintains a familiar A6 look.

The new model has a long bonnet, long wheelbase and short overhangs, and features Audi’s wide ‘Singleframe’ grille surrounded by a choice of three different headlight options.

In top-spec variants, the A6 has HD Matrix LED headlights that have five horizontal lines forming the daytime running light signature sitting under the “dipped beam modules” that resemble pupils, according to Audi.

Optional LED tail-lights have a single horizontal line with nine vertical segments for each unit, while a “pulsing” coming and leaving home function activates when the car is locked or unlocked.

At the rear, a curved lid for better aerodynamics sits atop the A6’s short trunk, which houses a cargo area with an unchanged capacity of 530 litres.

The all-new interior naturally matches the A7 and features a black panel design that the company says makes for a “relaxed lounge atmosphere”, while the centre stack is angled towards the driver.

Audi is offering its all-digital MMI touch response operating system that allows users to drag and drop central vehicle functions in a desired spot on the MMI screen in a similar fashion to smartphones. Up to seven users can store their preferred settings.

The natural language control processes questions and commands using stored on-board data and knowledge from the cloud, in conjunction with the MMI navigation plus.

The touch response system has haptic and acoustic feedback so users can feel and hear the confirmation of their commands.

Infotainment is managed on the top display screen which is 10.1 inches if MMI navigation plus is optioned, while an 8.6-inch display in the centre console houses functions including climate control. MMI navigation plus includes Audi’s virtual cockpit digital instrumentation system with a 12.3-inch display.

Following on from the A7, Audi has upped the levels of driver assistance systems on the new A6, which includes on some variants the parking pilot and garage pilot that autonomously drives the car in and out of a parking space or garage.

Some variants will be offered with safety packages including the City assist package that has a new crossing assist, while the Tour package has adaptive cruise assist that includes steering intervention to keep the vehicle in the lane.

Audi’s driver assist systems are managed by a central driver assistance controller that uses up to five radar sensors, five cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner to continuously calculate a detailed model of the surrounding environment.

Each of the new powertrains will feature the new mild-hybrid system that pairs a belt alternator starter with a lithium-ion battery, allowing the A6 to coast between 55 and 160km/h.

Audi says the starter recovers up to 12kW of energy during deceleration and that the mild-hybrid tech reduces fuel consumption by up to 0.7 litres per 100km.

From launch in Europe, the A6 will be offered with a 250kW/500Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged TFSI V6 petrol unit paired with a seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission, and a 210kW/620Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel TDI engine with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission.

Both powertrains come standard with quattro all-wheel drive.

The petrol A6 covers 0-100km/h in 5.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 250km/h while consuming 6.7-7.1L/100km of fuel and emitting 151-161g/km of CO2.

The diesel consumes 5.5-5.8L/100km and emits 142-150g/km but Audi has not confirmed the 0-100km/h time for this unit.

Four-wheel steering will be offered on some A6 variants and Audi is promising a sportier ride thanks to big changes in the suspension over the outgoing model.

Depending on the variant, the A6 will come with steel spring suspension, sport suspension, suspension with damper control and adaptive air suspension.

Audi is offering 14 paint colours for the A6, including seven new hues, while sports and design exterior trim lines, including the S line package, will be offered.

It is unclear when the Avant wagon version and the jacked-up A6 Allroad wagon will be revealed. A hot S and even hotter RS version will likely follow, and Audi is also yet to detail the anticipated e-tron plug-in hybrid variant.

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