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AIMS: Sharp prices for Audi’s new A6 sedan
New Audi A6 undercuts rivals on price, competes on fuel efficiency and performance
1 Jul 2011
PRICED from $93,900 plus on-road costs, all three initial variants of Audi’s all-new, seventh-generation A6 large sedan will undercut their equivalent Mercedes-Benz E-class and BMW 5 Series rivals when they go on sale later this month.
The all-wheel drive executive sedan line-up made its local debut at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne today alongside the super-exclusive R8 GT super-coupe, special-edition TT RS S-tronic and the R8-previewing e-Tron sportscar concept that debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt show.
The three Australian A6 launch variants will come standard with Audi’s ‘S line’ exterior styling package, alloy wheel sizes ranging from 17 to 20 inches and a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission.
In addition to keen pricing, the A6 also beats its rivals on fuel economy when fitted with 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel or supercharged petrol powerplants.
Audi says the three drivetrains share efficiency technologies including thermal management, idle-stop and brake energy regeneration, contributing to a fuel economy improvement of up to 21 per cent.
The base engine, a 150kW/280Nm 2.8-litre V6, matches the entry-level $95,300 Mercedes-Benz E250’s four-cylinder for power but is 30Nm down on torque and its 8.0 litres per 100km economy figure can’t match the force-fed Benz four-pot’s (7.3L/100km).
The 190kW straight-six in BMW’s cheapest petrol 5 Series, the $99,900 528i, leads on power and matches the Mercedes for torque, but consumes 0.1L/100km more than the Audi.
Representing the middle of the A6 range for now is the $116,500 3.0 TDI that is $17,900 cheaper than the BMW 535d and almost $20,000 less expensive than the Mercedes E350 CDI.
Producing 180kW and 500Nm and with a 6.0L/100km economy figure, it grabs the BMW’s efficiency crown by a tenth of a litre at the expense of a not inconsiderable 40kW and 100Nm, but is more evenly matched with the 170kW/540Nm of the Mercedes.
Topping the A6 range until the inevitable S and RS performance models arrive is the $121,500 3.0 TFSI, punching out 220kW and 440Nm while returning average fuel economy of 8.2L/100km.
Again it significantly undercuts its German rivals, BMW’s $129,600 535i and the $132,635 Benz E350. In this category the Audi out-torques the competition by a clear 40Nm against the BMW, although it is 5kW down against the Bavarian contender – which also sips an extra 0.2L of petrol per 100km over the Audi.
The naturally aspirated Mercedes puts in a good effort but is behind the pack with 200kW and 350Nm and obviously has to work hard without the help of forced induction, for its fuel economy is the worst of the trio at 9.7L/100km.
Audi Australia corporate communications executive Sean Poppitt told GoAuto at the show that one diesel and one petrol front-drive four-cylinder A6 variants will be added to the line-up in the fourth quarter of this year.
In Europe the entry-level A6 comes with a 130kW/380Nm 2.0-litre diesel powering the front wheels through a ‘Multitronic’ continuously variable transmission and would serve to rival the $83,300 BMW 520d here.
Mr Poppitt said that specifications of the four-cylinder petrol engine were not yet available. The North American market gets a 155kW/350Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine but as the figures suggest, this would not sit comfortably in the Australian range alongside the 2.8-litre petrol V6.
However Mr Poppitt said that even if that engine was delivered to Australia in the same state of tune, it would cater to customers who did not require all-wheel drive or have a preference towards the smooth power delivery of a naturally-aspirated V6.
All other current overseas variants of the A6 feature lower-output versions of the Australia-bound engines, variously without a dual-clutch transmission and/or all-wheel drive and as such all are unlikely for Australia.
Audi recently told GoAuto that the A6 ‘Avant’ wagon remains an uncertainty, but the hot S6 and RS6 is still to come.
According to European reports that car is due to make its world debut at the Los Angeles show in November, with a Frankfurt debut for the S8 in September, which would make a Q4 arrival in Australia just about possible.
The S6 will reportedly be fitted with a circa-320kW turbocharged V8 related to the unit Bentley will employ in its planned entry-level Continental GT. The S8 and RS6 are expected to get an even more powerful version of that engine.
As GoAuto has reported, the new A6’s interior adopts a similar style to the A8 flagship, featuring a wrap-around dashboard top that runs into the front door tops.
Also like its bigger sibling, the central infotainment screen automatically pops up out of the dashboard and the MMI (multi media interface) control dial mounted behind the gear-shifter is complemented by a touchpad that allows occupants to input letters and numbers by drawing them rather than selecting them through the rotary dial.
An advance over the A8 is a head-up display, which projects vehicle speed and other information such as satellite-navigation directions onto the windscreen.
Despite the impending introduction of an all-new model, Audi A6 sales are down just six per cent to the end of May compared with the same period last year, with 204 sales.
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