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Driven: Audi fleshes out A6 range
Just one diesel in new six-variant Audi A6 sedan, wagon and performance car line-up
29 Nov 2019
AUDI Australia has confirmed the full line-up for its A6 large executive sedan and wagon range with the local launch of what is expected to be the model’s volume-leading variant, the A6 45 TFSI quattro sedan, priced from $95,500 plus on-road costs.
This four-cylinder turbo-petrol variant joins the V6 turbo-petrol-powered 55 TFSI quattro that quietly made its local showroom debut in August, costing from $116,000 before on-roads and including as standard the S Line upgrade pack that costs $9700 extra on the 45 TFSI.
Diesel has all but been dropped from the range, with only the high-riding Allroad 45 TDI crossover wagon continuing as an oiler when it arrives in the second quarter of next year priced at $109,500 before on-road costs.
At the A6 launch in Adelaide last week, Audi Australia product planning manager Peter Strudwicke told GoAuto A6 customers had “started to move away from diesel” toward the end of the outgoing model’s lifecycle.
“We see that trend continuing, the exception being A6 Allroad, as we still see a TDI buyer there,” he said, adding that Audi’s latest turbo-petrol engines with mild-hybrid technology had helped close the fuel-efficiency gap while delivering diesel-like torque characteristics.
A front-drive 40 TFSI sedan variant will appear around the same time as the Allroad, serving as range-opener from $85,500 plus on-roads.
Pricing of the performance-oriented S6 sedan was announced as $154,900 plus on-roads at the launch event but GoAuto has since been advised that this is subject to change due to "developments in this competitive space" that will now result in S6 pricing being confirmed in January, ahead of its April arrival.
The line-up will be topped by the blistering RS6 Avant V8 super-wagon in the third quarter – pricing yet to be confirmed – while Audi’s A7 Sportback range will also receive the S and RS treatment in sync with the A6. The S7 will be around $10,000 more expensive than the S6.
Despite an overall market shift from executive sedans to luxury SUVs, Mr Strudwicke maintained that the A6 was still an important model for Audi, with 10,000 of its predecessors sold in Australia since the nameplate was introduced in 1994.
“There’s more choice but it’s still pretty solid; it (A6) has that history and it’s an important segment to be in,” he said.
Audi Australia corporate communications executive Shaun Cleary acknowledged that while new models introduced since the outgoing A6 launched in 2011 could erode volume expectations for the new one, extra choice in the showroom presented an overall advantage for the brand.
“The A7, the Q8, all those models that weren’t around in 2011 contribute to that brand aspiration so while in volume terms it (A6) may not be enormous in isolation, the fact all these models are available and that people have choice at the premium end of our range is important for Audi,” he said.
“We have one of the broadest offerings probably in the entire market and that’s certainly something we see as an advantage.”
Mr Strudwicke claimed the new A6 carries $13,000 worth of additional equipment over the outgoing model while costing $4000 less to buy, variant-for-variant.
He added that the S6 performance model’s $154,900 + ORC ticket ($15,000 less than its predecessor) would make it Australia’s most affordable S6 since the nameplate was introduced in the 1990s.
Based on nearest-equivalent drivetrains, the $95,500 (+ ORC) A6 45 TFSI quattro with 180kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine represents a substantial saving over a $111,640 + ORC Mercedes-Benz E300 with identical outputs or the $112,900 + ORC BMW 530i with 5kW more power but 20Nm less torque.
Only the Audi comes with all-wheel drive.
Jumping up to the $116,000 +ORC A6 55 TFSI Quattro, powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-petrol engine producing 250kW and 500Nm, widens the gap even further.
The nearest equivalent BMW is the $142,900 + ORC BMW 540i that matches Audi on power but is 50Nm down on torque and drives the rear wheels, while Mercedes-Benz asks $146,340 + ORC for an E450 4Matic developing 20kW more power and matching the A6 on both torque and the presence of all-wheel-drive.
Both the 45 and 55 TFSI A6 variants distribute drive through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while BMW and Mercedes-Benz respectively use eight-and nine-speed torque converter units.
Audi debuted its MMI Connect Plus telematics service on the A6, including a three-year subscription to online services as standard, with 10 years’ connectivity to the emergency SOS function that automatically summons emergency services if an airbag is deployed or the car autonomously pulls over due to an unresponsive driver.
Permanently connected to the LTE mobile network, Connect Plus keeps the driver informed of weather and fuel prices at the programmed sat-nav destination – which includes Google Earth satellite imagery overlay – and can automatically switch to online audio streaming if reception of the tuned radio station is lost.
This is delivered by two-tier touchscreens of 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch in size, while the compatible myAudi smartphone app can enables the keep the A6 owner to keep tabs on their car while away from the vehicle and enables the device to be used as a key.
Also debuting on the A6 as standard equipment is Audi’s latest Virtual Cockpit Plus customisable 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, wireless device charging and wireless Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity – for which BMW charges an upgrade fee or ongoing subscription.
Increased levels of active safety and driver assistance aids – 39 in total – are also included across the new A6 range, with five radars, a dozen ultrasonic sensors, a 360-degree camera suite with kerb view facility and ‘exit warning plus’ that prevents occupants from opening doors into the path of other road users.
All this enables a level of autonomy, with adaptive cruise control and advanced lane-keep assist taking much of the control on highways and in traffic jams, as well as numerous types of collision prevention and avoidance.
The A6 can also detect if its wheel nuts are loose.
The standard kit list extends to three-zone climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery with electric adjustment and memory, a 180-watt audio system with 10 speakers, adaptive matrix LED headlights, stitched leatherette trim on the dash and door trims, 19-inch alloy wheels and a gesture-activated boot lid release.
A $3000 Style package available on the 45 TFSI adds 20-inch alloy wheels, 20mm-lower sports suspension and upgraded high-definition matrix LED headlights plus animated turn signals.
The $9700 S Line pack – standard on the V6-powered 55 TFSI – upgrades to sports front seats, Valcona premium leather, a head-up display, adaptive suspension with 10mm ride- height drop, 20-inch alloys, an S Line body kit and decal set, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, illuminated sill plates and black headlining.
On variants already specified with the S Line pack, a $9800 Premium Plus adds a 706-watt 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, panoramic glass roof, electric steering column adjustment with memory, 30-colour ambient interior lighting, high-definition matrix LED headlights, rear privacy glass, perforated leather steering wheel wrap, brushed aluminium trim inlays, stainless steel pedals and a powered boot lid.
Upgrading to 21-inch alloys costs another $1300.
A rear seat comfort package can also be specified on S Line variants to add four-zone climate control with touchscreen control panek and additional face-level vents in the B-pillars, three-stage heating for outboard seats and extended upholstery on the armrests and centre console.
Premium paint costs $2200 – with Brilliant Black being the only no-cost option – and dynamic steering with rear steer and a variable-ratio rack is $4200. Self-levelling adaptive air suspension can he had on the 55 TFSI for $2000, wood interior trim inserts are $750 and a 1.8kW 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audiophile 3D sound setup is $12,000.
Mr Strudwicke said the upcoming S6 will include all the 55 TFSI’s equipment and the
Premium Plus pack as standard “with more on top of that as well”.
Audi has resisted growing the new-generation A6 too dramatically, increasing length by 7mm to 4939mm and width by 12mm to 1886mm between the mirrors (2110mm including mirrors).
Overall height is up just 2mm, to 1457mm and wheelbase is extended 12mm, to 2924mm.
Improved packaging has amplified these subtle dimension changes to extend interior length by 21mm, providing 17mm of extra legroom, while headroom is increased by 8mm at the front and 11mm in the rear.
Developing 180kW from 5000-6500rpm and 370Nm of torque between 1600 and 4300rpm, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder 45 TFSI accelerates from 0-100km/h in six seconds, half a second quicker than the equivalent outgoing model.
Its 12V mild-hybrid system can deliver a 2kW and 60Nm boost for five seconds.
The 3.0-litre V6 55 TFSI produces 250kW at 5000-6400rpm, with 500Nm of torque from 1370-4500rpm.
Its 0-100km/h time is 5.1 seconds and its 48V mild-hybrid system has a five-second boost of 6kW and 60Nm.
Mr Strudwicke said the electrification also helped reduce turbo lag and the 48V system enabled the combustion engine to switch off during ‘coast’ mode at speeds between 55 and 160km/h, while recovering up to 12kW of energy into the 10 amp-hour lithium-ion battery during regenerative braking and reducing overall fuel consumption by 0.7 litres per 100 kilometres.
On paper, the A6 55 TFSI with a V6 is 0.1L/100km more efficient than the four-cylinder 45 TFSI fitted with the same S Line pack, matching the basic 45 TFSI at 7.2L/100km on the combined cycle and 164 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre (one gram less than the basic 45 TFSI and two grams lower than the 45 TFSI with S Line).
“Our TFSI engines are getting so good now with mild hybridisation, with their high torque at low revs, all those characteristics that were previously something that was a bit unique to diesel engines in the past,” said Mr Strudwicke.
“There is less reason now (to choose a diesel) as efficiency keeps improving on the petrol engines.”
2019 Audi A6 pricing*
*Excludes on-road costs
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