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Driven: Base wagons gone in Audi A6 update

6 pack: The Audi A6 receives a subtle visual upgrade, which includes a wider and flatter single-frame grille for a more three-dimensional look.

Updated Audi A6 launches with sharper looks and value but base wagons disappear

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Audi logo13 Mar 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

AUDI has released the facelifted version of the A6 in Australia, but it has dropped all entry level wagon variants, leaving the forthcoming Allroad crossover and RS6 Avant high-performance flagship as the only load luggers in the range.

The German car-maker has axed the entry level 2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TDI versions of the wagon – or Avant in Audi speak – leaving only high-end variants of the load-lugger.

Starting from $79,900, plus on-road costs, the price of entry into Audi’s BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class competitor jumps $2000 even though its engine capacity falls 200cc to 1.8-litres, while the popular 2.0 TDI diesel variant will not surface until the end of this year.

Additionally, both the 3.0 TDI Biturbo quattro and the sporty S6 carry price increases.

However, the 1.8 TFSI is more powerful and ditches the old Multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) for an S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch alternative, while the 3.0 TDI quattro sedan is now $8500 cheaper than before from $99,900.

Fuel consumption falls up to 21 per cent range-wide, there are wholesale multimedia updates, and every variant comes with extra standard features to help improve value.

The refreshed appearance includes a wider and flatter Audi-signature single-frame grille for a more three-dimensional look, assisted by sleeker headlights with the option of Matrix LED technology, as well as a restyled front bumper with different air inlets, more prominent front mudguards and reprofiled side sills.

The rear features more rectangular tail-lights with new linear illumination detailing and A8 limousine-style Dynamic turning indicators are available front and rear for the first time in this series.

Inside, a variety of trim and material changes have been carried out, with a redesigned instrumentation pod featuring Audi’s Driver Information System sited between the speedo and tacho dials, displaying navigation data as well as a host of other functionality and driveability information.

On the safety front, the A6 now offers adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, Audi Side Assist with rear-mounted radar for safer lane changes, improved night vision assistance that detects animals on the road, standard fitment Audi Pre Sense safety that mitigates impact forces by preparing the vehicle’s safety systems, and improved braking through new fixed aluminium callipers.

Buyers can now option up the boot lid to open automatically via sensors beneath the bumper.

The entry-level 1.8 TFSI employs a lightweight aluminium 1798cc four-cylinder petrol engine to produce 140kW of power – up 8kW over the old 2.0 TFSI – between 4200 and 6200rpm, and an identical 320Nm, between 1400 and 4100rpm.

With the help of dual injection and AVS variable valve timing, the 1570kg sedan hits 100km/h from standstill in 7.9 seconds (down from 8.3s), averages 5.7 litres per 100km (from 6.7L/100km) and achieves 133 grams/km of carbon dioxide emissions. Until the 110kW 2.0-litre TDI Ultra turbo-diesel arrives, it remains the sole A6 with front-wheel drive.

Oddly, the 1765kg 3.0 TDI quattro’s 2967cc 90-degree angle V6 now delivers 20kW less power at 160kW from 3250 to 4500rpm, but the same 500Nm (between 1250 and 3000rpm), with the aid of a single turbo with intercooler, for a 0-100km/h time of 6.6 seconds (up 0.5s), but down a hefty 0.9L/100km to 5.1L/100km and 133g/km rating.

A seven-speed S-tronic distributes torque to all four wheels via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with self-locking centre differential.

As its name suggests, the $124,900 3.0 TDI Biturbo quattro adds another turbocharger for 235kW (up 5kW) between 3900 and 4600rpm and 650Nm between 1400 and 2800rpm. All that extra torque requires a stronger transmission, so in goes an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic to up the 1835kg sedan’s performance ante to 5.0 seconds and 250km/h, while still managing 6.1L/100km and 161g/km.

Moving up to the 1895kg S6 Sedan from $169,900 (a $1K jump), its 3993cc 4.0-litre TFSI V8 petrol pumps out 331kW from 5800 to 6400rpm and 550Nm between 1400 and 5700rpm, for a 0.2-second slice off the 0-100km/h time to just 4.4 seconds. This engine features a unique ‘hot side, inside’ exhaust set-up with its twin turbos sat inside the 90-degree vee. Aided by half-bank cylinder deactivation tech, the S6 averages 9.4L/100km and 218g/km.

Audi says that more details of both the 110kW 2.0 TDI Ultra and 412kW/700Nm RS6 Avant – which starts from $4900 more than before at $229,900 – will be revealed in due course, closer to each variant’s respective Australian launch.

To help justify the $2000 price jump, the 1.8 TFSI sedan includes the S Line exterior styling package, eight airbags, Audi Side Assist, Xenon high-intensity discharge headlights with LED daytime running lights and high-beam assist, automatic parking aided by front and rear cameras, Audi’s MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch pad, as well as Bluetooth audio and telephony, CD/DVD player, a 10-speaker audio system, digital radio, electric folding mirrors, keyless push-button start and 18-inch alloys.

The 3.0 TDI quattro gains Audi Lane Assist, four-zoneclimate control and LED headlights with rear dynamic turning indicators, while stepping up to the 3.0 TDI Biturbo adds 19-inch alloy wheels.

Additionally, a Technik Package bunches Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go, Audi Pre-sense Plus, Park Assist, 360-degree camera and Audi Connect for $4800, or $5800 with Active Lane Assist and four-zone climate control on the base 1.8 TFSI.

The S6 also boasts an Active Noise Cancellation system that broadcasts through the audio speakers.

As with the outgoing version, the A6 employs five-link double wishbones up front and a multi-link wishbone rear suspension arrangement, with electro-mechanical speed-dependent rack and pinion steering. Dynamic steering, adaptive air suspension and sports suspension are optional extras.

Launched in 2011, the existing seventh-generation A6 has been a steady seller for Audi, closing in on its German rivals in the $70,000-plus mid-size luxury segment.

Last year, sales of the A6 grew by 25 per cent to 617 sales against an 8.2 per cent rise for the segment-leading E-Class for 1570 units and a 20 per cent slide for the 5 Series, which recorded 882 units.

Audi A6 pricing*
1.8 TFSI sedan (a)$79,900
3.0 TDI quattro sedan (a)$99,900
3.0 TDI Biturbo quattro sedan (a)$124,900
S6 quattro sedan (a)$169,900
RS6 Avant quattro wagon (a)$229,900
*Excludes on-road costs.

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