Detroit Show 2011 Highlights: 2012 Audi A6

Audi’s all-new A6, on show for the first time at the Detroit motor show, will ape its A8 big brother in more ways than one when it hits UK showrooms next April.

With the executive saloon market jam-packed with talented and attractive opposition, Audi will be hoping that the new A6’s sophisticated technology, generous standard equipment, outstanding cabin materials and class-leading refinement and efficiency can interest those who find the car’s somewhat predictable styling slightly underwhelming.

The new mid-sized Audi must maintain the lead that the brand has established with the outgoing A6 in certain developing global markets, as well as hitting new heights in the more mature European and North American territories.

Proclaimed by Audi as “the most successful executive saloon in the world”, the last A6 has outsold both BMW’s 5-series and Mercedes’ E-class globally. However, its worldwide lead is, in no small part, attributable to sales of Audi’s locally assembled long-wheelbase A6 in China. Even launching into a market in which both the 5-series and E-class are performing beyond expectations, Audi will be hoping that the new A6 can consistently top its segment in the US, Germany and the UK — something that was beyond the last model.

Bucking the trend for incrementally expanding replacements, the new A6 is slightly shorter than the outgoing car, with a lower roofline. It is, however, wider than its immediate forebear and, courtesy of Audi’s MLP platform, has a shorter front overhang and longer overall wheelbase than the last A6. This makes for greater legroom and shoulder room throughout the cabin, as well as a more optimal weight distribution.

Although it’s fitted with more electronic sub-systems as standard, Audi’s new A6 is 80kg lighter than its antecedent, model for model. Wider use of aluminium in the hybrid aluminium/steel superstructure means that the new car’s body-in-white is now 20 per cent aluminium and weighs 15 per cent less than it would if constructed exclusively from mild steel. The car’s doors, wings, bonnet, bootlid and bumpers are also aluminium.

There will be four engines to choose from when the car enters the UK market in April and there could be as many as five more in the pipeline. The launch offering will start with a 175bhp, 280lb ft 2.0-litre TDI — the likely fleet-favoured volume seller. Equipped with a six-speed manual ’box, it will be good for 62mph in 8.7sec but will emit only 127g/km of CO2 and should consume just 57.5mpg on the combined cycle.

Two other diesel versions of the A6 will be offered in the UK, both using Audi’s new 3.0-litre common-rail V6. The detuned 202bhp version will be offered with Audi’s optional Multitronic continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive. It emits 137g/km of CO2 and returns 54.2mpg.

The higher-output 243bhp V6 diesel will get quattro four-wheel drive and Audi’s seven-speed S-Tronic twin-clutch gearbox. With 369lb ft of torque from 1400rpm, it should crack 62mph in 6.1sec, consume an average of 47mpg and emit 157g/km of CO2.

Thanks to: Autocar

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