This is the new Audi A6. Despite a seemingly endless flow of new metal over the last 12 months, Audi has found time to give its 5-series, E-Class and XF rival a bit of a spit and polish, enhancing the saloon and estate line-up with new petrol and diesel engines, tweaked interior and exterior styling and enhanced safety equipment. The revised line-up arrives here in October, with the saloon priced at £24,800, and the Avant estate commanding a £1570 premium over the equivalent four-door model.
So what’s the big story with the Audi A6, then?
Headline news is the arrival of two new engines – a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol and an ultra frugal 2.0-litre turbodiesel aimed at the corporate driver. The forced induction petrol TFSI (T in the Audi lexicon now somewhat confusingly signifying engines with either a supercharger or turbo blower, or both) majors on torque, developing 286bhp at a relaxed 5000rpm and 310lb ft between 2500-4850rpm.
That’s enough to push the A6 to 60mph in 5.9 seconds and onto the standard 155mph limited top speed, while returning 29.7mpg on the combined cycle, and posting a CO2 level of 219g/km. The cleaner and more frugal engine effectively replaces both the outgoing 3.2 FSI V6 and the 4.2 V8 petrol units.
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With the price of petrol as it is, I’ll pass. Tell me about the diesel…
It’s the 2.0TDIe diesel that’s likely to get most corporate buyers reaching for their wallet, though. The high-economy common rail unit develops some modest performance figures – 135bhp at 4000rpm and 235lb ft at 1750rpm for a 10.3 second sprint to 60mph and a 129mph top speed is hardly going to set your pants on fire – but 53.3mpg and 139g/km will certainly put a smile on the face of any cash-strapped fleet manager.
The A6 employs an on-demand power steering pump, an alternator capable of regenerating energy during coasting, a bespoke long-legged six-speed manual gearbox and a 20mm lower ride height. A 170bhp version of the same engine will arrive later in the year.
Anything else I should know?
Audi’s engineers have fettled the A6’s suspension to improve its ride and handling – the cars feature new springs and larger-diameter front shock absorbers with a revised valve system. And following on from the success of the rear-biased quattro system used in the S and RS models, all four-wheel-drive A6 models will now feature the 40/60 split for enhanced rear-drive characteristics.
Visually, the new model will be subtly distinguished by its revised front end – the grille, headlamps, bumpers and air intakes are all modified, while the saloon features an integrated bootlid spoiler. A new rear diffuser and taillights round off the visual upgrades.
Inside, there’s new ‘high-resolution’ instruments, a tweaked MMI Multi Media Interface, 3D mapping for the 40GB hard drive sat-nav, and a new blindspot lane-departure warning system. Transmissions - six-speed manual, six-speed tiptronic automatic and seven-speed multitronic CVT automatics – remain as before. And as before the S-line sports package – which adds 18inch alloys, sports suspension, daytime LED running lights and a 30mm lower ride height – is an option across the majority of the models.
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