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By Jim Flammang
May 20, 2003
Vehicle Overview The A6 midsize sedans and S6 Avant wagons from Volkswagens luxury division get a moderate list of changes for the 2003 model year. New leather seating surfaces are standard on Audis A6 2.7T and 3.0 models. All-season 17-inch tires are optional on the 2.7T and 3.0 quattro. A number of features have been removed: the prewiring for a CD changer, a passenger-seat memory feature, Tiptronic controls on the steering wheel, and Servotronic steering on 3.0 models.
A sport suspension is now standard on the 2.7T sedans. The A6 4.2 loses its standard sunroof and Bose audio system, and regular three-position seating replaces the 2+1 configuration in the back of this sedan.
The A6 may be equipped with FrontTrak front-wheel drive (FWD), but most Audis are equipped with a permanently engaged quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. FrontTrak models can have a multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). A high-performance S6 Avant wagon joined the 2002 lineup, but an S6 sedan is not offered.
Exterior The 2002 freshening of the flowing-line A6s shape included a new front end and headlights, new bodyside moldings and a revised rear end. The grille on the 2.7T and 3.0 sedans extends to the bottom of the hood. A sport suspension with 17-inch wheels is standard on the 2.7T and optional on the 4.2 model.
Interior Audi buyers get elegance and ample space for five adults. Wood trim adds a touch of warmth. Leather upholstery is standard in the 4.2 and optional in the 2.7T and 3.0 models.
The trunks in FWD sedans have a capacity of 17.2 cubic feet, but space dips to 15.4 cubic feet in models equipped with quattro AWD. The rear seatback folds for additional space.
A split, folding rear seat is installed in Avant models, and an optional rear-facing third seat holds two children. A retractable/removable rear cargo cover and a power rear sunshade are standard. Cargo volume behind the rear seat is 36.4 cubic feet, and that space increases to 73.2 cubic feet when the seat is folded down. Standard 12-way power front seats have electric lumbar adjustment.
Vavona and walnut wood trim on the doors, center console and the dashboard adds a touch of warmth. Leather seating surfaces are standard. All Avants have a 140-watt, eight-speaker Symphony II stereo system with a cassette player and an in-dash six-CD changer. Parktronic rear parking assist is optional, and a Premium option group is available.
Under the Hood A models engine size designates its name. The base 3.0 sedan uses a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that produces 220 horsepower. The 2.7T holds a 250-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 with dual turbochargers. Topping the line is the 4.2 model, which is equipped with a 300-hp, 4.2-liter V-8.
A five-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox with a Sport mode goes into the 3.0 sedan. Audis multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) has no conventional gears and is optional on FWD models. A six-speed-manual gearbox is standard, and a five-speed automatic is optional in the 2.7T. The 4.2 sedan is available with the five-speed automatic only.
A 3.0-liter V-6 engine in the A6 Avant generates 220 horsepower. The A6 Avant Wagons five-speed-automatic transmission employs a Sport mode and Tiptronic manual-shifting provision.
Safety Side-impact airbags are standard in the front seats and optional for rear occupants. Curtain-type airbags deploy along the side windows. Antilock brakes are standard.
Driving Impressions Overall, the A6 is a super road car that also excels in performance. Audis multitronic transmission works with satisfying subtlety, delivering a smooth and steady speed increase with no gear changes. Because the engine is quiet, you dont keep listening for a shift to occur.
Any A6 feels relatively heavy, but its a sensation of substance. Steering response is quick and precise, but not like a smaller car. A person could hardly ask for more than the A6s smooth yet tautly secure ride. Its quietness is hard to beat, and the 4.2-liter V-8 unleashes plenty of available power.