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By Jim Flammang
September 26, 2003
Vehicle Overview Audi’s midsize A6 sedan and A6 Avant wagon got several equipment revisions for the 2003 model year. For 2004, a Sport mode has been added to the multitronic continuously variable transmission used in FrontTrak (front-wheel-drive) models, and quattro all-wheel-drive editions add a sunroof. A power outlet replaces the retractable cupholder in the front console. All models are ready for XM or Sirius Satellite Radio installation.
As the 2004 model year began, Volkswagen’s luxury division offered four A6 models: the A6 3.0 sedan and wagon powered by a 3.0-liter engine; the sportier A6 2.7T sedan equipped with a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-6; and the A6 4.2, which features a 4.2-liter V-8. Later in the season, Audi added a new A6 2.7T S line sedan with 15 horsepower more than the regular 2.7T, which was then discontinued. The A6 models may have FrontTrak, but most Audis are equipped with a permanently engaged quattro all-wheel-drive system. (Skip to details on the: A6 Avant)
Exterior Audi describes the flowing A6 body as an example of simple elegance. The aluminum-trimmed split grille on 2.7T and 3.0 sedans extends to the bottom of the hood. Bright trim reaches around the side windows and lower trunk lid. Dual-exhaust tailpipes are visible.
A sport suspension with a lowered body and 17-inch wheels was standard on the 2.7T and is optional on the 4.2 model. The new 2.7T S line sedan gets nine-spoke 18-inch wheels, an RS-style rear spoiler and special “S line” badging. All models have front and rear stabilizer bars and gas-charged shock absorbers.
Interior Audi buyers get elegance and ample space for five adults. Genuine wood inlays on the instrument panel, console and door panels add a touch of warmth. Leather seating surfaces are standard, and the 4.2 sedan features full leather upholstery. All models have 12-way power driver and front-passenger seats.
The trunks in front-drive sedans have a capacity of 17.2 cubic feet, but space dips to 15.4 cubic feet in models equipped with quattro all-wheel drive. The rear seatback folds for additional space.
Under the Hood A model’s engine size designates its name. The base 3.0 sedan uses a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that produces 220 hp. The 2.7T held a 250-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 with dual turbochargers. In the new 2.7T S line sedan, the 2.7-liter engine develops 265 hp. At the top of the line, the 4.2 sedan 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. Audi’s multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) has no conventional gears and is optional on front-drive models. In the 2.7T, a six-speed-manual gearbox was standard and a five-speed automatic was optional. The 4.2 sedan is available only with the automatic.
Safety Side-impact airbags are standard for front occupants and optional for rear passengers. Sideguard curtain-type airbags deploy along the side windows. Antilock brakes are standard.
A6 Avant The styling and technical details on the 3.0 Avant are similar to those on the 3.0 sedan. Cargo capacity is 73 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. The A6 Avant features bright trim roof rails. Back to top
Driving Impressions Overall, the A6 is a superior road car that also excels in performance. Audi’s multitronic transmission works with satisfying subtlety and delivers a smooth and steady speed increase with no gear changes. Because the engine is quiet, you don’t keep listening for a shift to occur.
The A6’s steering response is quick and precise, but not like that in a smaller car. A person could hardly ask for more than the A6’s smooth yet tautly secure ride. Its quietness is hard to beat, and the 4.2-liter V-8 unleashes plenty of available power.
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