2012 Audi A6: First Look

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  • Competes with: BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Infiniti M
  • Looks like: One of Audi’s least interesting new designs
  • Drivetrain: 300-hp, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6; seven-speed S-tronic automatic; all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: 2011

Audi has been stylishly revamping its lineup for the past few years. The A5 coupe is a study in elegant coupe design. The A8 sedan is a menacing limo if there ever was one. And now we get the all-new A6, completely redesigned to look pretty sedate. Yes, it has the evil-eye headlamps and Darth Vader grille of the A8, but nothing else about the design is alluring. Even the sleeper-ish new BMW 5 Series makes more of a statement.
Inside is a different story. The A6 looks as high-class as its A7 and A8 big brothers, with lots of available wood trim, an 8-inch monitor and the now-trademark motorboat shifter.
Globally there will be five choices of engines, including diesels and a small-output V-6. In the U.S., we’ll likely only see the most powerful supercharged V-6 that is in the current A6.

There’s nothing wrong with that engine, and Audi says the new A6 will achieve better mileage. The press release clearly states an average fuel economy estimated at 26.6 mpg, which would be a considerable leap from the current A6’s 21 mpg combined mileage. Audi says the new A6 shed about 130 pounds by using more aluminum in the design — 20% of the entire body is aluminum — but we still don’t understand the fuel gains.
We don’t have interior dimensions, but the new A6 is nearly identical in length and width — 193.68 inches long compared with the outgoing model’s 193.5 inches. The cargo space gets a significant bump, from 15.9 cubic feet to 18.7 cubic feet.
There will be a slew of high-tech options, including a Bang and Olufsen stereo, head-up display and wireless internet.

A hybrid model we’ll detail in another post will go on sale later in the year. The 2012 A6 will go on sale in Europe early in 2011, and we’d expect it to hit the States shortly thereafter.

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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