Following the introduction of the Audi A8 limousine and Audi A7 Sportback is the equally advanced and all-new Audi A6 executive saloon.
On the surface, the new Audi A6 looks sportier and more chiselled than its predecessor, and shares styling cues with the flagship Audi A8. There are sharper crease lines and bulging rear fenders which are reminiscent of the original Quattro.
Snazzy matrix LED front and rear lights are available options. But in the context of Singapore’s well-lit streets, they would be quite irrelevant.
Emphasising the Audi A6’s width and more planted stance is the chrome strip that extends across the rear end to “connect” the tail-lights.
There also seems to be a pair of what looks like trapezoidal tailpipes. As it turns out, these are the same faux exhaust designs on the Audi A7 and Audi A8. The real tailpipes are actually beneath the bumper.
Such appendages are superfluous. According to an Audi spokesperson, there were mixed views during the development stages. Nevertheless, management signed off on them. Oh well.
Overall, the new Audi A6 is lower but not much larger than the older model. It measures 4939mm long (plus 6mm), 1886mm wide ( plus 12mm) and 1457mm tall (minus 21mm).
The Audi A6’s wheelbase, which is 12mm longer and now measures 2924mm, is good news for rear passengers. However, the backseat’s centre occupant will still be in an awkward position, no thanks to the pronounced floor protrusion.
Boot space remains unchanged at 530 litres, but should you need more space, the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seatbacks will enhance the car’s load-hauling versatility.
The Audi A6’s cabin can be described as a swanky and futuristic business-class space. Premium materials found inside include Valcona leather cladding, open-pore wood inlays, and aluminium trim accents.
The Audi A6’s MMI (Multi-Media Interface) infotainment system does away with most buttons and dials. Even the familiar MMI dial and scribble-pad have been banished.
Taking their places are dual touchscreen panels with haptic and acoustic feedback.
The lower 8.6-inch panel lets you control features such as the cabin climate, while the upper 10.1-inch panel shows the navigation screen and various vehicle assistance systems. There are quick-access customisable icons for both screens.
Clearly, the new MMI system is geared towards tech-savvy users, with everything a click, swipe or pinch away. Just keep a microfibre cloth handy, as the glossy black panels smudge easily.
Optional cabin niceties include ventilation and massage functions for the front seats, an air ioniser and fragrance package (like those in high-end BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes), and an audiophile-grade Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system.
There are a multitude of assistance systems, which are bundled into three AI packages – Park, City and Tour.
The Park package includes Parking Pilot and Remote Garage Pilot. The City package includes Cross Traffic Assist, Kerb Warning to protect those expensive rims, and Exit Warning that tells you not to open the door when there is an approaching pedestrian or cyclist.
Lastly, the Tour package includes Adaptive Cruise Assist for speeds up to 250km/h, Traffic Jam Pilot for hands-free driving in heavy traffic up to 60km/h, and Active Lane Assist.
Forming the eyes and monitors of these various systems are five cameras, five radars, 12 ultrasound sensors and a laser scanner.
All components are strategically placed for comprehensive 360-degree surveillance, with the data fed to a central driver-assistance controller.
The new Audi A6 shares its design DNA and MLB Evo architecture with its new Audi A7 and Audi A8 siblings. And just like them, it is also equipped with a 48-volt, 10Ah lithium-ion battery that powers a belt-driven alternator starter.
Rather than boost power, this mild hybrid (MHEV) system helps improve efficiency. Audi says MHEV can reduce fuel consumption by up to 0.7 litres per 100km.
Take your foot off the accelerator pedal when the Audi A6 is in the 55-160km/h speed range and the car can coast with the engine switched off for up to 40 seconds. When decelerating, the alternator recharges the battery.
I managed 8.9km per litre on the drive from Porto to Douro Valley, a route which consisted of city roads, highways and mountain passes.
Although the figure is way off the claimed average consumption of 14.1km per litre, it is respectable for a saloon with a turbocharged 3-litre V6 engine.
Said motor produces 340hp and 500Nm, and powers the A6 from rest to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds. It is quicker than most hot hatches, especially in a straight line.
The Audi A6 has five selectable drive modes – Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual.
I prefer Auto because it tells the system to determine the appropriate drive mode for the prevailing road and speed conditions.
The car’s relatively quick (2.2 turns lock-to-lock) and linear steering makes light work of parking and cornering. However, it lacks feedback at higher speeds.
The Audi A6 can be specified with optional all-wheel steering (AWS). At speeds up to 60km/h, the system turns the rear wheels up to five degrees in the opposite direction to the front wheels. This gives the Audi A6 a smaller turning circle than its more compact Audi A4 sibling.
Above 60km/h, the AWS turns the rear wheels in the same direction (up to two degrees) as the front pair, improving high-speed stability.
Quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) is one of Audi’s Ultra technologies. To help save fuel, only the front wheels are driven by default. When more traction is required, such as during cornering and/or on slippery surfaces, more torque is transferred to the rear wheels. There is a torque vectoring function to help the car around corners, too.
All of these make the Audi A6 feel undramatic and neutral when negotiating fast roundabouts. And if the saloon is equipped with air suspension, it’ll also be utterly composed.
So, the new Audi A6 is not the last word in driver engagement. But it remains true to its executive purpose by delivering swift progress while pampering occupants in its advanced and luxurious cabin.
The Audi A6 3.0 will come to Singapore in the fourth quarter this year. It will be followed by an entry-level variant with a turbocharged 2-litre engine, as well as a stylish A6 Avant (Audi-speak for station wagon).
Audi A6 3.0 (A)
ENGINE 2995cc, 24-valves, V6, turbocharged
MAX POWER 340hp at 5000-6400rpm
MAX TORQUE 500Nm at 1370-4500rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 193.2hp per tonne
GEARBOX 7-speed dual-clutch with manual select
TOP SPEED 250km/h (governed)
CONSUMPTION 14.1km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 161g/km
PRICE INCL. COE To be announced