New-generation Audi A6 lands in SA (and it’s fancy)
The business-class sedan takes on its BMW and Mercedes rivals with smart new looks and technology
In a declining sedan market that is seeing many customers flocking to SUVs instead, the previous Audi A6 sold just 35 units in SA in 2019, but the newcomer presents some appealing space and sophistication for executives who don’t need to sit high off the ground.
Audi has launched its new-generation A6 business-class sedan in SA with more “end-to-end” digitisation, improved comfort and enhanced driving dynamics to take on its long-standing rivals, the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which performed somewhat better with their respective local sales of 453 units and 295 units in 2019.
The A6 is an all-new car with a smart new exterior design and updated technical wizardry, including night vision.
It goes on sale here in a three-model sedan range with the 331kW/600Nm S6 version as the flagship, but the line-up will later be joined by the steroid-boosted 441kW RS6 Avant derivative.
The S6 has a 48V mild hybrid system to complement its 2.9l six-cylinder petrol turbo engine, allowing the car to coast between 55 and 160km/h. In real-world driving, the mild hybrid technology reduces fuel consumption by up to 0.7l per 100km, says Audi.
The other two engines available now are a 2.0l turbo diesel with 140kW and 400Nm, and a 3.0l turbo diesel with 183kW and 600Nm. As per Audi’s rather confusing new naming convention, the 2.0 diesel model is called the 40 TDI and the 3.0 diesel wears a 45 TDI badge.
All versions are automatic, the 40 TDI employing a seven-speed S tronic and front-wheel drive, while the 45 TDI and S6 lay down their power via eight-speed tiptronic and quattro all-wheel drive.
On the outside, the A6 adopts Audi’s regulation new-style angular singleframe, which is prominently framed by a thick chrome strip. The wide grille gives the car a flatter, more planted appearance, and the wheel sizes range from 18 to 21 inches.
The S6 is sported up with trimmings such as a wide rear diffuser and four tailpipes. For a sportier look, the A6 is available with the S line exterior package and the S6 can be ordered with a black styling package.
LED headlights and rear lights come standard on the base 40 TDI model, and the 45 TDI adopts Matrix LED headlights and sweeping indicators, while the S6 uses HD Matrix LED technology with high-resolution, dynamically illuminating high beam.
THE ALL-DIGITAL OPERATING SYSTEM … CAN BE PERSONALISED WITH INDIVIDUAL SHORTCUTS FOR FAVOURITES
The new A6 has grown in size to offer more cabin room, and Audi says the rear legroom beats its core competitors while the boot is a generous 530l. Electric seats with memory are standard range-wide, while the range-topping S6 gets sports seats. Optionally, seats with ventilation and massage are available.
Audi has further quietened the A6’s driving experience by including acoustic glass, and the extremely rigid body provides a basis for improved ride and handling. The suspension has been updated, and optional rear-wheel steering improves agility in the nearly 5m-long car.
Steel spring suspension comes standard, but customers can opt for sport suspension, while adaptive air suspension is exclusively offered for the S6.
The interior’s been modernised with an all-digital MMI touch-response system. Two large displays, as seen in the new Audi A7 Sportback and Audi Q8, replace most of the buttons and controls of the previous A6.
The all-digital operating system, which also offers voice control that recognises natural speech, can be personalised with individual shortcuts for favourites such as phone numbers, radio stations or navigation destinations.
Instead of being a “dead” screen, the touch-sensitive display gives tactile feedback, the intensity of which can be adjusted.
The navigation system has a self-learning function based on the driven routes, and an optional head-up display projects navigation and other information in the driver’s field of view on the windshield.
Driver assistance systems available in the new A6 include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and a night-vision assistant that uses an infrared camera to recognise the heat signature of pedestrians and animals.
The Audi A6 40 TDI and S6 TFSI are immediately available, while the 45 TDI arrives midyear, and the high performance RS6 Avant is scheduled for the second half of 2020.
Audi A6 40 TDI S tronic — R885,000
Audi A6 45 TDI quattro tiptronic — R1,059,000
Audi S6 TFSI quattro tiptronic — R1,349,500
Prices include five-year/100,000km Audi Freeway plan.