Images of the fifth-generation Audi A6 have leaked online, a week ahead of the car’s official unveil at the Geneva motor show. As the three pictures floating on the internet make clear, the new A6 conforms closely to Audi’s design template. Audi’s new age design trademark – the large hexagon-shaped grille – takes up prominent real estate up front and is flanked by sharply-cut headlamps that look like an evolution of the outgoing A6s. LED headlights and daytime-running lights are in keeping with the technology-rich look that Audi prides itself for. There are exaggerated air dams, lower down on the bumper, but the details could be restricted to a sporty version of the A6 that seems to have been pictured. Styling is neat and the lines are crisp, with a crisp waistline that originates at the doors and extends to the tail-lights, adding some dynamism to the look. A neatly arced roof flows into the sizeable tail section – all in all, giving the new A6 a well-proportioned look. It is typical Audi fare at the rear, as well, and you can expect the tail-lamps to be big on tech, in their own right.
While there are no pictures of the interior, as yet, it would be safe to presume that the car will bear a very close resemblance to the latest A7, on the inside. Expect the new A6 to sport the dual-touchscreen arrangement as the A8 and A7. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instruments would also be part of the package. The new A6 shares its underpinnings with the A7 and by extension, which means it will be marginally larger than the outgoing model. It’s safe to expect a roomier cabin.
Due on roads in April, the fifth-generation executive sedan will be capable of Level 3 autonomous driving, where permitted. According to the six-level scale of self-driving capability established by automotive engineering organisation SAE International, Level 3 implies 'conditional automation'. In this state, the car is able to control most aspects of driving and monitoring the road; but the driver must be ready to intervene when necessary. The A8 was the first production car to feature such technology when it was launched earlier this year.
Its power will come from four-cylinder, 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre V6s, and 4.0-litre V8 engines, with two plug-in hybrid variants planned. These will have electric motors to supplement either a four-cylinder or V6 petrol engine; although these derivatives are expected to be more popular in the US and China than in Europe. Plans for a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain have been scrapped
The sporty S6 won't be launched until 2019. However, when it does, its engine will be downsized from the 4.0-litre V8 seen in the current car to the 2.9-litre V6 used in the RS4 Avant and RS5, as well as in the Porsche Panamera S. In the S6, it's likely to produce in excess of 456hp – that's more than the 450hp of the RS4 Avant.
An RS6 is expected to arrive in 2020, with the rival to the BMW M5 said to be morphing into a hugely powerful plug-in hybrid sharing the same powertrain as the 680hp Porsche Panamera S E Hybrid.
The new A6 is likely to come to India towards the latter part of 2018, or even early-2019. We expect Audi to put the spotlight on the petrol-powered variants in-line with its new powertrain strategy.
(WITH INPUTS FROM AUTOCAR UK)