Audi’s all-new A6, revealed at the Geneva motor show, will come to India in 2019. A car Audi is keen to get ‘back in the game’ with, the new A6 is sharply styled, loaded with technology and superbly equipped to take on competition from Mercedes and BMW.
The new look for the A6 comes as a breath of fresh air for Audi, currently accused of Russian doll styling, where most models look like clones of each other. It’s still clearly an Audi, but the stance is sportier, the car seems lower slung, and detailing is clearly more muscular. Audi designers say the lowered shoulder line emphasises the link between the wheels to accentuate the quattro system. And adding to this low-slung look is the grille and headlights that have been placed lower down. Even the rear looks very different too; it’s beautifully crafted and super-clean, and the detailing is fresh and very attractive. I especially love that horizontal chrome line that runs across the rear.
Know internally as the C8, the new A6 will probably be the last Audi sedan to be built on the company’s MLB Evo architecture, as Audi will soon move to Porsche’s rear-biased MSB platform. Still, Audi expects the A6 will be transformational in many ways and help bridge the gap between propulsion systems. It is likely to be powered by petrols, diesels, mild-hybrids, strong-hybrids, plug-in hybrids and even possibly a fully electric powertrain.
The most popular engine for India is likely to remain the 2.0 TDI. Similar to the one powering the earlier-generation car, the engine is likely to put out around 190hp. In response to the growing demand for a petrol, there’s also likely to be a 2.0 TFSI that makes 252hp, and it’ll come with mild-hybrid tech like an accumulator that helps power the engine’s ancillaries. The mild-hybrid is also likely to include a feature that will allow it to coast to save fuel, even switching off the engine completely in some circumstances. A more-powerful full-hybrid is also likely to be launched later. And power is something the A6 will need a fair amount of – the new car bucks the lightweighting trend; this car is between 5-25kg heavier than the earlier car.
Whereas Audi was the company that pioneered air suspension in this class in India, the new car may skip this technology in favour of coil springs that are more suitable for our conditions and more affordable too. Adjustable dampers, however, will make it to the new A6, and the same goes for multiple driver modes. Like its competitors, the 5-series and the E-class, the new A6 in India is unlikely to get rear-wheel steering; the agility-enhancing feature is not considered essential in our predominantly chauffeur-driven market. And nor will Audi do a Mercedes E-class and bring its China-only long-wheelbase car to India.
On the inside, technical sophistication is at an all-new high. The A6’s material quality, and fit and finish are said to be almost as good as on the A8, and Audi’s new ‘glass cockpit’ is sure to impress even the most stoic buyers; it gets not one, not two but three large screens – a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, a 10.1-inch screen on top of the central console, and another 8.6-inch one below it. Audi designers say they aren’t fans of using a single large iPad-like screen; the lower one has been separated to offer instant and easy access to essentials like seat and air-con controls.
Audi also claims there is more headroom, shoulder room and legroom in the back than before. Still chauffeur-driven owners won’t be able to stretch out like they can in the back of the long-wheelbase E-class.
Can Audi get its big sedan mojo back with the more attractive and even more sophisticated new A6? The odds seem to be in its favour.
2018 Audi A6 first look video at Geneva
2018 Audi A6: 5 things you need to know