Audi has vowed to bring the funk back to its A6 line-up, introducing new tech to its mid-size sedan staple.
The three-model line will include the A6 45 TFSI and A6 45 TFSI S-Line, which will use a 185kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The 55 TFSI S-Line will use Audi’s three-litre 250kW/500Nm V6 petrol engine, and will lead the charge when it arrives in showrooms later this month. Both engines feature mild-hybrid electric help via a 12-volt system for the 45 TFSI and a 48-volt system for the 55 TFSI.
Pricing kicks off at $95,500 for the 45 TFSI, rising to $105,200 for the 45 S-Line and $116,000 for the 3.0-litre car.
All models will be equipped with Audi’s all-wheel-drive quattro system, while heated front seats, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless charging, loose wheel detection, Active Display digital dash, illuminated seat belt buckles and LED headlights will be standard across the range.
All three variants come with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, front and rear parking sensors, lane assist, rear cross-traffic alert and a 360-degree camera.
A Premium Plus package is available on S-Line variants for an additional $9800, which brings higher-spec HD Matrix LED headlights, tinted windows, panoramic sunroof, a Bang and Olufsen audio system, electrically adjustable steering column, electrically operated boot and an interior lighting package.
The A6 comes standard with 21-inch rims – the largest in the segment, according to Audi – as well as complex LED lighting structures front and rear.
On the inside, the A6 uses a new three-screen layout that eschews the old-school methods of jog wheels and hand-writing pads, instead relying on capacitive touchscreens as part of its new Connect Plus system, which also includes an emergency call button built into the car’s roof lining.
The A6’s MLB Evo platform has been tweaked to improve and stiffen suspension mounting points to improve its handling, and the A6 uses multilink suspension front and rear in conjunction with adaptive shocks as standard issue.
Size-wise, the A6 is 6mm longer than the old car but has an extra 17mm rear legroom in the rear seat.
Quick review – Audi A6 2019
Updated, upstyled and teched-up… the new-generation A6 shows Audi’s brave new face
What is it?
It’s no secret that Australia has fallen out of love with the sedan over the last decade. Fortunately, the move to SUVs and dual-cabs has not yet meant the death of the bodystyle known as the notchback, and the A6 is Audi’s second-largest after the A8.
The A6 comes with all-wheel-drive, proper eight-speed automatic transmissions, decently powerful petrol engines and a host of high-spec safety tech, all encapsulated in a handsome, artfully styled car with attitude to spare.
What's it like to drive?
We only spent two days with the top spec A6 55 TFSI with its 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, and it’s a great reminder that bigger displacement engines are still a very good thing.
It delivers its 250kW and – more importantly – 500Nm like blended double cream, effortlessly piling on tractive effort with barely any inputs needed underfoot.
Its low centre of gravity and broad footprint give the A6 great purchase, and the quattro’s power delivery between its two axles is undetectable. The only downer is an overly conservative gearbox tune that feels out of step with the engine’s innate abilities.
Noise suppression, steering and braking are excellent, too, confirming the A6’s luxury schtick with well-weighted and thoughtfully considered calibrations. In short, it drives every bit as good as it looks.
What's it like to live with?
The sedan was the car of choice for many for a long time, but the gradual shift away to space-compromised SUV bodystyles means that people overlook the mission statement of a good four-door – it’s a singularly terrific way to carry four people in absolute comfort, and the A6 proves the rule.
It’s not just the well-profiled seating throughout, or all of the niceties like rear climate control and USB points, LED lighting and loads of toe and knee room. It’s the big door apertures, too, and the headroom afforded by the low-slung seat bases.
And what a lovely place to be in, as well. Simple, strong design language is augmented by genuinely high quality materials, and the overall effect is like living in a luxurious home that you can’t quite believe you live in.
The A6’s big selling point, though, is the switch to a touchscreen multimedia interface… and it’s a great example of how sticking with something for a long time – to wit, the centre console shuttle wheel – can be a bad idea.
With its truly massive screen real estate, the system is pretty confronting at first blush, and there are a LOT of menus under menus to scroll through to do even basic things like screen dimming at night. What used to take a nudge of a wheel and a click of a button can now take far longer.
With time and education, though, it will become more natural, and kudos to whoever developed the screen coating that resists fingerprints so well!
Is it worth the money?
This is the top spec A6, and it sells for $116,000 before on-roads. Sounds like a lot on paper, but doesn’t feel like that behind the wheel.
Of course, the decrease in luggage space over an SUV is notable (the A6 has 530 litres of decently usable space, though, which isn’t bad), but I’d argue the A6 cuts a far more impressive figure in the driveway or office carpark than just another box on wheels.
Pros: What a stunning looking car; great interior; wonderful to drive
Cons: auto gearbox can be tardy; mass of multimedia screen can be daunting