Mercedes-Benz E 350d First Drive: On A Cushion...
- Feb 14, 2017
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Audi has revealed the eighth-gen A6 through a set of pictures ahead of its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week. While Audi and a large section of the media say the full-size sedan looks a lot different than the one it replaces, we’d argue that it looks almost exactly like its predecessor. Yes, the sedan does conform to Audi’s current design language, with its large hexagonal grille flanked by a set of sharp-looking LED headlamps dominating the front of the car. However, they remind us of the A6 which is currently on sale in the country.
Before we embark on a long rant about the design though, let’s take a look at the tech the new A6 packs. As from the release it sent us, it seems like Audi has focussed more on gadgets that’d make James Bond and his pal Q go green with envy.
Most of the tech features that Audi seems to go on and on about in the release is found inside the all-new cabin of the A6. The MMI, or Multi Media Interface, takes pride of place as usual. This time around, there are two 8.6-inch screens that house all vehicle functions and shortcuts. The screen on top, which can be upgraded to a 10.1-inch unit, controls navigation and infotainment while the one on the bottom is used for climate control, convenience functions and text input. Audi has designed it in such a way that the driver can rest his wrist on the gearlever and access the screens with ease. Buyers who opt for MMI navigation plus get a self-learning app that can generate intelligent search suggestions based on the driven routes. The app is capable of rerouting to a faster road based on local traffic situations. It can even use vehicle-to-vehicle technology with other Audis to learn traffic and hazard information around the area.
As expected, the new A6 features advanced driving assistance systems as well. 37 of them to be precise. These are bundled into three packages to make speccing your A6 easier. Like the new A8, which was introduced last year, the A6 features Level-3 autonomous driving system. However, Audi says the legislation is still not in place in most countries to take full advantage of this system.
With all that tech out of the way, let’s go back to how the car looks, shall we? Apart from the grille and the headlamps we mentioned before, the new Audi A6 gets LED DRLs as well. Let’s admit it, Audi makes the best daytime running lights in the business, and the same holds true for the eighth-ten A6. Although the air dams in the lower half of the bumper look bigger than ever before, we believe these might be reserved for a sportier version, possibly the S6. Moving to the side, it’s hard to distinguish the new car from the old.
Those with keen eyes will, however, notice the prominent waistline that originates at the front doors and extends all the way to the tail lamps. The roofline looks the same as before as does the profile of the glasshouse with the trademark C-pillar quarter glass. Wheel sizes now range from 17-inch to massive 21-inch units. The current-gen A6’s wheel size, on the other hand, was limited to 20-inches. The rear is typical of Audis that came before it with tail lamps packed with LED lights and dynamic turn indicators that blow our pants away every time we see them function.
In terms of dimensions, the new A6 is 4939mm long, 1886mm wide and 1457mm tall. In comparison, the older sedan is 7mm shorter, 12mm narrower and 2mm higher, respectively. This should help it free up a bit more space for rear occupants when compared to the older car. Yes, it won’t beat the Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB when it comes to rear seat comfort, but it should do better than the new BMW 5-Series at the very least. Boot space might not be something that business honchos might worry about when purchasing a car. It remains the same at 530-litres though and Audi says the wider aperture should help accommodate two golf bags horizontally. Wow!
When it comes to powering the car forward, Audi will offer the eighth-gen A6 with mild-hybrid engines only. There will be four engine options when it goes on sale in Europe - a 3.0-litre V6 TFSI petrol, a 2.0-litre TDI diesel and a 3.0-litre TDI in two states of tune. The first two use a 48V electrical system with a lithium-ion battery positioned in the rear axle apart from a starter/generator placed at the front of the car. Audi says this mild-hybrid system is capable of switching the engine off and cruise on its own between speeds of 55kmph and 160kmph. It can also turn the engine off while decelerating between 6kmph and 22kmph helping the A6 sip less fuel in the process and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 10gm per km. The 3.0-litre TDI motor uses a 12V electrical system instead. This unit does not come with the same features as the other two engines. However, Audi claims it can reduce CO2 emissions by 4g per km. Expect a 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine to join the lineup as the demand for petrol cars increase in the near future, especially with many cities across Germany and the rest of Europe deciding to ban diesel cars.
Apart from the powertrains, the new A6 also gets a reworked suspension that promises to make it “as agile as a sports car, as manoeuvrable as a compact model”. Featuring Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive as standard, Audi says the rear wheels can turn by as much as 5 degrees to improve dynamics and stability. There will be four suspension setups on offer at the time of launch - standard, sport, optional adaptive dampers and optional fully adaptive air suspension.
The eighth-gen A6 is scheduled to arrive in India by early 2019. However, what powertrains might find a place under the India-spec sedan’s bonnet is anyone’s guess. With stricter emission norms being enforced around the world, our bet is on Audi bringing the A6 with the petrol engine equipped with the mild-hybrid system.
Will all the technology it packs be enough to overthrow the E-Class LWB? Will the quattro all-wheel drive system make it more fun to drive than the brilliant 5-Series? Well, we won’t know for sure until we get to take it out for a spin. But, rest assured, the folks at Audi India are eagerly waiting for the new sedan to take the fight to its other German rivals who have been stealing the show in terms of sales figures lately.
For reference, the current-gen Audi A6 sports a price tag of Rs 53.84 lakh (ex-showroom). The new version is likely to be priced in the same range as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which is priced between Rs 56.15 lakh and Rs Rs 80.25 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom New Delhi), and the BMW 5-Series which sports a price tag of Rs 52 lakh for the 2.0-litre 520d petrol and 520d diesel option and goes up to Rs 63.80 lakh for the 530d, which packs an in-line, 6-cylinder diesel engine.Recommended Variant : A6 35 TFSI Matrix Edition
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