What is it?
This is the facelifted Audi A6, which has received some minor updates aimed to keep Audi fighting at the top of a very competitive sector filled with the likes of the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class.
What’s new? It looks the same as the old one…
Indeed it does, that’s because most of the changes are under the skin.
Apparently Audi has made several tweaks to the styling of the A6 too. We’ll take their word for it when they claim that the front grille, bumpers and rear lights have all received a touch-up. In fact, as odd as it sounds, the differences might be more noticeable at night. With Audi always at the forefront of lighting tech, the A6 now features matrix LED headlights – which adapt to road conditions to avoid dazzling other road users – as an option.
Interior changes are even more subtle, featuring a different gear knob design and a new colour option for S line models. Not that anyone will complain – the A6 interior is beautifully designed and screwed together, and is generally a very nice place to while away the miles.
What powers it?
The latest entry-level A6 is dubbed ‘Ultra’, which aims to offer class-leading fuel efficiency. Powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel unit, the saloon variant paired with the optional dual-clutch automatic transmission delivers a claimed 67.3mpg and 109g/km of CO2 emissions. For company car users, the Ultra returns Benefit In Kind ratings of just 17 percent, and private buyers will only pay an annual tax of £20.
Despite this economy, performance is still strong. The Ultra will dash to 60mph from a standstill is reached in 8.2 seconds and it will continue to a 144mph top speed. The strong torque figures of 295lb/ft between 1,750 and 3,000rpm ensure that it will be flexible, too, able to overtake without excessive downshifting.
The ultra models feature suspension technology that will likely become common among many manufacturers’ offerings in the future. Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) suspension springs replace the normal steel items. GFRP springs weigh 40 percent less than the regular items, which allows for greater control of ride and handling characteristics.
Above the Ultra models sit the same trio of 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines fitted to the pre-facelift A6, albeit with minor upgrades. The first receives a bump in power from 201 to 215hp, the next model a 27hp boost to 268hp, while the top twin-turbo model gains 7hp to now produce 316hp.
What if I’m really in a hurry?
Audi can help here too, with the options of seriously fast (S6) and comically fast (RS6) available to buyers.
The S6 uses the same V8 engine as before, save for an increase in power to 450hp. It’ll hit 60 in 4.4 seconds and onto a top speed of a limited 155mph. Although it isn’t necessarily a priority for the buyers of the S6, CO2 emissions have dropped too, through the use of cylinder on demand (CoD) technology (where half of the engine shuts down to save fuel when cruising).
At the top of the range sits the storming RS6, which thanks to a 544hp output will hit 60 in under four seconds. Despite this incredible straight-line speed, the same CoD tech used in the S6 contributes towards a claimed 29.4mpg.
How much will they cost?
Prices start at £31.955 for the entry-level Ulta saloon, climbing to £56,000 for the S6. Avant estate models will cost an extra £2,000. Most of the range is available to order now, and first deliveries will take place in December 2014.
The S6 will be available from next month for March 2015 deliveries, while the wait will be a little longer for the RS6.