Audi recently introduced a special edition of its Audi A6 sedan to celebrate the sale of 6000 Audi A6 cars over a span of six years in India. The special edition Audi A6 executive class sedan is available in two engine options - 2.0 TDI and 3.0 TDI - at an introductory price of Rs 46.33 lakh onwards (ex-showroom Delhi). Audi has dropped the petrol variant from the A6 range but has announced that they will soon be launching the S6 which will sport the petrol engine.
Keeping in line with Audi’s top down strategy, some key features from Audi’s flagship car - the A8 - are now available in the Audi A6. The special edition Audi A6 now comes equipped with Adaptive Air Suspension with Audi Drive Select, 4-Zone Air Conditioning, Rear Side Airbags, Bose Surround Sound System, MMI Touch, Comfort Key, MMI Remote Control, Front Co-Driver seat adjustment from the rear and LED headlights as standard. The normal A6 is priced at Rs 40.86 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi (Rs 5.47 lakh less than the special edition) but gets some of the aforementioned features only as a cost option.
In India, the Audi A6 competes with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. The quest to discover just how good the special edition Audi A6 has fared took us all the way from Calcutta (city of joy) to Jaipur (the pink city) where we got behind the wheel of an Audi A6 2.0 TDI and drove down the Jaipur-Agra Highway. Read on to find out how it performed.
Design & Engineering
With the A6, which is presently in the seventh generation of the model, Audi is trying to maintain its leadership position in the executive sedan class.
The Audi A6 is 4920mm long, 1870mm wide and stands 1460mm tall. The long engine hood, the low and sweeping roofline and prominent lines on the flank create a classy and sophisticated appearance. And the LED headlights which come as standard in the special edition (otherwise optional on the A6) are the most striking feature of the car when viewed from the front. With an approximate lifespan of 10,000 hours, these lights are the closest re-creation of daylight, yet bright and stylish, lending a sporty look to the Audi A6.
The body of the Audi A6 is now lighter, owing to the use of a significant proportion of aluminum components which has helped to reduce its weight by some 80 kilograms compared to its last generation model. The Audi A6 2.0 TDI that we tested weighs 1,585 kilograms.
Depending on the choice of engine, power is funneled to the road via the front wheels or all four wheels. The Audi A6 2.0 TDI is a front wheel drive car while the 3.0 TDI is a quattro. The suspension set up on the Audi A6 comprise of double wishbone with anti-roll bar doing duty at the front and trapezoidal-link axle with wishbone at the rear.
The metallic paintwork on the Audi A6 is par excellence. The A6 also features a 17-inch 10-spoke design cast aluminum alloy wheels which blend well with the overall look of the car.
Interiors & Comfort
Every detail of the interior of the special edition Audi A6 exudes class. The interior is roomy and boasts of good head, shoulder and leg room. Audi has also equipped the special edition A6 with the front co-driver’s seat adjustment from the rear where the rear passenger can adjust his or her legroom as per requirement without being dependent either on the driver or the front passenger. This is a feature that Audi has taken from their A6L in China and adopted it specifically for the Indian market. The rear seat is also adequately spacious and can comfortably seat three passengers. The Audi A6 also has 550 litres of luggage space.
The layered wood veneer inlay encircling the driver and the front seat passenger is tastefully done. The seat upholstery in Leather Valcona not only feels premium but smells good as well. The instrument panel and the cockpit area look very sleek.
The four-zone air conditioning systems in the Audi A6 proved very effective indeed. Even in the blistering heat of Jaipur with temperatures hovering above 40 degree centigrade, the air conditioning system ensured fast and effective cooling both in the front and rear.
The Multi-Media Interface (MMI) touch function with an 8-inch display enables the driver to operate the system without diverting his eyes from the road. Audi has also provided an MMI remote control for the rear passenger. Gone are the days when someone seated at the rear would be at the mercy of the front passenger or driver to play their favourite number.
The special edition Audi A6 also comes equipped with a 14-speaker Bose Surround Sound System which delivers superior listening experience; something that music lovers will surely cherish.
The Audi A6 is also gets cruise control system, electric sun roof, electrically adjustable seats, comfort key and plenty of storage spaces.
Performance & Handling
The Audi A6 comes with a choice of two engines – four and six cylinder powerplants. Under the hood of the Audi A6 2.0 TDI that we tested is a 4-cylinder inline diesel engine with common rail injection system and exhaust turbocharger. The engine is mated to a 8-speed continuously variable multitronic automatic transmission and produces 177PS of maximum power at 4200 rpm and 380 Nm of peak torque between 1750 and 2500 rpm.
The special edition Audi A6 features adaptive air suspension with Audi drive select. With this, the driver has the option of choosing from four different driving modes namely – Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Individual to suit his style of driving.
Say for example, when we were driving within Jaipur city, we put the car on comfort mode in which the Audi A6 adjusts its suspension set up to slightly softer tuning making the ride quality within the city more comfortable. And once we escaped out of the city limits and started cruising on the Jaipur-Agra Highway, we quickly changed the setting to the dynamic mode and you could feel the suspension getting slightly stiffer, the steering weighing up and the acceleration getting better.
We also drove the special edition Audi A6 in the auto mode where the car adjusts its suspension set up and throttle responses as per driving condition. And finally, if you opt for the individual mode, then you would get to choose the kind of suspension set up, engine response and steering feedback that you desire to suit your style of driving. It is actually quite awesome.
Braking was mostly prompt, but at significantly highspeeds, there were certain occasion in the due course of our drive when we wished that it was a little bit more confidence inspiring.
Overall the special edition Audi A6 really handles well and boasts of very good traction and stability. Even when we took her up to 200kmph on closed road in the dynamic mode, she remained poised and firmly grounded. Steering feedback is impressive too. The ESP with electronic limited slip differential on the front wheel driven Audi A6 2.0 TDI makes handling even better.
The Audi A6 boasts of an ARAI ratified fuel efficiency of 17.68kmpl. And although these figures look very impressive on paper, however, it will be next to impossible to achieve these figures in real world conditions. Although we didn’t get an opportunity to perform a proper fuel test, however, it would be safe to expect the A6 to deliver around 10kmpl within the city with AC and about 15kmpl while cruising on the highway. The impressive fuel economy on the highway is largely a result of the 8-speed continuously variable multitronic automatic transmission which helps get the best economy out of the car.
Audi is a car manufacturer of global repute. They have always maintained very high standards of safety and the Audi A6 is no exception. Audi has equipped the special edition A6 with an anti-theft alarm, immobilizer, ABS with EBD and brake assist, airbags including rear side airbags and central locking as standard across model range.
The Audi A6 is a segment leader not just in India but also globally. It has sold more than 6,000 units in India over a span of six years and contributed in getting Audi to the leadership position among the German Big Three here in India. Over the years it has also won several awards including the Asian Car of the Year and World Car of the Year.
The Audi A6 looks classy from nose to tail. Every detail of the interior bear a testament of the care that been invested in making this car. The Audi boasts of excellent riding and handling quality and comes with adequate safety features too.
Audi India also plans to expand its network to 34 dealerships by the end of 2013 from its existing 25 centres so that an Audi owner would no longer require travelling a distance of 100 kilometres just to get his car serviced.
Everything put together, there is no reason why the Audi A6 shouldn't continue to lead its segment and maintain its dominance over the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. However, the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class which is set to arrive later this calendar year and will be equipped with a lot of key features from their flagship model - the S-Class - could prove to be a game changer.