2010 Audi A6 3.2: Luxury and Power in a Mid-Size
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
With its third generation nearing an end and a new version in the works, the 2010 Audi A6 liquidly moves down the highway with an assertive stance, sweeping lines and a fluid combination of elegance, sportiness and performance to position itself well in the mid-size executive car segment.
Some eight inches longer and an inch taller than its sibling, the A4, the A6 is one of the longest cars in its class, and while more conservative in aura than many of its classmates, it more than holds its own on all levels and with aggressive pricing, it could be the best buy in the segment.
Manufactured in Neckarsulm, Baden Wuertemberg, Germany, the mid-size A6 began life in 1994 as the rebadged Audi 5000 (Audi 100 overseas), as a compliment to the full-sized A8.
Built with a galvanized steel body and aluminum hood and front fenders, the sweetly rounded and gracefully sophisticated A6 measures 194 inches long, 79.9 inches wide and 57.4 inches high on a 111.9-inch wheelbase.
Weighing in at a robust 3858 lbs., A6 comes at you with its striking signature Singleframe® grille, 17-inch alloy wheels, taillights that are in the same family as those on its sisters, the A4 sedan and A5 coupe and LED daytime running lamps that resemble those on Audi’s A8 supercar.
Audi A6’s exterior calls luxury-class attention to itself with two large air inlets toward the bottom of the front fascia to offer the impression of speed and athleticism. Along its sides, the A6 is classic with brawny fender arches and refined accents around the cabin. The long, aerodynamic styling and a sporty rear design and short trunk deck gives the sedan an almost coupe-like appearance, and two muscular exhaust ports once again create an aura of speed.
Available with several engine configurations, the most popular power plants are the 3.2 FSI V-6 Engine producing 265 horsepower and 243 lbs-ft of torque and the 3.0 TFSI (supercharged) V-6 Engine that creates 300 horsepower and 310 lbs-ft of torque. A 4.2 FSI quattronic V-8 engine is also an option, delivering 350 horsepower and 328 lbs-ft of torque. My test ride was outfitted with the number-one choice of buyers, the 3.2.
This lightweight new 3.2 V-6 provides a blend of power and efficiency to provide good pop in all ranges and fuel economy. EPA rated at 18mpg in the city and 28 on the highway (the 3.0 supercharged gets 18 and 26) and a week of mixed-use testing achieved an average of 22.2mpg on 91 octane fuel.
The A6 3.2 FSI makes use of the Audi Multitronic continuously variable transmission for a constant stream of power, making optimal use of the engine’s wide torque band. The manufacturer claims a zero-to-60 burst in 6.9 seconds and a 15.2-second quarter-mile, but my tests, with the car tuned as one would normally been driven off the car lot, and at less than pristine track conditions, produced a solid 7.6 sprint and a 16.1 quarter-mile.
On the road, the sport-tuned four link front suspension with anti roll bar, twin-tube-gas-filled shock absorbers and trapezoidal-link, and twin-tube gas-filled shocks in the rear allow the driver to feel every nuance of the highway, which is good for track use, but not pampering for passengers in a luxury automobile. However, yaw, body roll and understeer/oversteer are virtually undetectable as precise speed-sensitive power rack and pinion steering helps the A6 corner with confidence and the cabin experience is quiet.
The 2010 A6 is as fluid and progressive on the inside as it is on the outside. The driver-oriented cockpit with an available three-spoke multifunction steering wheel is the center of the well-designed, handcrafted interior with graceful lines, wood inlays and Valcona leather, to create an elegant atmosphere.
Interior dimensions come in at 38.7 inches in front headroom with 37.8 for rear passengers, 41.3 inches of legroom in the first row and 36.9 in row two, while shoulder room measures 57.1 and 55.9.
The cabin is filled with such amenities as new aluminum accents on steering wheel and other interior controls, third-generation MMI® with a 7-inch color LCD display and controls for the climate, central locking, audio and phone and navigation systems. A DSP extended sound system includes 10 speakers and a six-disc CD changer, iPod interface, five-function trip computer as well as information on external temperature, vehicle speed, navigation and radio information.
A top safety pick on many lists, A6 utilizes a number of active and passive safety systems and includes, dual-stage front air bags, side air bags, side curtain air bags, intelligent safety belts, adaptive lights with cornering lights, rearview parking camera and blind spot detection assistant.
Base priced at $45,200 plus $850 in destination charges, my test A-6 Premium came in with a lower sticker about $6000 under MSRP, and was upgraded with several packages including the Cold Weather Package with heated steering wheel and seats ($650), 18-inch alloy wheels, Navigational system ($1700) and rear side airbags for $350 for a bottom line of $43,050, but discounts and incentives are available.
The 2010 Audi A6 is a luxury vehicle at a mid-size price.
> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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