2011 Audi A6 Premium: Still Forceful, Elegant and Smooth
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Last of its generation, the 2011 Audi A6 still exhibits style and performance. While an all-new incarnation of the luxury sedan begins with the 2012 model, there is lots of life left in this luxury mid-size’s 2011 version. The 2012s are already out and selling well, but taking a last look at the 2011 model shows that this generation deserves consideration and respect.
While few changes occurred for 2011, the tail end was restyled, the front was tweaked and the front bumper was revamped with larger air intakes on both sides of the grille. The taillights were replaced with new R8 lenses that increase visibility in fog, rain and snow and the 2011 model was upgraded to all-wheel drive from the previous front wheel drive.
In Brilliant Black with black leather seating surfaces, my test ride announced luxury from every angle. The 2011 Audi A6 is forceful, angular and sweeping, combining sportiness and grace from its distinctive grille and aggressive front end to its characteristic taillights that start at the rear quarter panel and stop in the trunk section.
One of the longest cars in its class, the 2011 A6 comes in at 194 inches long, 79.9 inches wide and 57.4 inches high on a 111.9-inch wheelbase. Built in Neckarsulm, Baden Wuertemberg, Germany, the mid-size A6 is constructed with a galvanized steel body and aluminum hood and front fenders and weighs a sturdy 3858 lbs.
The exterior is enhanced by two large air inlets toward the bottom of the front fascia on either side of the grille, muscular fender arches and stylish curves and indents along the sides, 17-inch alloy wheels, a long, lean demeanor and short trunk deck that connote brawn and refinement.
The 2011 A-6 can be powered up by several powerplants including 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 – this is the one installed in my test ride. Also available is a 4.2 FSI quattronic V-8 that provides 350 horsepower and 328 lbs-ft of torque.
EPA rated at 18mpg in city driving and 26 on the highway my supercharged 3.0 earned an average of 20.9mpg during a week of mixed-use testing.
On the highway and at the track, the 3.0 delivered when called upon. Sprinting a zero to 60mpg run in 5.9 seconds and completing a quarter-mile in 14.5, a balance of might, athleticism and poise, combined with smooth handling made for an enjoyable and driver-friendly experience. A6’s speed proportional power steering was at home on tight autocross tracks, country roads and highway maneuvers and the four-link front suspension with anti roll bar and twin-tube-gas-filled shock absorbers and trapezoidal-link rear with twin-tube gas-filled shocks softened most road irregularities while affording the driver mastery over the driving surface. Body roll, wobble and understeer/oversteer were barely perceptible and the A6 cornered and moved fluidly and quietly when asked.
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 has all the niceties one would expect in a luxury sedan including 8-way power driver and front passenger seats, power adjustable lumbar for both driver and front passenger, height adjustable driver and front passenger seats, driver seat memory, alloy, leather and wood trim on the dash and doors, leather steering wheel, interior air filtration, dual zone climate controls for driver and passenger, sunroof with power tilt and open/close, cruise control, multiple cupholders and storage areas, remote trunk release, retained accessory power, universal remote, 12-volt front and rear power outlets, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, trip computer, compass and power heated mirrors.
Some of the tech and entertainment items inside include a 10-speaker sound system, AM/FM in-dash single CD/DVD, in glove compartment-CD, CD-controller with CD MP3 Playback stereo, speed-sensitive volume control, Sirius Satellite Radio, iPod integration, radio data system, diversity antenna, hard-drive based 7-inch color LCD display with voice activation and direction for navigation system and controls for the climate, central locking, audio and phone systems, Bluetooth wireless and real time traffic.
Safety-conscious, Audi has stocked the A6 with such active and passive safety systems as 4-wheel ABS, ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, stability control, traction control, dual-stage front and rear air bags, dual side-mounted air bags, passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation, high pressure washer headlamps, dusk sensing headlights and tire pressure monitoring system.
Base priced at $49,900 plus $875 in destination charges, my test A-6 Premium was upgraded with several packages including the Cold Weather Package with heated steering wheel and seats ($450), Audi side assist to help monitor blind spots (a great safety addition) for $500, rear side airbags for $350 and navigational system ($1700) for a sticker price of $53,775, but with the new-generation 2012s looming, deals can be negotiated.
The 2011 Audi A6 is the last of its generation, but still has lots of life left.
> 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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