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Audi A6 – Audi hits another 6

Snapshot: Audi's A6 gets a refresh with slight design tweaks both inside and outside, and a 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox. Audi has also equipped it with Matrix headlight technology from its big brother A8L. Available as a single variant, it comes with a strong 2.0 litre diesel engine and a fully loaded cabin.

There is a reason why Audi saloons use the alphabet ‘A’. These cars look futuristic, are efficient and come with a host of fancy equipment. The A6 is no different and in a bid to keep sales registers rolling the carmaker has given a subtle updates to its Mercedes E-class and BMW 5 Series rival. Though these changes are subtle, they go a long way in ensuring that the A6 stays ahead of its rivals in more ways than one.

Exterior

The A6 is already a good looking saloon and adding fancy updates only makes it better. This being a facelift does alter a few lines, the front and rear bumper, a sharper front grille, new headlights and taillights and some chrome detailing. The grille is a bolder announcement that this is a big Audi. Fine work with the chrome all around we must say and it looks classy indeed. New Daytime Running Lights which are split from the middle completely change the front appeal adding more aggression.

The word ‘Matrix’ with this Audi’s name is for the LED lightning technology the A6 has now. Essentially this system not only provides excellent illumination but it also uses a camera system up front to blank out light on oncoming vehicles. You can drive with the full beam all the time and the individual LED light sources in the headlamp blanks out light to avoid dazzling other road users. Even the indicators are a strip of individual LEDs both at the front and rear, and they light up in the direction of the turn you are about to take. Another striking feature is the new exhaust tips which instead of being circular have been sculpted slightly. Tail lamps too get similar updates and get smoked design which looks very nice.

Interior

On the inside too there are significant changes adding convenience and a sense of excitement to the A6’s cabin. The cabin has lashings of smooth metal and high quality plastics woven together robustly. Unpolished wood trim is a wonderful addition that added a feeling of specialness to the interior. All four seats get their own climate zones for individual luxury.

Seats are even more comfortable and all four passengers can feel comfortable with ample room. The front passenger seat can be moved further ahead by the touch of a button on the rear door easing of more room for chauffeur driven owners. The new A6 definitely has an edge when it comes to cosseting its occupants in comfort and luxury over its predecessor.

Engine and performance

Audi offers the A6 in a single 2.0 litre TDI variant as of now. This engine has been fine tuned to push out 187bhp of maximum power (up 13bhp) and peak torque of 400Nm (up 20Nm). The added power and torque makes it immensely better to drive than earlier which felt slightly underpowered. But the biggest change is the new S-Tronic dual-clutch transmission replacing the older Multitronic CVT. This S-Tronic gearbox greatly enhances the quickness and usability of that 2.0 litre engine. And the paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel are more a convenience than just for enthusiastic driving. Drop a cog or two when you need to overtake and the engine responds quickly to your demands. In automatic though it is a bit stubborn and does not down shift when you want it too, hence the left paddle.

The nature of the engine is at its best for comfort driving. You can change a few characteristics like engine response, transmission, steering nature and suspension stiffness through the Audi Drive Select between Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Individual modes. Or just leave it to Auto and let the smart electronics sort everything out for you.

Ride and handling

The A6 is primarily built for comfort and rides on a cushion of air, literally. The adaptive air suspension gobbles any sort of roads you throw at it. The other advantage of air suspension is that you can raise the ride height at demand to negotiate larger obstacles without scraping the underbelly. Dynamic makes the ride stiffer and is best suited for smooth highways. Stick to Comfort setting and it irons out bumps and undulations with ease.

The new 18-inch alloys look pretty and happily do not ruin the ride with their lower profile. The steering is fairly light for pottering around the city and it does gain some weight when on the highway. But it remains less communicative when pushed hard and the body roll too can be felt at higher speeds through corners. We still feel the A6 is a bit heavy due to all those electronics, and the front wheel drive setup takes its toll on the driving dynamics. You can push the A6 hard, however you’ll notice that it does not like that. However, in overall terms the best driver’s car in this segment remains the BMW 5 Series. Best is to sink in the big cosy seats, listen to that fantastic Bose surround sound system and relax.

Safety

Audi’s are known for cramming a lot of safety in their vehicles, and the new A6 is no exception. It comes with 8-airbags, 2 for the rear passengers exclusively, and Audi Pre Sense Basic, with belt tensioning, hazard light activation, closing sunroof and windows as preventive measures. Hill-descent control allows you to roll the car down a steep slope without accelerating and the car managing speeds through brakes and engine drag. Advanced Electronic Stabilisation Control keeps check on all four wheels individually for maximum grip thus increasing safety. It will also massage the brake discs to wipe water off them. The only thing sorely missed is the safekeeping of Audi Quattro system.

Verdict

At Rs 49.5lakh (ex showroom Delhi), the new Audi A6 Matrix is good value for money. It comes with a lot of kit as standard along with beautifully crafted interiors and a cosseting ride. All that along with plenty of technology and a supremely refined diesel engine makes the A6 a very strong package in the competitive luxury segment. 

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