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New UK-bound Audi A6 range now includes 109g/km ultra model

23rd October 2014 Print
Audi A6

The relentless pursuit of efficiency gains by Audi engineers has led to the inclusion of an even more frugal version of the critically acclaimed A6 ultra executive saloon in the new range that is now available for UK ordering. Priced from £31,955 OTR in Saloon form or £33,955 as an Avant, the latest ultra model extracts even more mileage out of each gallon than its recently introduced predecessor, emits as little as 109g/km of CO2 and doesn’t ask drivers to forego attractions like the S line sports specification in return.

The even more fuel-sparing models join a line-up which has been bolstered by styling revisions, upgraded lighting options, a new infotainment system and new transmissions. Like all other A6 and A6 allroad variants they are open for order now and will reach their first UK owners in December. High performance S6, S6 Avant and RS 6 Avant models will follow shortly afterwards.

Already an efficiency champion with the potential for up to 64.2mpg and low emissions of just 114g/km, the A6 2.0 TDI ultra Saloon with S tronic twin-clutch transmission has now increased its range to 67.3mpg and cut its emissions to 109g/km in SE form with 17-inch alloy wheels. With the S line specification, including 18-inch alloy wheels, its economy capability remains unchanged and its emissions increase only very slightly to 110g/km.

This is good news for business users, particularly those in the market for the TDI ultra in SE form with S tronic transmission, which benefits from a BIK rate change from 18 per cent to 17 per cent, equating to a liability for a 40% tax payer of £2,273 in the first year. Manual transmission models with their reduced 113g/km output and 65.7mpg economy are only just above at 18 per cent.

This step forward from an already impressive starting point also moves both ultra versions of the new A6 Saloon from VED band C to band B, allowing owners to benefit from free road fund licencing in the first year of ownership and a £10 annual saving thereafter over the outgoing model at just £20 per year.

In the Avant versions of the TDI ultra SE, the uplift in efficiency has resulted in an improved CO2 figure of 114g/km for S tronic versions, equating to a combined fuel economy figure of 61.4mpg, or 118g/km and 60.1mpg for versions equipped with manual transmission.

Frugality without performance penalties

The particular appeal of the ultra models lies in the fact that their efficiency isn’t achieved at the expense of the kind of power, performance and refinement expected of an executive class car. Thanks to peak outputs of 190 PS and 400Nm, the latter available between 1,750 and 3,000rpm, the A6 TDI ultras deliver strong and responsive performance, a fact which is borne out by the S tronic saloon’s 8.2-second 0-62mph time (8.4 seconds for manual ultras) and 144mph top speed.

A key contributor to this excellent trade-off between pace and frugality is the fully redeveloped seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission which replaces the familiar eight-speed multitronic continuously variable transmission in front-wheel-drive models. Its rapid fire gear changes help to build momentum, and it also incorporates a new ‘coasting’ function which is activated when efficiency mode is selected in the standard Audi Drive Select system, allowing the engine to ‘freewheel’ in neutral once the accelerator is released. The six-speed manual gearbox that is available as an alternative in ultra models is also of a new design, and is notable for its particularly light weight and low friction characteristics. 

Improvements to the engine start-stop system also contribute to the efficiency gains. The system activates as soon as the car comes to a halt and can now switch on or off several times if required, for example to maintain the ambient cabin temperature managed by the climate control during prolonged periods of stationary traffic. Together, the S tronic and Start-stop revisions save up to 8g/km of CO2.

Further evidence of the intensive Audi focus on weight saving as a means of boosting efficiency in parallel with advances in engine technology can be found in the suspension of the A6 Avant TDI ultra models, which feature new lightweight Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer springs as standard. Making their Audi debut here, the light green GFRP springs reduce both sprung and unsprung masses, saving 40 per cent in weight over the conventional steel springs, at just 1.6 kg each.

Four or six-cylinder TDI range

The ultra models are joined in the new A6 Saloon and Avant ranges by four other versions powered by three V6 TDI engines with varying power outputs and either single or twin turbo charging. All comply with the Euro 6 emission standard.

The 3.0-litre six-cylinder TDI ‘clean diesel’ units kick off with a single-turbo V6 with 218PS which replaces the existing 204PS version, and is available in conjunction with either front-wheel-drive or quattro all-wheel-drive. This is followed by a 272PS variant, also with a single charger, which takes over from the outgoing 245PS unit and is linked exclusively to quattro drive.

At the top of the range, the 3.0 TDI clean diesel biturbo produces 320PS, an increase of 7PS over its existing equivalent, and again is allied exclusively to the quattro drivetrain. The high-performance diesel is paired with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. All other V6 options are linked to a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission.

The chassis with its sophisticated, fully independent five-link front and trapezoidal link rear suspension combines supreme comfort with crisp handling. Sports suspension lowered by 20mm is standard for the A6 S line and optional for the SE model, and the former can be rooted to the tarmac even more firmly by S line sports suspension which lowers the body by a further 10mm. Alternatively, the cushioned comfort of electronically controlled adaptive air suspension is available in conjunction with both specification options. The Audi drive select dynamic handling system is standard, and in versions with 272PS and above, it can be used to adjust the operating characteristics of the sport differential acting on the rear wheels, which is standard for the S6 and optional for all other quattro-equipped models.

Considered exterior updates

The important changes under the skin of the new A6 and A6 Avant are complemented by exterior design enhancements which create an even more streamlined look and retain the purity of line which is an A6 hallmark. Revisions have been made to the Singleframe grille, the air inlets, the bumpers, the side sills, the rear lights and the tailpipes.

One particular exterior highlight is the addition of xenon headlamps as standard for UK A6 SE models, and LED headlights with dynamic ‘sweeping’ rear indicators for S line versions and above. Matrix LED headlights, incorporating clusters of LED bulbs which can be individually dimmed when sensors detect oncoming or following traffic to automatically divert their beams around obstacles, are optional for all A6 and S6 variants and standard for the RS 6 Avant. They also include dynamic front indicators.

Judicious changes have also been made in the interior, which is already renowned for its uncompromising quality and exceptional premium class ambiance. A key cosmetic difference in the new car is the addition of a new Lunar Silver upholstery and headlining colour choice for S line versions, which have until now been available finished exclusively in black. There are also subtle detail enhancements, including an upgrade from dual-zone to deluxe four-zone climate control, new gear lever designs and additional chrome detailing.

Less immediately obvious but no less beneficial upgrades include the introduction of new versions of the top-of-the-line MMI navigation plus and Audi connect elements. Based around an eight-inch retractable colour monitor, MMI navigation plus is available as an alternative to the standard navigation system. It now uses an even more powerful Tegra 30 graphics processor from Nvidia, and includes MMI touch, which enables the driver to scroll and zoom in lists and maps via a touchpad. Audi connect now brings tailored Internet-based services and new media streaming apps to the car via the latest LTE high-speed data transmission standard for ultra-fast 4G click-through and download functionality.

The Audi phone box option is also now available – it enables occupants to connect their mobile phones to the car‘s antenna for improved reception simply by placing them in the phone box compartment.

The range of driver assistance systems, topped by adaptive cruise control with stop & go function, is also extremely attractive. Audi side assist, which uses radar to check behind the car when changing lanes, works closely together with Audi active lane assist, which prevents unintended lane changes. The night vision assistant now includes even more functions, and the portfolio of Audi pre sense safety systems is also available to further enhance protection. Important information can be called up via the optional head-up display.

Redefinition of rugged - the new Audi A6 allroad quattro

The new Audi A6 allroad quattro, which is based on the A6 Avant, features a raised body accentuated by wheel arch extensions and stainless steel protectors that encapsulate the underside of the front and rear ends. It rides on adaptive air suspension with allroad-specific settings and is powered by three 3.0-litre V6 TDI engines with outputs of 218PS, 272PS and 320PS.

High performance to the power of three: the new S6, S6 Avant and RS 6 Avant

TFSI power remains at the heart of the highest performance versions of the latest A6 range – the S6, S6 Avant and RS 6 Avant. All use a twin turbo V8 with Cylinder on Demand technology producing 450PS in the S6 and 560PS in the RS 6 Avant.

In the S6 Saloon the state-of-the-art V8 is good for a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.4 seconds. The S6 Avant needs just 4.6 seconds. Combined fuel economy is an impressive 30.7mpg in the Saloon and 30.1mpg in the Avant, the equivalent of 214 and 219 grams CO2 per kilometre, respectively. This efficiency is due in large part to the cylinder on demand (COD) system, which only activates four of the eight cylinders when under part load.

Standard equipment in the new Audi S6 and S6 Avant includes quattro permanent all-wheel drive incorporating the sports differential and the adaptive air suspension, which lowers the body by 20 millimetres. Matt black brake calipers grip the front discs mounted behind the 19-inch wheels.

In the figurehead of the new A6 family - the RS 6 Avant - acceleration to 62mph takes a mere 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 189mph is possible. Despite offering 560PS its 4.0-litre TFSI engine is also capable of up to 29.4mpg, corresponding to 223 grams CO2 per kilometre. The CoD system is also largely responsible for this efficiency.

An eight-speed tiptronic transmission transfers the power from the twin turbo V8. The standard quattro drivetrain uses a centre differential with a higher locking rate and also features the sports differential acting on the rear axle. The RS adaptive air suspension lowers the body by 20 millimetres, but customers also have the option of conventionally sprung RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC). The large brake discs feature a weight-saving wave design, and the wheels measure 20 inches in diameter. 21-inch wheels are available as an option.

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