The Audi A6 is an executive luxury car produced by the German automaker Audi. It is available in saloon and estate (Avant) body styles. The second and third generation A6 were also used as the basis for the Audi allroad quattro and A6 allroad quattro models respectively.
Competitors to the A6 include the Lexus GS, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Cadillac STS.
Audi's mid-size car was named the Audi 100 (or Audi 5000 in the United States) and was released in three successive generations (C1, C2 and C3). In 1994, the latest generation (C4) of the Audi 100 was facelifted and re-badged as the A6, to fit in with Audi's new alphanumeric nomenclature (as the full-size A8 had just been introduced). The exterior was changed only slightly from the "C4" Audi 100 - new front and back lights, new radiator grid, similarly with chassis and engine and transmission choices. The UK was the first market to receive the A6, as stock of right-hand-drive Audi 100s had run out before expected, and before the rest of Europe.
The new engines for the A6 were 1.8 20V I4, 2.8 30V, 1.9 TDI I4, and the 2.5 TDI I5 (140 PS), with the 2.3L I5 engine being dropped on most markets. The S6's 4.2 V8 engine was uprated to 290PS (286hp/213kW) and a new 326PS (322hp/240kW) version was added (S6+ made by quattro GmbH).
Until 1997, the A6 came with several different engines, two of them turbodiesel, and most of them available with Audi's Torsen-based quattro permanent four-wheel drive system. The A6 was also available with saloon and Avant bodies.
The C4 design was available with the following engines:
In 1997 the scene changed strikingly for the A6. With the introduction of an ambitious new design (C5) and a new pack of engines, the A6 moved up a notch and was positioned alongside the hegemonic BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The Italian redesigned body presented a modern design with a dramatic fastback styling that set the trend for the Audi lineup and gave the relatively large saloon an aerodynamic shell with a low coefficient of drag of 0.28. In 2000 and 2001, the "C5" A6 was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list. This new A6 presented itself with a wide range of engines and configurations. The 30-valve 2.4 and 2.8 V6 engines represented the bulk of the A6's development programme, with a multitude of other engine configurations available throughout the globe. As an alternative to the manual transmission, a 5-speed tiptronic automatic transmission was also available.
The C5 saloon body arrived in 1997, and the Avant body in 1998 in Europe. In the US, the C4 continued for 1997, with the C5 saloon appearing in 1998, and the C5 Avant appearing in 1999. In Canada, there was no Avant (wagon) available at all in 1998 - Audi dropped the C4 Avant at the end of the 1997 model year, and jumped straight to the C5 Avant in 1999 in conjunction with its release in the US. As a result of complying with FMVSS the North American models were equipped with front and rear bumpers that protruded several inches further than their European counterparts, with modified brackets and bumper suspension assemblies as result and child-seat tethers for occupant safety. In compliance with Canadian law, Canadian models received daytime running lights as standard equipment. North American C5 A6 models received the 2.8 litre, 30-valve V6 engine (often referred to derisively as the "2-point-late" given its relative lethargy compared to other A6 engines of the day), the 2.7 litre, bi-turbo V6 (also found in the B5 platform S4), and the 4.2 litre 40-valve V8. The V8 models arrived with significantly altered exterior body panels, with more aggressively flared wheel arches, revised headlamps and grille design (before being introduced in 2002 to all other A6 models), taller and wider wheels (17x8"), larger brakes and quattro as standard.
The Audi S6 was a high-powered variant of the A6 line, featuring a modified version of the 4.2 engine producing 340PS (335hp/250kW). It was available as a saloon and Avant.
In 2002 the A6 received a facelift with revised headlight and grille design, exposed exhaust tips, and slight changes to accessory body moldings and tailight color from red to amber in North American models. A new host of engines were introduced as well. The 1.8L engine was removed and replaced by a 2.0L powerplant with 130PS (128hp/96kW). The 1.9L TDI was tweaked into producing a maximum of 130PS (128hp/96kW) and 310N·m (229lb·ft), receiving a 6-speed gearbox in the process. The 2.4 V6 gained 5 extra hp and better balancing and the 2.8 V6 was replaced by a 3.0L engine boasting 220PS (217hp/162kW). The turbocharged 2.7L was given a tweak on the turbo resulting in 250PS (247hp/184kW) and 330N·m (243lb·ft), controlled by standard quattro. The V6 Diesel was also slightly modified resulting in 163PS (161hp/120kW) (after the second modification) and 350N·m (258lb·ft). A new more powerful V6 diesel was also introduced presenting 180PS (178hp/132kW) and 370N·m (273lb·ft). The 4.2 V8 engine which arrived in 2001 remained unchanged.
Also new was the revolutionary multitronic continuously variable transmission, available in most front wheel drive models in the lineup. All models, except the 2.0 petrol and 1.9 TDI, were available with Audi's four wheel drive system, quattro. A four wheel drive version of the estate with raised ground clearance and slightly altered styling was sold as the Audi allroad quattro, Audi's first crossover SUV.
Regarding this C5 generation, Car and Driver magazine stated, "It is one of the most winsome mid-sizers to meet pavement, with some of the nicest handling this side of a BMW. In 2000, the moderate performance of this otherwise excellent, 3.0 litre V6-powered, sedan was improved by the addition of two higher-performance versions: the 250PS (247hp/184kW), 2.7T bi-turbo V6 and the 300PS (296hp/221kW), 4.2 V8, both with Audi's quattro permanent four-wheel drive system. In mid-2003, major muscle came along in the limited-run RS 6-powered by a 450PS (444hp/331kW), twin-turbo V8 - which immediately finished first in a C/D comparison test".
In the late years of the A6 C5 design, a monstrous limited-run Audi RS6 model was presented. Weighing 4229 pounds and producing 450PS (331kW) and 560Nm (415ft·lbf), it propels the RS6 from 0-100 km/h in 4.8 sec and on to 200km/h (124mph) in under 17 seconds. This model saw the end of the C5 design which was replaced in 2004 by a new model.
The C5 design was available with the following engines:
The new A6 (C6) was released in 2005. Designed by Walter de'Silva, the new model is visually an evolution of the C5, but is longer (492cm), incorporates the new Audi trademark single-frame grille, and features more sophisticated technology. Most notable is the MMI (Multi Media Interface) which is a system controlling in-car entertainment, satellite navigation, climate control, car settings such as suspension configuration and optional electronic accessories through a central screen interface. This has the advantage of minimizing the wealth of buttons normally found on a dashboard by replacing them with controls which operate multiple devices using the integrated display.
On the engine side the new FSI direct injection technology was introduced for the first time outside the race track. Although the line of engines represents the same progression as the former model, all engines were new. The Multitronic automatic transmission continues as an alternative alongside a new 6-speed Tiptronic gearbox available in the high end models. quattro permanent four wheel drive is available in most of the lineup, and standard in the most powerful models. quattro is not available on the multitronic variants of the A6 but is available on the manual and Tiptronic gear systems. Conversely the Tiptronic system is only available on the quattro variants of the car. The 6-speed manual gearbox is available with the 3.2L engine but not for the North American market as sales of C5 manuals were slow.
In 2005, the new Audi A6 won the World Car of the Year award, and has recently won its class in the practical caravan tow car of the year awards, due to its array of towing features such as adjustable suspension height and damping, and the presence of a Trailer Stability Program.
Like the previous model, the A6 is available with other body options. The Avant arrived during the course of 2005, while in China, a longer version was introduced in the same year, named A6 L. The allroad (now called "A6 allroad quattro) model made its debut in 2006 and as before is an off-road ready version of the Avant available with either a 2.7 or 3.0 diesel or a 3.2 or 4.2 petrol. The sporting S6 was introduced in the Frankfurt Motor Show, with sales beginning in early 2006. It is powered by a Lamborghini-derived 5.2L V10 FSI producing 435PS (320kW). The S6 reaches 60 mph from a standstill in 5.1 seconds and the quarter mile 13.5 seconds.
A mighty RS6 will be on sale early 2008. This will be powered by a Lamborghini-derived 5.0L V10 TFSI producing 580PS (426kW).
On the 01/22/2008 spy photos of the mid-life facelift A6 appeared on the internet. The images show a slightly redesigned front bumper, new rectangular fog lamps as well as bigger air-intakes to the left and right of the grille.
The C6 design was available with the following engines:
Audi unveiled the upgraded "C6" Audi A6 on August 12, 2008 at the Moscow International Motor Show. It features a new engine variant, a 290PS (286hp/213kW) 3.0 liter V6 TSI powered by a supercharger, one of the 6 petrol and 4 diesel engines available for the upgraded A6.
The second-generation A6 was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 2000 and 2001. The updated 2005 A6 won the World Car of the Year award for 2005.