Audi upgrades A6 in premium sales race

Lighter, leaner saloon hopes to beat 5-Series and E-Class

Audi’s so-called “Ultra” technology helps the new A6 to achieve some featherweight figures.

Audi’s so-called “Ultra” technology helps the new A6 to achieve some featherweight figures.

 

Traditionally, the Audi A6 has been the four-ringed brand’s best-selling model in the Irish market, but its position has been slipping of late and it’s now being outsold by its smaller brothers, the A3 and A4. That is probably hardly surprsing and not too worrying for Audi, but the harsher news is that the A6 is currently being outsold almost 2-1 by the BMW 5-Series in Ireland, and the Mercedes E-Class is also catching up fast.

So, in order to try and better beat BMW and keep ahead of a fast-charging Mercedes, Audi has launched a major mid-life facelift for the A6, which incorporates a great deal of the lightweight Audi Ultra technology which the firm has been promoting on its Le Mans winning R18 diesel hybrids.

Thanks to Ultra technology, including the greater use of aluminium, hot-shaped steel sections and even the use of glass-fibre-reinforced polymenr instead of steel for the suspension springs (it saves 4.4kg apparently) the weight of the basic 1.8 TFSI petrol A6 has fallen to a trim 1,535kg.

That lower weight also allows the big-selling version, the 2.0-litre TDI, to post some impressive figures. Even though it has been upgraded to the latest 150hp version of the engine, the A6 2.0 TDI now scores a Co2 emissions figure of 109g/km and claimed fuel economy of 4.2-litres per 100km (or 67mpg).

The rest of the engine range has also been tweaked. There’s now a 190hp version of the 2.0 TDI diesel, while the range-topping twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 diesel has been upgraded to 320hp. More powerful models can be fitted with a sports differential to help distribute power through the four-wheel-drive quattro system while wheel sizes now stretch from 17” to 20”.

Inside there is a new 8” colour monitor for the MMI infotaintment system, which retracts away into the dash when not needed while the optional Audi Connect system now boasts high-speed internet access if it’s fitted.

Audi Ireland will confirm the A6’s new prices later this month, ahead of the cars’ on-sale date in the last quarter of the year. Whether that will be enough to close the 590-unit sales gap to the 5 Series remains to be seen, as are the A6’s chances of fending off the E-Class’ (29 per cent sales increase, now just 100 untis behind) advances.