Audi completely redesigned the A6 for the 2012 model year with an emphasis on technology. And not simply the infotainment type, though with an 8-inch screen, advanced MMI and cellular Wi-Fi connecting you to things like Google maps, the new A6 certainly ticks that box. No, for the 2012 A6, Audi focused on building a lighter, more efficient sedan. That started by (thankfully) not increasing the size of the A6 -- which was already one of the largest vehicles in the class. So Audi increased the wheelbase and lowered the car and at the same time, employed greater use of aluminum to lighten the whole package by 176 pounds. That's a trend we can get behind.
And while Audi still isn't keen on offering a V8 for this A6, it has tweaked the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 to 310 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm and 325 lb-ft of torque from 2,900-4,500 rpm. If these stats sound familiar. it's because this is the same engine that's sitting in the 2012 Audi A7 which you should be familiar with as the sporty hatchback sibling of the Audi A6.
We already know how the A7 does on the track. Can the best-selling A6 keep up with the impressive numbers already set?
Vehicle: 2012 Audi A6 3.0T Quattro
Price as tested: $71,330 (Base 3.0 TFSI quattro tiptronic ($49,900); Aviator Blue Metallic ($475); Prestiga Package ($6,880); Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System ($5,900); Innovation Package ($5,800); 19" Sport Package ($1,500); Destination fee ($857)
Date Tested: 6-21-2011
Driver: Mike Monticello
Drive Type: Longitudinal, front-engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,995/183
Redline (rpm): 6,450
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 310 @ 5,500-6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 325 @ 2,900-4,500
Steering System: Electronic Assist, speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): Independent multilink, coil springs, antiroll bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs
Tire Size (front): 255/40R19
Tire Size (rear): 255/40R19
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Summer performance
Brakes front: 14-inch ventilated discs with 2-piston sliding calipers
Brakes 13 in ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,175
0-30 (sec): 2.0 (2.1 with T/C on)
0-45 (sec): 3.4 (3.6 with T/C on)
0-60 (sec): 5.2 (5.7 with T/C on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.9 (5.4 with T/C on)
0-75 (sec): 7.6 (8.1 with T/C on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 13.6 @ 102.0 (13.8 @ 100.8 with T/C on)
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 111
Slalom (mph): 67.2 (64.5 with T/C on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.90 (0.88 with T/C on)
Db @ Idle: 41.6
Db @ Full Throttle: 70.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 63.4
RPM @ 70: 1,700
Acceleration: Strong supercharged power right off the line and continues its strong flood of power through the quarter-mile. Transmission shifts quickly in Sport mode. Quickest run was a bit of an anomaly -- power braking in sport transmission mode with ESC off, but the upshifts were much more abrupt and lightning-quick and could not duplicate (a trick we've seen in other new Audis.) Manual shifting is via paddles or console lever. Blips throttle on downshifts but will not hold gears to rev limiter.
Braking: Not the firmest pedal ever, and with moderate travel, but incredibly consistent and stable stops. Very little nosedive at all and zero brake fade exhibited in six stops. Short stopping distances, too.
Handling: Skid pad: Steering feels very light and unfeeling around the skid pad, and there's significant understeer, but the chassis is very receptive to drop-throttle to keep the A6 on the arc. And those summer tires clearly have a lot of grip. Slalom: There's more substance to the steering during the higher speeds and transitions of the slalom. Grippy tires give a lot of confidence to throw the car around and AWD is a real boon for exiting at full throttle. The suspension feels oddly springy, though, as you transition back and forth. Overall, though, a confidence-inspiring car.