After a long hiatus, German car maker Audi finally sprang back into action with the launch of the A6. The big question really is, will Audi’s decision to evolve the old A6 into an improved version of itself work in the face of stiff competition?
Words Aninda Sardar
Better late than never isn’t a car manufacturer’s favourite catch phrase but it’s the first thing that most of us will think of when we think Audi. The third major German luxury car maker in the country, which has been silent for the longest time that we can remember, finally seems to have woken up and decided to launch a slew of products for its Indian fandom. And that onslaught began with this, what I’m driving today, the A6 45 TFSI.
The exterior of the Audi A6
From a design perspective there are two ways to ensure that the new car looks different from its predecessor. One is a revolutionary approach where nothing of the old car remains on the new and the latter looks completely different. The other, which is the one that Audi has chosen, is to evolve the design where the visual DNA remains intact but there are enough differentiators to help you understand that this is the 2020 version on the road and not the old one from a few years ago. And it all begins with that grille. As in the case of its competing marque BMW, the A6’s grille is quite a bit larger than before and endows the visage of this saloon car with more presence than before. In profile, the silhouette is unmistakably Audi even though the lines are sharper now in keeping with contemporary tastes. The fact that the vehicle is larger than before also helps its road presence. However, this is no long wheelbase version, and Audi has made it absolutely clear that there won’t be one either. But that shouldn’t be a problem since the manufacturer also says with equal grit that the A6 does not fall short on space requirements. Something we are inclined to believe, seated in the cabin as we are.
Tech loaded, is the Audi A6
But space, etc isn’t what has caught our attention. Instead it is the dual touchscreen that dominates the all new dash that has our eyeballs glued to it, along with our fingers. The screen has haptic touch you see. It’s quite fascinating and is a world away from the old MMI system that all Audi users have gotten so accustomed to, but on the downside it’s also less intuitive and takes some time getting used to. What doesn’t take time to get used to are those fantabulous seats. Supportive to the correct degree while allowing that little latitude to move around, which is so crucial on those long drives out of town. Like the one we’re undertaking now – our usual Mumbai to Pune jaunt.
The Audi A6 is a super cruiser
Under that long and leanly muscled bonnet is a 1984cc straight four with petrol direct injection, a turbocharger and an intercooler. What you have at the ball of your right foot is 245 horses cantering out of the crankshaft between 5000 and 6500 revolutions and 370Nm of peak torque from 1600 to 4500rpm. A 7-speed S Tronic dual clutch transmission channels all of that to the front wheels. As expected from the numbers there’s plenty of grunt really low in the engine’s rev range for easy highway cruising or pottering about town without fuss. Out on open roads if you want to have fun there’s plenty to be had too. However, in all honesty there seems to be a little turn towards softening things up a bit and the nature of the engine seems to tend more towards relaxed and easy paced than outright urgency. Even that famed DSG, which in Audi parlance is S Tronic, seems a little lazier than before. Where the real improvement lies however is in refinement. The old Audi engines were already pretty refined and this one just pushes the bar up a notch and a half. You’ll have to really pay attention to figure out if the engine is switched on without looking at the tacho even when the saloon is sluicing its way down the straight road. And at idling it’s near impossible to hear anything.
As with all front wheel drive cars, one could argue that the A6 isn’t as engaging as any of its rivals (other than the Volvo S90) but the handling is as sweet as ever. There’s a degree of predictability and linearity in its dynamic behavior that gives one the confidence to push harder. Ride quality too is well balanced and soaks up everything that our journey out of Mumbai’s ravaged roads had to throw at us.
So on the whole not a bad deal at all for those of us looking to be chauffeured to our swanky offices on most days and enjoying its dynamism with the family on the occasional weekend road trip. Especially when you consider that the Audi A6 undercuts the competition by a fair bit at Rs 59.2 lakh, ex-showroom.