The new 2012 Audi A6 Avant

The case for the Audi A6 Avant is about to stack up even more favourably as the all-new model makes its world debut in Berlin this week ahead of first UK orders in June and first deliveries in November. Priced from £32,100 OTR, the sleek and technologically-advanced newcomer delivers major efficiency improvements helped by state-of-the art construction processes which reduce weight by up to 70kg, and offers an impressive and increased carrying capacity of up to 1,680 litres. Another highlight, due later in 2011, will be a potent new 313PS twin-turbo V6 TDI engine which will be shared with the A6 Saloon.

The A6 Avant sets new standards with its low weight. Thanks to the use of aluminium components – which make up roughly 20 per cent of the body – gross weight has been reduced by as much as 70 kilograms, depending on engine, compared with the previous model. The A6 Avant 2.0 TDI, for example, has a kerb weight of just 1,640 kilograms.

The luggage compartment in this all-new Avant can be opened automatically simply by ‘gesturing’ with a foot to two sensors beneath the rear bumper if the optional advanced key feature is added. The A6 Avant has a capacity of 565 litres, which can be increased to 1,680 litres by folding down the rear seat backs. The load bay has luggage lashing eyes, side restraining straps, bag hooks, a double cargo floor, a rail luggage fixing system, a dirt-resistant tray and roof rails as standard. A through-load facility and a fixing set that uses the two standard rails in the cargo floor are optional.

Engines and transmissions

A choice of four engines featuring direct fuel injection will be available for the new

A6 Avant in the UK: one petrol engine and three TDI units. They develop between 177PS and 300PS, the top figure belonging to the supercharged 3.0 TFSI petrol model. The line-up also includes the 3.0-litre V6 TDI in 204PS and 245PS forms and the even more efficient 177PS 2.0-litre TDI, which with its 56.5mpg potential and low 132g/km CO2 output offers an outstanding combination of strong performance and comparatively low running costs.

Later in 2011 an all-new 3.0-litre twin-turbo TDI will be the most potent V6 and the fourth diesel-powered option in the range. Thanks to a two-stage turbocharger that delivers a maximum boost pressure of up to 3.2 bar, the TDI flagship will take just 5.4 seconds (preliminary value) to reach 62mph from rest, and will be electronically limited to a 155mph top speed.

All of the engines use the technologies from the Audi modular efficiency platform, including the start-stop system, energy recuperation and the innovative thermal management system that quickly brings the coolant and motor oil up to operating temperature. These ancillary features make a major contribution to a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 18 per cent compared with the out-going model.

Transmission options, based on the engine choice, will include a manual six-speed transmission or multitronic CVT for front-wheel-drive models, and the new seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission for quattros. Each unit features a wide gear-ratio spread which gives a further boost to overall efficiency.

The latest generation quattro all-wheel-drive with a crown gear centre differential and a torque-vectoring function for optimum traction, stability and response will be standard for the 3.0 TDI 245PS and 3.0-litre TFSI petrol models. For the top-of-the-line engines, the quattro sport differential – which is capable of apportioning torque between the rear wheels – will also be offered as an option.

New energy-efficient electromechanical power steering, in conjunction with the lightweight suspension set-up with its considerable aluminium content, will further refine handling. The reduced unsprung mass will also favour ride comfort – which has already been highly praised in the A6 Saloon – and which can be enhanced even further if the optional adaptive air suspension is chosen.

The Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system will also be standard in the new A6 Avant, allowing drivers to fine-tune the car’s responses as desired via the Multi Media Interface (MMI) screen. In front-wheel-drive models the latest Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with electronic limited slip differential will help to maintain optimum control without impairing responsiveness during enthusiastic driving.

As Audi customers have come to expect, the spacious interior combines the latest Audi design language with the finest materials constructed to the very highest of standards, and embellishes this with exceptional technological input. The cabin’s focal point is the MMI with its 6.5-inch retractable monitor and large central control knob. MMI provides easy and intuitive access to the high quality audio system, the Bluetooth phone interface and the SD card-based navigation system which, uniquely in the premium sector at this level, is standard.

An eight-inch monitor and fingertip-sensitive touch pad are available as an upgrade from MMI to MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch. The system’s touch pad enables characters to be ‘drawn’ by the driver using an index finger for navigation or telephone data entry. As well as ultra-intelligent 3D navigation mapping, the upgraded MMI system can store audio tracks and telephone data on its sizeable hard disk.

Navigation with Google Earth mapping

Online services including news and weather information supplied by Google will be accessible if the Mobile Telephone Preparation High and MMI Navigation Plus options are specified. This option will enable drivers to plot detailed routes on a home computer and download them to the navigation system when they start a trip. Google Earth images will also be beamed via the car’s internal universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS) module to the MMI monitor for navigation purposes. Through its wireless local area network (WLAN) link, passengers will also be able to connect to the internet with up to eight devices at once.

MMI navigation plus will be able to work closely with the optional assistance and safety systems in the new A6. It can forward route data to the control units for the headlights, the automatic transmission and the adaptive cruise control with stop & go function, helping the car to match its system functions to its surroundings.

Also on the options list is a night vision assistant that uses a thermal-imaging camera to highlight ‘warm-blooded’ road users in front of the car, a head-up display and a park assist system which automatically takes care of steering to manoeuvre into parallel or perpendicular parking spaces. More familiar options such as the Audi side assist blind spot warning system, the Audi lane assist lane departure detection system and the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System are also available.

Two specification levels – SE and S line – will be offered in the UK, each including alloy wheels, leather upholstery, cruise and front and rear parking controls, SD-based satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone preparation, split/folding rear seats and light and rain sensors. S line models will add larger 18-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, sports suspension, upgraded Valcona leather upholstery and an exclusive S line exterior and interior styling treatment.