Audi has released initial details of its new A6 Avant, due to arrive in the UK early next year.

The new A6 Avant will be available with a range of diesel and petrol engines up to a maximum output of 335bhp, channelled through both front-wheel and quattro four-wheel drive systems.

The load area features a rail system integrated into the floor that accepts a range of accessories to safely carry mountain bikes, skis, snowboards and, er, shopping, by restraining them and preventing them flying forward in an accident.

The load area itself has a capacity of 565 litres or 1,660 litres with the rear bench seat folded down.

Engines include a new 2.7-litre V6 TDI developing 180bhp and 280lb/ft of torque, enough to propel the A6 Avant to 62mph in 8.3 seconds and on to a 140mph top speed.

Its larger 225bhp 3.0-litre V6 TDI brother is joined by three other petrol engines initially: a 2.4-litre 177bhp V6, a 3.2-litre 255bhp V6 and a 4.2-litre 335bhp V8.

Most models carry a choice of either a manual six-speed gearbox, six-speed tiptronic or continuously variable multitronic automatic transmission, in conjunction with either front-wheel or quattro permanent four-wheel drive.

Adaptive air suspension is available as an option on some models, otherwise the Avant makes do with Audi’s four-link front suspension layout and self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension.

Technology available includes a tyre pressure monitoring system, adaptive cornering lights, latest-generation ESP with extended range of functions, radar-assisted adaptive cruise control, light and rain sensors, advanced key access and authorisation system, and two-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning. Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) basic is fitted with a monochrome display as standard.

Order books for the new Audi A6 Avant will open in the UK during the first quarter of 2005, and first deliveries will commence in spring 2005.