First Look: 2012 Audi A6

Enough with the teasers. After receiving numerous photos that showed pieces of the car or wrapped it underneath a cover, Audi has finally shown its all-new 2012 A6 sedan in its entirety.

Although the A6 continues to serve as Audi’s midsize sedan offering, it borrows a number of design cues and technological features from its larger sibling, the flagship A8 sedan. Outside, the A6′s form resembles a scaled-down A8, although the car does utilize unique headlamps, wheels, and grille designs. It’s a vast departure from what Audi last teased as the next-generation A6, which appeared to incorporate long, flat headlamp forms, along with rounded body edges.

As stunning as the exterior may be, we’d argue the A6′s new interior is the true styling tour de force. The sweeping instrument panel and low dashboard height seems inspired in part by the A7 Sportback. Cloth seats are standard in Europe, but leather is likely to be the base material in the North America, as is the case with the current car. Wood veneer accents offered include ash and walnut inserts, but the layered oak design shown here -- similar to those shown in the 2009 Sportback concept -- will be available at a later date.

Of course, no Audi interior would be complete without including the company’s latest and greatest technology. As such, the new A6 features Audi’s latest MMI system, complete with the innovative touchpad input previously rolled out in both the A7 and A8. Navigation is largely provided via Google, which allows users to mine its Google Earth data to see both satellite and 3-D maps of their destination.

Like the A8, the new A6 utilizes a form of Audi’s steel and aluminum space frame architecture (which reportedly cuts weight by nearly 15 percent), but the midsize model does receive a number of different powertrain options. Audi has yet to disclose official specifications for the U.S.-bound A6, but European models will be available with a number of engine offerings. Gasoline engines include a normally aspirated 2.8-liter V-6, along with the company’s supercharged 3.0-liter V-6; diesel offerings range from a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel I-4 to a 3.0-liter, turbo-diesel V-6. A six-speed manual and a CVT are available, but buyers seeking the legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system will be forced into selecting a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Look for Audi’s new, 2012 A6 to be shown at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show in January, and hit dealerships early next year.

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