The new A6 finally receives Audi’s revised powertrain layout — first seen in the A5 — which sees the engine placed slightly rearward. The engine is still located completely ahead of the front-wheel center line, but a switch to a 40/60 rear-biased all-wheel-drive system bestows the A6 with handling that belies its front-heavy layout. Partly constructed of aluminum, the new A6 weighs about 80 fewer pounds than its predecessor and its aerodynamics have been improved, contributing to the car’s impressive fuel economy numbers. A three-inch wheelbase stretch shortens the A6’s overhangs, and a substantial 2.9-inch increase in width improves not only the car’s stance but also its interior room. And the interior is where the A6 really impresses — with its beautifully designed and executed shapes, as well as whizbang gadgetry. The navigation system can fuse Google Earth images into the maps it displays, a mobile internet hot spot for up to eight devices can be set up, and the MMI system uses a touch pad on the center console that can read your handwriting. The A6 is available with a head-up display and numerous active safety systems, including lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot warning, active cruise control, and Audi Pre-Sense Plus, which activates protective measures if it detects an imminent collision. Given the A6’s prodigious speed potential (the V-6 can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds), safety technologies are welcome.

Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: A6 2.0T, A6 3.0T
Body style: Sedan, 5-passenger
Engines: 2.0L turbo I-4, 211 hp, 258 lb-ft
3.0L supercharged V-6, 310 hp, 325 lb-ft
Transmissions: 8-speed automatic, continuously variable
Passenger Volume: 97.2 cu ft
Cargo space: 14.1 cu ft

The S6 is all new for 2012. With a distinct family resemblance, the A6 slots right into the existing Audi lineup, but on closer inspection, the new A6 might have the handsomest face. Audi’s new mid-size sedan returns with just two engines in the lineup — a turbocharged four or a supercharged V-6. The V-8 has been retired, but a new turbocharged V-8 will replace the old V-10 when the S6 makes its way here next year.

Dual-stage front, side, knee, and side curtain air bags; traction and stability control; and ABS are standard. Rear side air bags, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive headlights, Audi Pre Sense Plus, and infrared night vision with pedestrian detection and a head-up display are optional.

All: 19-25 mpg city/28-33 mpg highway

  • Economy/performance value
  • Much improved handling
  • High-tech interior
  • No more Avant wagon
  • Optional LED headlights look cool but don’t light so well

An all-new A6 for 2012.

  • BMW 5-series
  • Cadillac CTS
  • Lexus GS
  • Mercedes-Benz E-class
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