First Look: 2012 Audi A6

The current-generation A6 is one of the last vehicles in Audi's lineup not wearing Audi's new design language from nose to tail. A 2008 refresh added the new corporate face, but the 2012 model gains sheetmetal nearly identical to that of its larger A8 sibling all the way to the rear bumper. The only real differences between the two models, apart from size, are different wheels, headlights, foglights, and a slightly different grille. Even the headlights, despite the elongated, jagged shape resemble those on the A8.

Although the new A6's sheetmetal was done in part to give the A6 a familial Audi resemblance, it was also styled in the name of aerodynamic efficiency. Audi's designers aimed to help improve fuel efficiency by making the new A6 as aerodynamic as possible, achieving an impressive 0.26 drag coefficient.

Audi's new A6 may wear a similar suit to the A8, but what's found once the suit is removed is significantly different. The A6 uses a version of Audi's steel and aluminum space frame architechture, which helps the new A6 weigh 15-percent less than the current car.

U.S.-spec engine and transmission options have yet to be revealed, but in Europe, Audi is giving buyers a choice of five engines initially. The most efficient of these new engines is Audi's 2.0-liter, turbo-diesel I-4 that puts out 170 horsepower and achieves 48 mpg U.S. on the Euro combined cycle. Audi also offers two states of tune -- 204 and 245 horsepower -- for its 3.0-liter, turbo-diesel V-6, one of which may makes its way Stateside. The other engine choices currently are a normally-aspirated, 2.8-liter V-6 that puts out 210 horsepower and Audi's 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6. Front-wheel drive models can be equipped with either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT while all Quattro models feature a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

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