The A6 catches up with its siblings by finally switching to the rear-biased Quattro system with a 40/60 default torque split. Additionally, an optional sport rear differential can send power to the outside wheel in a curve. The new A6 also switches to electrically assisted power steering. Although this aids the cause of efficiency, electric power steering is rarely the enthusiast's choice. The good news here is that the A6 steering system remains precise and well calibrated. Efforts can be fine-tuned via the standard Drive Select system, which also offers choices in powertrain responsiveness (altering throttle and transmission mapping), damper firmness, and the aggressiveness of the sport rear differential and the seatbelt pretensioners. In addition to the familiar comfort, automatic, dynamic, and individual (custom mix-and-match) modes, there's a new efficiency mode. The latter all but snuffs out throttle response, and we can't imagine wanting to drive in this mode. We preferred the dynamic mode for its meatier steering efforts, although even comfort mode isn't too overboosted. Neither made much of a difference in handling or ride quality. The new A6 corners eagerly, with less understeer than you'd expect. Credit the rear torque bias and the less nose-heavy powertrain layout-speaking of heavy, the new A6 isn't; it's actually a bit lighter than its predecessor (78 pounds lighter in the case of the 3.0T Quattro). The car also rides well, as long as it's not rolling on twenty-inch wheels, which telegraph every crease in the road; the nineteens are noticeably better (eighteens and seventeens are also available depending on the trim level).
Why drive when you can surf?
Speaking of available features, the 2012 A6 adds some notable new ones. Topping the list is the car's ability to be a wireless hot spot, supporting up to eight web surfing devices (you'll need a data plan with a yet-to-be selected wireless provider). Cars with that service can do Google searches via the standard MMI with the results sent to the navigation system; the wireless data service also enables the navigation system to use Google Earth images together with the road maps. This new navigation unit also features the touchpad (seen already in the A7 and the A8), which allows drivers to make entries by drawing letters and numbers on the pad with their finger.