Audi says the Avant model will return to the A6 range this month. The new Audi A6 Avant not only integrates a 1,680-litre maximum luggage capacity but also takes on board standard mild hybrid drive, new technology including the fully digital MMI touch response operating system and a broad spread of driver assistance options.
A total of twelve paint colours will be available, and in the UK it will initially be possible to combine these with two specification levels – Sport and S line.
The new Audi A6 Avant is 4.94 metres long, 1.89 metres wide and 1.47 metres high, providing the framework for a cabin that is larger than before, with front and rear elbow room and rear knee room that are the most ample in the class.
Despite the more rakish lines, the new A6 Avant matches the outgoing car for luggage capacity. It offers a loading width of 1,050 millimetres and a capacity of 565 litres in five-seat mode, increasing to 1,680 litres with the standard 40:20:40 backrests folded down. The tailgate and the luggage compartment cover open electrically as standard, and an optional sensor is available for the tailgate which enables it to be opened using a simple movement of the foot.
Using the standard luggage compartment rail system customers can individually position four variable lashing points to secure objects. A tensioning strap, a net and two hooks are also included and an optional load-securing kit with telescopic bar and strap can also be added to allow individual sectioning of the luggage compartment.
The drag coefficient of the entry-level engine version, which will go on sale after the market launch, is 0.27.
The A6 Avant comes with a package of safety systems incorporating the latest in lighting, assistance and passive safety technology. Three headlight formats are available, the most sophisticated being the HD Matrix LED headlights, recognisable by the five horizontal lines which form the daytime running light signature. Upgraded tail lights with a special light signature made up of a single horizontal line and nine vertical segments for each unit are available. When unlocking and locking the doors, they initiate a pulsing coming and leaving home sequence which emphasises their technological sophistication. Inside, an ambient lighting package is standard, and can be replaced optionally by the contour ambient lighting package offering a variety of shades of light to subtly animate the space, the volume and the materials.
With frequent drivers and commuters in mind, the A6 Avant provides an extensive range of driver assistance systems, divided into “City assist” and “Tour” packs. The City assist pack includes features such as the new crossing assist system, while the Tour pack offers adaptive cruise assist, which supplements the adaptive cruise control by means of gentle steering intervention to keep the vehicle in lane. Efficiency assist, also part of the Tour pack, promotes an economical driving style, predictively factoring in speed limits, bends, roundabouts and – if route guidance is active – turnings as part of the cruise control function and also providing haptic feedback via the active throttle pedal.
Emergency assist enhances safety by recognising when the driver fails to act and providing a visual, acoustic or haptic warning. If the driver fails to respond, the system takes over, turns on the hazard warning lights and automatically brings the A6 to a stop in its own lane. The system activates Audi pre sense protection measures, such as seat belt tensioning, window closing, and automatically makes an emergency call.
Behind the extensive assistance systems lies a high-tech module: the central driver assistance controller (zFAS). It continuously calculates a detailed model of the environment from a fusion of sensor data. Depending on equipment, the sensor set includes up to five radar sensors, five cameras, twelve ultrasonic sensors as well as a laser scanner – another major innovation.
The new A6 Avant features four and six-cylinder TDI and TFSI engines. All are supported by Audi mild hybrid technology (MHEV) based around a belt alternator starter which recovers energy during braking that is harvested by a separate lithium-ion battery and also enables engine-off coasting at speeds of between 34mph and 99mph to conserve fuel. An enhanced start-stop function that is active from just over 13mph is also standard.
All versions will be equipped with either seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch or eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmissions, and quattro all-wheel-drive will be a standard or optional feature depending on model. The sport differential that actively distributes power between the rear wheels when cornering at speed will also be available.
Suspension choices include a conventional steel spring suspension which is standard, sport suspension, suspension with damper control and adaptive air suspension, also with controlled damping.
Progressive steering which becomes quicker and more direct as the steering angle increases is standard, and dynamic all-wheel steering can also be added to further enhance this agility. It can vary the steering ratio between 9.5:1 and 16.5:1 as a function of speed with the help of strain wave gearing at the front and a spindle on the rear axle that turns the rear wheels by as much as 5 degrees. At low speed, the wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front wheels, reducing the turning circle by up to 1.1 metres to 11.1 metres, while at higher speeds the wheels turn in the same direction to optimise stability when travelling in a straight line or changing lanes.
In addition to the dampers and the air springs, the electronic chassis platform (ECP) also controls the dynamic all-wheel steering and the updated sport differential. The driver can adjust the settings for all controlled suspensions in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.