There can be two ways of looking at the new Audi A6. One, because it’s bigger and more luxurious than the previous generation A6, you may not want the A8 (which, anyway, isn’t available in India right now). Two, it’s a “pay less, get more” car, i.e. it offers more or less similar features when compared to a Mercedes-Benz E-Class or a BMW 5 Series, and yet is priced about Rs 7 lakh lesser. We drive it in and around Delhi.
The new A6, launched last month, is the eighth generation of the sedan, and it brings certain innovations to the segment. It is also Audi’s first BS6-compliant model in the country. Elegantly sculpted on the outside, it comes across as a car that combines digitalisation, comfort, luxury and sportiness.
Its front Singleframe grille is wide and set low, making the car look wider, and its long roofline and short overhangs give it an A8-ish appearance. The Matrix LED headlights look striking. Despite the changes, the design isn’t radical—the car retains the Audi “family look.”
The cabin is minimalist—there are few buttons and controls. The 10.1-inch (25.65-cm) touchscreen display is unique in the way it provides feedback—both haptic and audio feedback. You have to get used to the amount of pressure needed to use the touchscreen, and once you adjust to that, the touchscreen is fun to operate. The experience is a bit like Apple’s Force Touch technology; Audi has done the same for cars. However, the touchscreen for climate control is placed lower on the dashboard, and you just cannot use it without taking your eyes off the road. Honestly, it’s poor placement.
The cabin is spacious enough for you to lounge, relax, unwind, or even operate a laptop. Almost the entire roof is made of glass (it’s a sunroof), and enhances the “feel” of space. The ambient lighting at night turns the cabin into a cosy, I-don’t-want-to-leave-it place, and the four-zone climate control system is super-effective. The rear-seat passenger gets access to the Audi Music Interface technology. Between the front two seats is the Audi phone box with wireless charging. The luggage compartment is massive (530 litres).
With the new A6, Audi India has started its petrol strategy for the upcoming BS6 regulation, and all its new models in 2020 might be launched with petrol engines only. The petrol-only A6 gets the 2.0-litre TFSI engine generating 245bhp power and 370Nm torque. Mated to the 7 Speed S tronic transmission (dual clutch), it accelerates from 0-100kph in 6.8 seconds (faster than the E-Class petrol, but slower than the 5 Series petrol). Its mild-hybrid technology (belt alternator starter, additional lithium-ion battery, start-stop system) allows the car to “coast” with the petrol engine switched off. While Audi India hasn’t shared its fuel-efficiency figure, we got about 14kpl during Sunday’s sparse traffic.
Driver assistance systems include the Audi Park assist with front and rear parking sensors, and lane-departure warning system, but the car’s doesn’t have automatic parking (like in the 5 Series).
The new A6 is a refreshed Audi, and offers you a glimpse of the cars to come from the German company. It doesn’t appear as luxurious as the E-Class or as fun-to-drive as the 5 Series, but for Rs 54.2 lakh (starting price), it’s more affordable than its German brethren.