IN A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce writes, “Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an aesthetic end.” Probably that’s what Audi designers were thinking when they sat down to design the new A6 Matrix. Be it exterior or interior, the sedan fascinates at first glance. However, clothes don’t always make the man. We travel to Udaipur to find out how good is the A6 Matrix to drive and get driven in.
The A6 Matrix gets the signature Audi single-frame grille that has horizontal chrome struts. The biggest change, of course, are the headlights—these always-on Matrix LED lamps give the car a distinctive appearance both during daytime and at night. The front bumper has been redesigned. The large wheels and subtle wheel arches emphasise the muscular character of the car—in fact, dynamic patterns get reflected in every line on the body.
The rear gets rectangular tail-lights with LED strips for brake-lights. A notable, welcome and sporty change at the rear is that the twin exhaust pipes have been given a rectangular shape, artfully mimicking the tail-lights. Completing the look is a chrome strip on the boot-lid.
Exterior aesthetics are taken care of by the rear dynamic turn indicators—diode by diode, these “flow” towards outside as you turn left or right. The front Matrix LED headlights are a bundle of 19 diodes per headlight paired with four reflectors, which permanently stay on high beam, illuminating the road ahead but without dazzling oncoming traffic.
The exterior elegance seeps into the car’s spacious interior. The uncompromising level of quality, four-zone automatic AC, sunroof, Bose surround-sound system with a 600-watt output, electrically-adjustable front seats with driver-side memory function, seats wrapped in high-quality Milano leather in three colours, front passenger seats electrically adjustable from the rear for additional legroom … you think of a pampering feature and it is there. Or is it? Even though the A6 Matrix would primarily be used as a chauffeur-driven car, the rear seat, strangely, cannot be reclined. This bit apart, you may not have anything to complain about. The rear-seat passenger gets a remote control, using which she can control most functions of the car except, of course, the driving modes.
The driver gets a host of new functionalities, too. As soon as you fire the engine, from the dashboard the Modular Infotainment Platform (MMI) emerges stealthily. It is a 20-cm monitor that, among other things, can be operated using voice commands. So what can the MMI do? Almost anything (sensible) you want it to. Searching for a particular shop, ask it; want to go to a mall, command it; need a faster route to your destination, instruct it.
The A6 Matrix comes in only one engine option—the 2.0-litre TDI which delivers a power of 190 bhp (140 kW), mated to the seven-speed S-tronic transmission. It propels the car from 0-100 kmph in 8.4 seconds, taking it to a top speed of 226 kmph, even while delivering a claimed fuel-efficiency of 18.53 kmpl. While the specifications of the engine remain the same, in the A6 Matrix the power output of the engine has been increased by 7% and fuel-efficiency by 5%, compared to the outgoing model. The car weighs 1,830 kg.
The car comes with Audi Drive Select, which has four modes for customised driving experience—auto, comfort, dynamic and individual—that allow you to adjust the vehicle’s characteristics by adapting power steering assistance, engine or even gear changing characteristics. The car gets anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution and hydraulic brake assist. Hill-descent control and electronic stabilisation control are other important features. Also, for passenger safety, there are as many as eight airbags in the car.
It comes in just one variant, it does not have a petrol engine option, unlike most other Audi cars it does not have the Quattro all-wheel drive either, but the A6 Matrix has all the wares the Indian customer appreciates—adaptive air suspension, good fuel-efficiency, voice-command, luxurious cabin, striking looks and comes at a relatively competitive price of Rs 49.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi and Mumbai). The A6 has been an excellent success story for Audi in India, the A6 Matrix is the new chapter.