Audi A6 Avant

Production Cars 4 Nov 2004
Audi A6 Avant

Audi is adding a new chapter to the success story of the Avant: the new Audi A6 Avant represents a unique blend of design and dynamism, driving pleasure and functionality.


From the official Press Release:

Design

Here is a car that features notable design unity: measuring 4.93 metres in length, 1.86 metres in width, and 1.46 metres in height, the new Audi A6 Avant visibly sets a new standard. The lines of the car combine the clear architecture typical of Audi with other core elements of the brand’s progressive design.

The already classic proportions of the Avant’s silhouette, with its high shoulder line, narrow window area, coupé-like roofline and flat, sloping tail end, have been infused with a new degree of tension: the contours of the gently rising, curved shoulder line and the powerful, sweeping motion of the dynamic line above the side sills give the entire body of the car a forward-moving, tapered appearance.

This impression is even more dominant than on the saloon, because the basic proportions of the A6 Avant are lent that extra forward urge as a result of the rising dynamic line. The optical centre of gravity of the vehicle body is clearly forward of the rear axle, thus giving the tail end a lighter appearance.

 

The decidedly horizontal design of the rearward structure, with the two-section rear lights curving well in towards the centre, gives the vehicle an air of sturdiness and stability. The basic proportions and the design of the lights clearly indicate the blood ties with two other recent additions to Audi’s range of five-door versions: the A4 Avant and the A3 Sportback.

A glance at the front end, with the trapezoidal-shape single-frame radiator grille, reveals the A6 Avant to be a member of the latest generation of Audi models. The latest lighting technology is visible behind the clear glass covers of the headlights: as an option, the new A6 Avant is available with dynamic adaptive light technology incorporating high-intensity xenon plus light units and daytime running lights.

Inside the new A6 Avant, it is also obvious at first glance that this is a brand-new model generation. The high, wide centre console, for example, with controls and switches within perfect reach, emphasises the sporty interior architecture that integrates the driver as the central player.

Sporty design and perfect ergonomics – these are the features that characterise the driving area. A joint cover at the top connects the instrument cluster and the upper part of the centre console, which is turned slightly towards the driver, to form one common unit.

The instrument cluster: the round coolant temperature and fuel gauges are located inside the newly designed, teardrop-shaped surrounds, next to the two large rev counter and speedometer dials.

The A6 Avant likewise features the new generation of Audi steering wheels. As a characteristic feature of the three and four-spoke steering wheels, the single-frame trapezoid with the four Audi rings is cited on the central airbag cap. Its oval exterior geometry likewise picks up on the shape of the single-frame grille.

Driving dynamics and ride comfort

A gain in torsional rigidity of up to 25 percent: this advance compared with the bodyshell of the predecessor version – in itself widely praised as very robust – is reflected in the new model’s vibrational comfort, road behaviour and interior acoustics.

The rigidity of the steel bodyshell is itself the result of methodically enhanced joining technologies plus optimised panel profiles.

The improved vibrational behaviour moreover lays the foundations for the harmonious but nevertheless sporty tuning of the chassis. In conjunction with the direct, extremely stable link connecting the steering column to the module subframe, this body configuration is the basic prerequisite for the precise handling of the A6 Avant.

The Audi dynamic suspension layout as featured on the new A6 Avant is based on proven sports technology: the refined four-link front suspension acknowledged as a typical Audi feature and the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension carried over from the Audi A8 – a combination used on both the front-wheel-drive and quattro models.

The result is a standard of dynamic driving behaviour that is beyond compare, plus ease of control far superior to the competition. This is also due in no small measure to the speed-dependent servotronic power steering featured as standard, supplementing the precise handling of the new A6 Avant with even more sensitive steering precision.

Versatile and sophisticated: the luggage compartment

Your luggage always travels Business Class in the new Audi A6 Avant. Inside, this is emphasised both by the materials and finish of the luggage compartment and by its entirely new securing concept. Countless meticulously thought-out details set the benchmark for this class thanks to their versatility and variability.

All new A6 Avant versions have two securing rails recessed into the floor of the level, 1.05 metre wide load area (through-loading width).

These are fitted with four sliding, adjustable and lockable lashing eyes in total which, along with the luggage net fitted as standard, can be used to secure individual items of luggage of almost any size. All A6 Avant versions have bag hooks integrated into the luggage compartment trim, as well as an additional luggage net to one side.

A lockable side compartment can be supplied as an optional extra, for keeping objects hidden from prying eyes.

The load area floor can be folded up as a standard feature and can be locked in a variety of positions to divide up the load area. This not only provides scope for stowing objects between the rear backrest and the raised floor to prevent them from sliding around, but also provides access to the lower load area, into which a large plastic tray is integrated.

Where can you put your muddy walking boots after a mountain hike or your wet snowboard boots at the end of a hard day on the slopes? This easy-to-clean tray provides a simple solution.

The rail system’s variability can be further enhanced as an optional extra: a telescopic rod can be engaged into both rails to divide up the luggage compartment diagonally or horizontally, thus providing another means of reliably securing items of luggage. Additional support is provided by a retaining strap, which – when both ends are engaged in a rail – lashes objects down securely against the sides of the luggage compartment at the push of a button, or divides up the compartment transversely when engaged in both rails, to keep large, bulky items of luggage in place.

The cycle rack system, which has been developed specially for the A6 Avant and is likewise mounted on the rails and around the protective tray, is a means of transporting two mountain bikes securely.

Audi’s development engineers have further optimised the securing method for the safety partition net, which protects the passengers against displaced items of luggage in the event of emergency braking manoeuvres or a nose-to-tail collision. It is much easier to fold the rear seat back down one third, two thirds or entirely, as desired.

The large storage box for the luggage compartment is a particularly versatile item. Secured to the rails by means of the lashing eyes, it can be arranged in two different positions: with its opening facing to the rear, it can be used for storing smaller items of luggage and for dividing up the luggage compartment. When pushed up flush against the rear seat with its opening facing forwards, the box can be accessed via the through-loading facility in the rear seat, thus being transformed into a storage compartment that is well away from inquisitive eyes.

The further-developed reversible mat (option) has exclusive velour in the interior colour on one side; on the other side, its rubberised, easy-to-clean surface protects the load area floor.

The reversible mat now also incorporates a protective sheet that can be pulled down over the bumper. This protects the bumper during loading and unloading, or provides a clean seating surface that is handy, for example when changing your footwear after a hike.

The detachable ski and snowboard bag is another new feature that will be of particular interest to winter sports enthusiasts. Winter sports equipment can be packed away swiftly and easily in the bag while outside the car, then stowed in the luggage compartment avoiding snow or meltwater drips.

For the first time on an Audi, the tailgate opens and closes automatically at the push of a button. The opening process can also be initiated by pressing the button on the car key. The required opening angle can be infinitely varied.

Engines and transmissions

The new Audi A6 Avant will be launched with a choice of no fewer than five engines installed longitudinally – three petrol and two TDI power units. All these engines share a level of power and torque that is outstanding in this segment of the market:

  • 4.2 V8 developing 246 kW (335 bhp), 420 Newton-metres
  • 3.2 V6 FSI developing 188 kW (255 bhp), 330 Newton-metres
  • 2.4 V6 developing 130 kW (177 bhp), 230 Newton-metres
  • 3.0 V6 TDI developing 165 kW (225 bhp), 450 Newton-metres
  • 2.7 V6 TDI developing 132 kW (180 bhp), 380 Newton-metres

All engines comply with the limits of the EU4 emission standard. A diesel particulate filter can in addition be ordered as an option for the TDI engines.

The six and eight-cylinder power units come from Audi’s new V-engine family. Their highlights in design and construction are the 90° cylinder angle and a distance of 90 millimetres between the cylinders, compact dimensions, maintenance-free camshaft drive via a chain and low-friction roller-arm valve drive.

The 2.7 V6 TDI

In addition to the 3.0 TDI, the A6 Avant is starting out with a further representative of the latest V6 TDI engine generation with common rail system and piezo inline injectors: the 2.7 TDI.

Like its big brother, which has a capacity of three litres, it makes use of the latest injection technology and consequently already undercuts the demanding EU4 emission limits, which will not take effect until 2006, even without a diesel particulate filter.

A new crankshaft with the stroke reduced by 8.3 millimetres, new connecting rods and different pistons result in an overall swept volume of 2,698 cm3. This engine’s key performance data are a power output of 132 kW (180 bhp) in a speed range of between 3,300 and 4,250 rpm and a peak torque of 380 Nm which is available from 1,400 rpm and remains at this high level all the way up to 3,300 rpm.

The result is a spontaneous response and tremendous pulling power even from the lowest revs. The 100 km/h mark is passed after just 8.3 seconds on the way up to a top speed of 225 km/h. But it is the mid-range sprints that are the outstanding discipline of this new high-performance engine.

The pioneering common rail injection system with piezo inline injectors permits up to five separate amounts of fuel to be injected per working cycle, at an injection pressure of 1600 bar. Piezo technology enables considerably smaller and more precisely metered injection quantities. At the same time, the system responds twice as fast as conventional solenoid-valve injectors thanks to the higher speed of the injector needle. This effect is particularly important in maintaining brief intervals and high precision between the separate multiple injection processes, of which there may be up to five.

The fuel is injected into the combustion chamber via eight-hole nozzles. In conjunction with the combustion chamber recess, this results in excellent fuel preparation and consequently in particularly efficient combustion.

These measures result not only in high performance and an enormous torque plateau, but also in low fuel consumption (7.0 litres per 100 kilometres), extremely low emissions and outstanding acoustics. It is especially in this latter area that the new engine undoubtedly represents the new benchmark in this class.

Available as an option: adaptive air suspension

The new A6 Avant – and, at the same time, the A6 saloon – is available with the adaptive air suspension system as featured on the A8 as an optional extra. The combination of air suspension and an electronically controlled damping system produces the perfect synthesis of decidedly sporty handling properties and superb suspension comfort.

A choice of three different characteristics ranging from very sporty to relaxed can be selected via the central Multi Media Interface MMI control element.

The automatic mode represents the perfect all-round setting. At speeds of more than 120 km/h, the body is lowered by 15 millimetres. The change in ride height produces first of all a lower centre of gravity. At motorway speeds, the lower settings in addition reduce drag and therefore fuel consumption. If the driver then slows down to less than 70 km/h, the air suspension raises the vehicle body again to its starting position.

Gentle compression and excellent long-distance comfort are the characteristics of the “comfort” setting. If the “comfort” mode has been selected, speed-dependent lowering of the body at motorway speeds is suppressed.

The performance in the “dynamic” setting is a match for steel-spring sports suspension. In the “dynamic” mode, the car’s ride height is lowered permanently by 15 millimetres.

At low speeds the adaptive air suspension establishes greater ground clearance of 15 millimetres in the lift mode if the driver so wishes. This is an additional bonus on uneven terrain. At road speeds of more than 100 km/h, the vehicle is then automatically lowered to its standard height.

In all selectable ranges, the continuously variable dampers are in addition automatically adapted to the type of road and driving style.

The classic conflict between sportiness and comfort is thus overcome.

The new A6 Avant comes with air spring struts on the front wheels, with the air suspension gaiters arranged concentrically around the infinitely adjustable shock absorbers. The air suspension gaiters consist of a special, multi-layered elastomer material with polyamide to increase strength. The advantage of this design is that the thin-walled and consequently soft-rolling gaiters lend the new A6 Avant excellent rolling properties and make the suspension highly responsive even to minor jolts.

On the rear axle, the air springs and fully controlled dampers are separated from one another. The main advantage of this configuration, as with conventional suspension, is that it allows a large through-loading width and helps to keep the floor in the luggage compartment as low as possible.

The car’s ride height is held constant independent of the load by fully load-bearing air springs at the front and rear.

Thanks to its concept, air suspension provides a number of inherent advantages: the occupants benefit from a constantly smooth ride at all times, regardless of the load the vehicle is carrying. This is because the firmness of the springs adapts to the load situation at all times.

The equipment

Even with the standard specification, the new Audi A6 Avant comes with a level of equipment by no means usual even in the luxury class. And this superiority is immediately borne out by the use of premium materials and the perfect quality of finish.

MMI – Multi Media Interface

The integrated user interface which goes by the name of Multi Media Interface MMI is unparalleled by anything on offer from the competition. This infotainment platform and control concept on the new A6 Avant combines the advantages of simple operation, a perfect position and consistent operating logic.

With MMI having already set the standard in the luxury-class Audi A8, it is now continuing its story of success in the executive segment. As in the Audi A6 saloon before it, the system is available in three different configurations: as MMI basic (standard), MMI basic plus, and MMI.

The Audi A6 Avant comes as standard with MMI basic, featuring the terminal, a 6.5-inch monochrome display, as well as an integrated radio and single-disc CD player. Music output is via a 2×20 Watt amplifier and four loudspeakers in the front doors. Like all radios, the basic system comes with speed-dependent volume control and, thanks to the diversity aerial, excellent radio reception. As well as the radio functions and the broadcasting of traffic information, numerous vehicle functions such as the air conditioning and interior light configuration can be controlled via MMI basic, as on the Audi A8.

On MMI basic plus, available as an optional extra, the radio system of MMI basic can be further upgraded with extra components. A TP memory, for example, is able to record traffic messages lasting up to four minutes. Over and above the basic unit, MMI basic plus comes with a sound system incorporating a total of 10 loudspeakers (three-way combinations at the front and two-way combinations at the rear).

MMI basic plus can also be combined with a CD-based navigation system featuring optical destination guidance using arrow pictograms and additional text information in the driver information system presented exactly in the driver’s line of vision. The system also indicates the route acoustically to the driver. Route planning takes all information provided by TMC traffic radio messaging into account.

Fitted as an option with the full range of features, MMI comes with a 7-inch colour monitor in the new Audi A6 Avant. In addition to the high-quality audio system already featured with MMI basic plus, a double tuner and a six-disc CD changer are included in the radio system.

Yet a further option also available in combination with MMI and MMI basic plus is the all-new BOSE surround sound system, no less than five amplifier channels distributing sound around the listener like in a concert hall – and in the process creating an experience in sound which sets new standards even in the supreme luxury range. The BOSE system provides an equalizer function that adapts the sound output to the speed-dependent level of background noise in the vehicle.

As on the A8, MMI can also be supplied with DVD navigation. A DVD provides more than ten times the storage capacity of a conventional CD-ROM, coupled with a noticeably faster access time. This kind of capacity is able to cover not only the route directions for one country but almost the entire Western European road network on one single data carrier, relieving the driver of the annoying job of changing the CD when crossing borders.

A further advantage is that the navigation system calculates the route much more swiftly than on CD-based systems. This is particularly noticeable during map loading and when using the zoom function. This allows a flowing zooming in and out and enables the map to be moved in all four directions. As an alternative, the navigation system can also be operated using voice control.

Adaptive cruise control

As on the Audi A8, the new A6 Avant, and parallel the saloon, comes as an option with an intelligent “travelling companion”: second generation radar-aided adaptive cruise control that automatically maintains the right distance from the vehicle ahead. Supplementing the optional cruise control function, this system significantly enhances driving convenience by automatically controlling the speed of the car relative to the vehicle ahead and the distance chosen.

A new feature in the latest generation of adaptive cruise control is the fact that the angle recorded by the sensor has doubled, clearly improving the detection range especially on winding country roads. And for the first time, the system can be combined with manual gearboxes.

Hidden discreetly out of sight, the system sensor is fitted behind the trim grille on the coolant air intake. While the car is on the move, it emits radar signals that determine how far ahead the next vehicle is. A computer then establishes whether that distance is increasing or decreasing based on the change compared with the previous measurement, and adjusts the car’s own speed correspondingly by manipulating the accelerator or the brakes.

The Audi development engineers have deliberately limited the intensity of possible acceleration and that of brake intervention and very definitely designed the distance control as a convenience system. The adaptive cruise control system is configured such that when another vehicle that is travelling at a completely different speed is approached, the driver is alerted both visually and acoustically to the need for a conscious, situation-appropriate response. The speed range used by the system is between 30 and 200 km/h.

Adaptive headlights and daytime running lights

As on its saloon counterpart, ultra-advanced innovations are to be found behind the clear-glass covers of the A6 Avant’s headlights: the dynamic technology of adaptive light, and daytime running lights in conjunction with xenon plus technology – a combination not found on any competitor model.

The new A6 Avant, too, comes with light units in Audi’s typical “tube” look. Featuring anthracite-coloured trims, the tubes for the high and low beams appear to hover almost freely in the air, giving the front-end design of the car its very own touch of high-tech.

The headlights on the new A6 Avant come in three different versions: halogen headlights in free-form technology fitted as standard, xenon plus headlights with daytime running lights, and the xenon plus system with the dynamic adaptive light system that “can see” around a bend. It does this by pivoting the ellipsoidal module for the high-beam and low-beam headlights in synchronisation with the line of the road or a bend as the car is being driven. This greatly improves illumination of the road in front of the vehicle and to the sides, making it easier for the driver to anticipate the course of the road ahead.

Exemplary safety as standard

The safety equipment featured as standard in the new-generation A6 is equally impressive. Active safety benefits from the latest-generation ESP with extended features, trailer oscillation logic, emergency braking signalling and considerably enhanced understeering control. ESP with these additional functions is also available on the saloon version.

The emergency braking signalling function alerts vehicles following on behind to potential hazards if the brakes are applied hard.

The trailer oscillation logic identifies dangerous swinging of the trailer and automatically applies the brakes to stabilise the outfit. The understeering control function has also been optimised: when the vehicle understeers, the system no longer brakes just the two wheels on the inside of the bend; the brakes are applied to individual or even to all four wheels simultaneously, depending on the situation. This reduces the radius of the curve and the vehicle is kept reliably on track.

In the event of a collision the car’s occupants are effectively protected by the robust structure of the body with predefined deformation and a highly stable passenger cell. And in conjunction with the seat belts, the front and side airbags as well as the sideguard head airbag system, which covers virtually the entire side window area, afford superior safety and protection for the driver and passengers. Crash tests performed by Audi in accordance with the Euro NCAP criteria confirm that the Avant and the saloon offer the highest standards of occupant protection.

The two full-size front airbags are activated in two stages, depending on the severity of the accident. Active front head restraints fitted as standard help to protect the occupants in a collision from behind.

The new Audi A6 Avant comes as standard with 7×16 inch alloy wheels, running on 205/60 R16 tyres. The particularly high-performance six-cylinder versions (from 132 kW upwards) have forged size 7.5×16-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 tyres, whereas the 4.2 eight-cylinder version comes with 17-inch wheels and 225/50 tyres as standard.

As an option the new Audi A6 Avant is available with a choice of ten different versions of wheel up to 18 inches in diameter and running on tyres up to

245/45 R18. Even in winter, the A6 driver has the choice of three wheel designs of up to 7×17 inches in size and running on 225/50 tyres.

All new Audi A6 Avant models come as standard with the Audi tyre mobility system, but may also be fitted with a spare wheel as an option.

The electromechanical parking brake as well as a light and rain sensor including coming home/leaving home function are further standard fitments.

Another standard feature on all A6 models in the range is two-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning – comprising separate controls for the driver and front passenger – with enhanced output and optimised acoustics, a virtue that cannot be taken for granted even in this segment. Recirculated-air and pollen filters and a sun sensor assure maximum climate comfort. The occupants’ well-being can be further enhanced by the option of deluxe automatic air conditioning plus with indirect ventilation, air humidity and air quality sensors and extended climate control of the rear compartment via air vents in the B-posts.

Conclusions

Powerful TDI and petrol engines with up to eight cylinders and 246 kW (335 bhp) maximum output are the source of the new A6 Avant’s supremacy. Front-wheel or quattro permanent four-wheel drive ensure that the engine’s power is always translated reliably into traction. Power which, thanks to the advanced suspension design and very rigid bodyshell, opens up new horizons in driving dynamics.

The high quality of the materials and finish is typical of Audi interiors. A distinctively sporty flair and ergonomic perfection characterise the interior, and the driving area’s architecture seems to surround and integrate the driver.

The load area of the new A6 Avant likewise radiates sophistication and innovation. An ingenious securing concept with a large number of clever configurations permits an unprecedented level of versatility and variability.

The new Audi A6 Avant will open for UK ordering during the first quarter of 2005, and first deliveries will commence in spring 2005.

(Source: Audi, November 2004)

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