Would someone out there tell the Audi A8 to watch its back? The 2012 Audi A6 is in town, and it lacks little more to match Audi’s flagship sedan than size of motor and size in overall dimensions. The new Audi A6 impresses.
That’s not just from the outside, though the huge Audi “single frame” grille unequivocally announces the presence of the executive sedan from Ingolstadt. The exact shape of the grille varies from model to model. Even the Audi A7 “hatchback” recently tested, same as the A6 back to the B-pillar, has a different face. But the take on the Audi A6 front end is no less business suit than that of its senior partner.
It’s an impressive suit, however, in part for its lightweight aluminum/steel hybrid body and also its aerodynamic efficiency. The 2012 A6’s coefficient of drag is a mere 0.26. Improbable as that is for what is especially a three-box sedan with a gaping grille, it’s largely a result of attention to detail. Audi engineers considered not just airflow around the car but also through the engine compartment.
Audi paid attention to detail inside as well. Known for some of the best interiors in the business, Audi evolved its interior design themes with an asymmetrical treatment of the dash, a subtle wave that pulls the dash slightly towards the front passenger. Our test A6 had a glossy finish to the brunette-colored wood trim, setting off the “Velvet Beige” leather.
The infotainment (it’s a horrible word, we know) features and the Audi MMI control system is almost overwhelming. We were fortunate to have more than an hour of one-on-one instruction on how to navigate it and get the most out of the Google-based attributes, including access to news and weather on the 6.5-inch color screen that slides out and up from the dash when the car is started. Space isn’t available here to tell everything the system can do. Remember, we had an hour-plus tutorial. But the Audi MMI has a consistent logic, and once one gets in touch with one’s inner German engineer, it’s all good.
One novel feature is a touch pad on the center console. The default is an array numerals one through six that can be used for radio presets. In the navigation mode, however, the user can write the address with a fingertip on the pad. Letters will be confirmed on the nav screen. Block letters only, please. It sounds cumbersome, but try it and you’ll be hooked. That time in first grade learning to print block letters will finally pay off.
The navigation system, incidentally, has an optional Google Maps satellite view. We’ve survived lo these many years without an eye-in-the-sky look at our location, but it is helpful in locating where we are relative to buildings and such shown on the screen. Alas, it’s not a real-time view because, you know, Audi doesn’t have its own satellites, and anyway, it does get cloudy occasionally.