Audi officially took the wraps off its 2012 Audi A6, and judging by the styling and spec sheet, this car should put some heat on other mid-size luxury sedans. With redesigned competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series and the Infiniti M being introduced over the last year, the new A6 definitely has its work cut out for it. The 2012 Audi A6 will most likely get a worldwide debut in January at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, but Audi has already said the new sedan will go on sale in early 2011 - although it probably won't reach dealerships in the United States until later in the year or possibly even early 2012.
Styling for the new A6 was obviously inspired by the all-new Audi A8 and Audi A7 Sportback with harder lines and a more elegant design, while the short overhangs help to give the car a sportier stance. The roofline, greenhouse and profile are all essentially the same as the previous design, but this new A6 definitely has a more aggressive look thanks to the scalloped headlights with LED daytime running lights, sporty front fascia, broad shoulder lines and wheels similar in design to the Audi R8 V-10. From the rear, the new A6 has a decklid that hints at the A7 Sportback with its downward angle and integrated spoiler while the narrow, horizontal LED taillights also add to the sporty look. In terms of its size, the new A6 will have about the same dimensions as the current model, but giving the longer wheelbase and wider stance help make the car look more athletic than its predecessor. For an even better look, though, Audi will offer the 2012 A6 with the S-line package.
The new Audi A6 will receive a stylish cabin that shares some similarities with the new A8 cabin including the pop-out navigation screen and the innovative Touchpad Controller. In addition to this touch pad, the A6 cabin will also offer high-tech options such as heads-up display, wireless Internet and a powerful Bang & Olufsen audio system. For the driver, the cabin will offer an elegant, wrap-around cockpit with a sporty three-spoke steering wheel. The 2012 A6 will have cloth seats as standard equipment with leather and Alcantara as options, and if these seats don't meet the particular needs of the driver, optional comfort and sport seats will also be available. The comfort seats give the front passengers 18-way control along with heating and cooling elements and massage functions, while the sport seats provide better side bolstering and extending thigh supports for sportier driving. Although Audi has yet to release any passenger dimensions, it has released the cargo capacity which has grown considerably from 15.9 cubic feet up to 18.7 cubic feet.
Audi plans to offer five engine options in most markets, but U.S. customers will likely have just the current 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine from which to choose. This engine will come standard with the seven-speed, dual-clutch S tronic transmission and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. The fuel-efficient TDI diesel engine probably won't make it to U.S. showrooms, but eventually the Audi A6 Hybrid will be introduced although Audi has yet to announce an official launch date. This hybrid drive system can operate at speeds up to 62 miles per hour under all-electric power for about two miles, and it should give the big sedan impressive fuel economy numbers. The new A6 will share its underpinnings with the recently introduced Audi A7, and the body will be constructed of lightweight aluminum and high-strength steel for better rigidity and weight savings. Audi says that the extensive use of aluminum (such as the fenders, hood, doors and decklid) helps to shave 15 percent off the weight of the car compared to conventional steel.
No word yet as to when Audi plans to offer other versions of the new A6 such as the A6 Avant or the S6, but these will probably be available shortly after the car's initial launch. Pricing for the 2012 A6 should stay somewhat in line with the 2011 model, which has a starting MSRP of $45,200.