The A6 allroad quattro is available with four powerful, longitudinally installed engines, two petrol and two diesel. All four are direct-injection power plants; they come from the leading-edge Audi V-engine family, notable for a compact basic design – a 90° cylinder angle, a distance of 90 millimetres between cylinders, four-valve technology and maintenance-friendly camshaft drive by means of chains. For the petrol engines, mixture preparation is optimised by the continuous adjustment of all four camshafts and a variable intake manifold.
FSI petrol direct injection is also characteristic of the Audi brand. Following numerous victories in the Audi R8 Le Mans racing car, this technology has been introduced on a broad scale in standard production vehicles. The FSI engines, where fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber under a pressure of up to 100 bar, deliver more performance and dynamism than conventional power units with manifold injection – and at the same time achieve excellent fuel economy. This improvement in efficiency illustrates yet again the Audi principle of Vorsprung durch Technik.
The 3.2 FSI develops 188 kW (255 bhp). Its maximum torque is 330 Nm, available at 3,250 rpm. On the version with six-speed manual transmission, the V6 accelerates the A6 allroad quattro to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds and enables it to reach a top speed of 242 km/h.
Values in conjunction with the six-speed tiptronic are 7.7 seconds and 240 km/h. On average the powerful V6 is content with 11.2 (with tiptronic 11.0) litres of fuel per 100 km.
The 4.2 FSI, which is being introduced here for the first time in the A6 model series, has even more power at the ready. The V8 with direct injection musters up 257 kW (350 bhp) and 440 Nm, the latter being available at 3,500 rpm. The masterful eight-cylinder with its sonorous tone is available with tiptronic only. The A6 allroad quattro 4.2 FSI completes the standard sprint in 6.3 seconds and if necessary can accelerate further up to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h.
Its consumption of only 11.2 litres of fuel per 100 km effectively demonstrates the outstanding potential of FSI petrol direct injection made by Audi.
Diesel engines: powerful and efficient
Both V6 diesel engines combine superb efficiency with impressive power and ultimate refinement. The mixture preparation is handled by a latest-generation common rail system which pushes fuel into the combustion chambers at a pressure of up to 1,600 bar. The high injection pressure ensures extremely fine atomisation and therefore particularly precise mixture preparation. Thanks to the rapid-action piezo injectors the control electronics can vary the number of injection processes per cycle within a wide range. On the 3.0 V6 TDI there are up to five injection processes – these drastically reduce noise and exhaust emissions. Particulate filters are fitted as standard in Germany.
The 2.7 TDI develops 132 kW (180 bhp) and 380 Nm. Its maximum torque is available from as low as 1,400 rpm, i.e. just above idling speed. It remains constant up to 3,300 rpm; this high torque guarantees impressive pulling power in practically every situation. The 9.3 seconds needed to sprint up to 100 km/h and the top speed of 215 km/h underline the dynamic character of the diesel engine, which is coupled with the convenience of the six-speed tiptronic. A fuel consumption rate of only 8.7 litres per 100 km illustrates its efficiency.
The 3.0 TDI is available with manual transmission or with the six-speed tiptronic. Across a wide range between 1,400 and 3,250 rpm it applies 450 Nm of torque to the crankshaft; its maximum output has increased to 171 kW (233 bhp). The standard sprint takes only 7.5 seconds (with tiptronic 7.8 s) and it can reach a top speed of 231 km/h (with tiptronic 230 km/h). The mighty TDI is extremely thrifty when it comes to fuel – it uses a mere 8.4 litres (with tiptronic 8.8 l).
Transmission: precise and efficient
The manual versions of the new Audi A6 allroad quattro will take advantage of the ML gearbox generation. The abbreviation stands for the "manual/longitudinal” configuration. This sporty transmission with closely-spaced ratios offers ultimate shifting comfort with short, clearly defined gearshift travel. The resulting reduction in internal friction enhances efficiency.
The six-speed tiptronic is distinguished by its particularly fast gear shifts and by a wide spread of gear ratios – up by 18 per cent on average compared with a five-speed automatic transmission. This means more accelerating power in low gears, thanks to considerably higher starting torques, and a decrease in engine speed in the upper speed range, leading to a reduction in noise levels and fuel consumption.
Traction and agility: quattro drive
quattro permanent four-wheel drive, featured on all A6 allroad quattro models, has a decisive influence on driving characteristics. Its self-locking centre differential operates purely mechanically and so without delay. It splits the drive torque variably between front and rear axle – as a rule 50 % to each; if necessary, up to 75 per cent of the power goes to one axle. On loose terrain the quattro drive provides excellent traction; on the road it ensures sporty agility, a firm grip when accelerating out of bends and maximum driving safety in all types of weather.
The suspension of the A6 allroad quattro combines sporty handling with superior comfort on a high level. Not only the wheelbase has been increased by 76 millimetres compared with the previous model: the front track is also up by 22 to 1,596 millimetres and at the rear it has been increased by 2 to 1,587 millimetres. In addition, weight distribution between front and rear axle has been optimised.
The suspension consists of a highly complex four-link front suspension with a self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear axle, adopted from the Audi A6 and the A8. The essential components are made of aluminium – this is vital to reduce unsprung masses. The servotronic, which is standard, provides power-assisted steering according to vehicle speed – road contact is intense without compromising steering comfort.
The electronically controlled adaptive air suspension, also a standard feature, adds another key dimension to the suspension. It allows the trim height of the body to be altered by up to 61 millimetres, both automatically – depending on speed – and manually via the MMI terminal. The control unit automatically adjusts the control characteristics of the adaptive shock absorbers, taking into consideration the type of road surface and style of driving.
For any situation: five driving modes
The five driving modes are known as dynamic, automatic, comfort, allroad and lift. In the dynamic mode, which is the equivalent of a sports suspension, the body is lowered to a ground clearance of 125 mm. This achieves even more dynamic handling and also reduces drag and consequently fuel consumption. In the automatic mode, the body is raised by 15 mm to 140 mm but is lowered again to the dynamic level if the vehicle is driven for some distance at a speed of over 120 km/h. If the comfort mode has been selected, lowering of the body is suppressed.
The allroad mode provides a ground clearance of 175 mm; from 80 km/h and again at 120 km/h, the body is lowered by 15 mm and by a further 20 mm respectively. In the manually selected lift mode, the body hovers 185 mm above the ground to negotiate rough terrain at slow speeds. Should a speed of 35 km/h be exceeded, the control unit switches to the allroad mode.
The substantial ground clearance means that the Audi A6 allroad quattro is able to assert itself on rough gravel roads or on snow-covered mountain passes. As an option, 245/45 R 18 all-terrain tyres are available, together with a reinforced engine underguard. The stabilisation program ESP, now in its eighth generation, has been enhanced to include special functions for use off-road. In the so-called offroad mode, which is activated by pressing the ESP button in the cockpit, stabilising intervention takes place later – forward propulsion takes priority.
To match its high-performance engines, all versions of the new A6 allroad quattro are equipped with a powerful brake system. Even the entry-level engines are provided with a 16-inch system; the 4.2 FSI has a 17-inch brake system. If the brakes are applied hard, the hazard warning lights are switched on automatically.