Audi at the Geneva Motor Show will showcase its 2007 Audi A6 Allroad - an upgraded version of its A6 wagon designed for off-road use. Similar to the Volvo XC70, the Allroad features increased ride height, more aggressive tires, plastic cladding for increased durability, and skidplates under the body
The car was first previewed with the Audi Allroad Concept in early 2005. Today’s announcement is the second of three expected from the German automaker. On Tuesday, the company announced the 2007 RS4 convertible and wagon. What is the third mystery announcement? Some believe it will be the Audi S3, while others expect to see the new TT.
The new A6 allroad quattro faithfully perpetuates the design evolution of the brand. Its lines blend the light, elegant Audi architecture exemplified by the A6 Avant with new, bold styling elements taken from the off-road segment. Even the basic proportions have a classic flair, with the low window strip and the distinctly coupé-like roofline that slopes down gradually at the rear. The outline of the body is traced by three lines which inject it with a dynamic spirit and that added forward urge.
The shoulder line arches upwards gently from the front wing, before running down the flanks of the body as an eye-catching light-refracting edge and ending at the rear lights. The inverse arch traced by the dynamic line flows out from the bottom of the front bumper. It runs rearwards above the door sill edges and finally wraps round the tail as a bumper edge to outline the body from front to rear.
Finally, the V-bonnet line also originates in the front bumper before continuing over the bonnet and merging into the roofline. It terminates in the upwards-pointing separation edge atop the tailgate, rounding off the sporty silhouette.
The intricate interplay between concave and convex arcs, between positively and negatively curved surfaces, adds a further dimension to the design of the A6 allroad quattro. It emphasises the stimulating interplay of light and shadow which keeps adding new facets to the design as the viewing angle changes.
The special off-road styling elements which make the Audi A6 allroad quattro truly stand out include the stainless steel underride protector beneath the engine that highlights the vehicle’s robust nature with its solid looks. To accommodate the underride protector, the prominent single-frame grille has been slightly reduced in height. The licence plate holder has been reduced in size to the extent that the licence plate now appears to be floating in mid-air. Depending on the market, Audi adapts the size of the holder to match the local licence plate format.
The vertical bars of the grille are trimmed with chromed strips, while the bumpers have also undergone restyling. They are painted in a contrasting matt colour as standard and are available in a body-coloured matt finish as an option. New, flat intake slits beneath the radiator grille direct even greater quantities of air to the engine. Visible behind the clear-glass lenses on either side is the very latest in headlight technology: as an option, the new A6 allroad quattro can be specified with the adaptive light dynamic cornering light system, incorporating high-intensity xenon plus headlight units and daytime running lights.
When seen side on, the eye is immediately drawn to the striking roof rails which are made from aluminium and rest on four supports. The enlarged heated exterior mirrors, which adjust and retract electrically, provide an extra-wide field of vision. At the bottom of the vehicle’s flanks, the dynamic line is accentuated by sturdy door strips in a contrasting colour, which can be specified in aluminium too on request. Additional sill panelling conveys an impression of tremendous power, as do the flared wheel arches. Both elements are painted in a matt finish, either in a contrasting colour or optionally in the same colour as the body.
Depending on the engine, the wheel arches house wheels measuring 17 or 18 inches in diameter which come in three special designs – a 7-arm rotor design, 10-spoke design and 5-arm "Aero" design. The tyres are slightly larger in diameter than those on the A6 Avant, automatically giving the Audi A6 allroad quattro a higher-set appearance.
The muscular rear end of the Audi A6 allroad quattro can be identified by its wide track and the visible exhaust tailpipes, which are 88 millimetres in diameter on the V8 FSI. An aluminium-look trim strip in the vicinity of the bumper adds a glittering touch, while a stainless steel underride protector also gleams out from underneath the vehicle floor. Like its counterpart at the front end, the rear bumper comes painted in a contrasting matt colour as standard or can be specified in a body-coloured matt finish as an option. If the adaptive light dynamic cornering light system is specified at the front, an attractive LED unit for the brake and tail lights will be incorporated into the rear light clusters.
There is a choice of ten smart paint finishes for the A6 allroad quattro. One of them – Condor Grey – is reserved for the new model and the Audi Q7 . In the second half of 2006, Polar Blue will become available as an eleventh colour that will be exclusive to the A6 allroad quattro.
Supreme sportiness, luxurious comfort and ergonomic perfection are the order of the day for the cockpit in the new Audi A6 allroad quattro. The fine lines and forms together with the colour scheme convey an impression of supreme quality and harmonious aesthetics. The first taste of this is provided by the new aluminium door sill trim inscribed with the "allroad quattro" lettering. The door sill trim comprises three sections, with the blend of highly polished, brushed and matt surfaces producing a fascinating effect.
New two-tone, hard-wearing Fresco carpeting covers the floor inside the A6 allroad quattro. Four interior colours are available to choose from, including the new paranut brown and cardamom beige, which can be combined with six seat fabrics and five inlays.
The sports seats have a two-tone design. The range of inlays includes the familiar Walnut brown, Walnut mid-brown matt finish and Fine grain birch wood beige wood panelling as well as the new standard material, Aluminium Axial, and the new optional inlay Californian Vavona wood assam grey (standard on the top-of-the-range 4.2 FSI). The sports seats are finished in a two-colour look.
A joint cover connects the instrument cluster with the upper part of the centre console, which is angled slightly towards the driver, to form a single unit. The high, wide centre console, with controls and switches within perfect reach, emphasises the sporty interior architecture that integrates the driver as the central player. The instrument cluster echoes the styling in the A6, as does the overall cockpit. The instrument cluster distinctive teardrop-shaped surround allows the coolant temperature and fuel gauges to be positioned on the outside next to the rev counter and speedometer dials.
The latest generation of Audi steering wheels from the A6 now make their debut in the new A6 allroad quattro too. The centrepiece of the three and four-spoke steering wheels is the unmistakable form of the trapezoid-shaped grille with the four rings.
The skeleton of the steering wheels is made from diecast magnesium, a material that combines extremely low weight with high strength. As an alternative to the standard leather-wrapped rim, customers can also opt for a fine-wood variant. All versions of the steering wheel can be ordered as an option with multifunction buttons and, on tiptronic models, with shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. The four-spoke multifunction steering wheel is also available with an optional heated rim.
The electromechanical parking brake fitted in the Audi A8 and A6 was also the engineers’ choice for the Audi A6 allroad quattro. The inclusion of this technology opens up extra styling scope for the design team. Doing away with the conventional handbrake lever permits a more freehanded console and armrest design that results in an extremely practical, ergonomic layout.
Positioned behind the gear lever within comfortable reach of the driver’s hand is the operating terminal for the MMI system. This is the user interface with which Audi is now also offering an infotainment platform and operating concept for the new A6 allroad quattro that combine ease of operation with perfect positioning and a consistent inner logic. As confirmed by the numerous tests conducted by the motoring press, the intuitive operation of the MMI system is markedly superior to the solutions used by Audi’s competitors.
MMI in the first instance comprises the terminal in the centre console with a large control button that can be turned and pressed. The softkeys arranged around the control button have specific control functions in the various menus.
On either side of the terminal there are a total of up to eight function keys with which the user can call up the most important main menus directly, as well as the Return key for exiting the menu level. The functions are subdivided logically into four groups: the Entertainment sub-group comprises the RADIO and CD/TV functions, the Communication sub-group is made up of TEL and NAME (address book for telephone numbers and navigation functions). NAV and INFO (for traffic information) form the Information group; CAR and SETUP are the Control group.
The second central MMI component, the MMI display, is located at the top end of the centre console exactly in the driver’s line of vision. The basic screen layout corresponds exactly to the arrangement of the controls on the MMI terminal, permitting an intuitive association between the on-screen display and the driver’s hand movements. The MMI system is available for the A6 allroad quattro in three different configurations: MMI basic (standard), MMI basic plus and the full MMI version.
Even in standard guise, the Audi A6 allroad quattro comes 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 2x20 watt amplifier and two-way speakers in the front doors. Even the basic system comes with speed-dependent volume control and excellent radio reception courtesy of the diversity aerial. Furthermore, numerous vehicle functions such as interior light configuration, the deluxe automatic air conditioning and various warning signals can be controlled via the MMI basic terminal. The terminal itself is networked with the vehicle electronics via a high-speed MOST bus, allowing it to take care of a whole series of checking functions.
The audio system can be upgraded to include additional components by opting for the more sophisticated MMI basic plus version. A TP memory function, for example, is able to record traffic announcements lasting up to four minutes. Sound reproduction is the task of an advanced 6-channel sound system incorporating a total of ten speakers (two three-way combination speakers at the front and a pair of two-way combination speakers at the rear).
On top of this, MMI basic plus can also be combined with a CD-based navigation system featuring visual route guidance using arrow pictograms and additional text information displayed directly in the driver’s line of vision in the driver information system. Destinations may be entered directly or, for added convenience, from the MMI address book.
Route planning takes all information on tailbacks and any warnings provided by TMC traffic radio messaging into account.
In the deluxe full-specification version, MMI comes with a 7-inch colour monitor in the new Audi A6 allroad quattro. In addition to the high-quality audio system already featured with MMI basic plus, a double tuner and a six-disc CD changer are also included as standard. A further option available in combination with MMI and MMI basic plus is the surround sound system from US audio specialists BOSE that promises a new dimension in listening pleasure: no fewer than eight amplifier channels distribute the sound around the listener for a true concert-hall experience. The system also adapts dynamically to the vehicle’s background noise levels with the help of the BOSE AudioPilot®, enabling it to provide optimum sound in all situations.
As an option, MMI can be expanded to include a DVD-based navigation system. A DVD provides more than ten times the storage capacity of a conventional CD-ROM. This is enough to fit almost the entire Western European road network on a single disc, meaning that the driver no longer has to change the CD when crossing borders.
The quicker access times also mean that the navigation system calculates the route much more swiftly than CD-based systems. This allows the user to smoothly zoom in and out or quickly move the map in any direction. Destinations and route options are entered in the conventional way via a menu in the MMI. As an alternative, the navigation system can also be operated using the optional speech control system. A TV tuner may also be added on request.
The Audi parking system advanced, a sophisticated visual parking aid which works based on a rear-view camera, is yet another high-tech feature that can be found in the list of optional extras. The ultra-light-sensitive camera is integrated into the tailgate’s handle and has a wide angle of coverage of up to 130 degrees. Its rectified image appears in the MMI display.
When reverse parking, the system indicates the correct course to take dynamically using various guidance lines and fields. In the case of parallel parking, for instance, the areas highlighted in blue indicate the space required by the
A6 allroad quattro. Blue lines show the driver when to apply full lock and counter-lock. When a perpendicular parking manoeuvre is called for, orange lines indicate the correct course. The camera’s image also shows the rear bumper and a trailer hitch, if fitted, allowing the vehicle to be guided beneath a trailer drawbar with pinpoint precision.
The Audi A6 allroad quattro comes as standard with deluxe automatic air conditioning featuring a recirculation and pollen filter as well as a sun sensor. Temperatures may be set separately for the driver and front passenger, and there are air vents on the back of the centre tunnel for passengers in the rear.
Even greater comfort and well-being is available by opting for the deluxe automatic air conditioning plus system (standard on the 4.2 FSI). This system uses a temperature sensor that can gauge the position of the sun, an air quality sensor and a humidity sensor to analyse the specific climatic conditions inside the car. The centre vent comes with separate temperature control allowing, for example, warm air to be directed at the side windows through the side vents to prevent them from misting over and cool air to be supplied at head level through the centre vent. Perforated grilles at the top of the dashboard allow the occupants to enjoy practically draught-free ventilation. and there are additional ventilation louvres in the B-pillars for the rear.
Standard and Optional Equipment
The standard-specification equipment level closely reflects the premium nature of the new A6 allroad quattro. Aluminium door sill trims and inlays inside the car (in Vavona wood on the 4.2 FSI) speak volumes of the brand’s great attention to detail. The seats are upholstered in Taurus cloth, the rear seat has an asymmetrically split folding backrest. The range-topping 4.2 FSI model comes with electrically adjustable seats including a centre armrest, all upholstered in Milano leather.
Deluxe automatic air conditioning with separate temperature controls for driver and front passenger ensures high levels of comfort and convenience. The 4.2 FSI leaves the factory equipped with deluxe automatic air conditioning plus including a whole host of extra functions. The Multi Media Interface "MMI basic", comprising not only the 6.5-inch monochrome display, but also an integrated radio with CD player and speakers, boasts an operating logic whose intuitive design is still unsurpassed by the competition. Front fog lights, a light and rain sensor as well as a headlight washer system make up part of the standard specification too, with the 4.2 FSI adding the driver information system and an anti-theft alarm system for good measure.
The electromechanical parking brake serves both as a starting aid with automatic release of the brakes and as an emergency braking function. The latest-generation electronic stabilisation program incorporates a brake assist function plus a special "off-road" mode. The six-cylinder models ride on 17-inch light-alloy wheels with size 225/55 R 17 tyres and the 4.2 FSI comes complete with 18-inch wheels shod with size 245/45 R 18 tyres.
quattro permanent four-wheel drive, the adaptive air suspension system with its high maximum ground clearance, along with the speed-sensitive servotronic power steering, mean that the A6 allroad quattro can continue to display its expert capabilities far away from tarmac roads. Once there, the bodywork is protected by the add-on parts along the vehicle’s flanks and the stainless steel underride protectors at the front and rear.
Sporty and active customers will quickly come to appreciate the double load floor with dirt-resistant tray. The securing rails and adjustable fastening rings together with the aluminium roof rails round off the versatile character of the Audi A6 allroad quattro.
In Germany, the 3.2 FSI costs €50,600, while the 2.7 TDI is priced at €47,600 and the 3.0 TDI at €50,600, with both diesel models including a diesel particulate filter. When the new A6 allroad quattro first goes on sale, the two diesel models and the 3.2 FSI model will be available immediately, all with 6-speed tiptronic. These will be followed shortly afterwards by the 6-speed manual versions of the V6 petrol and 3.0 TDI models, together with the 4.2 FSI.
The selection of optional extras for the A6 allroad quattro also leaves nothing to be desired. A personal touch can be added to the exterior design by opting for the full paint finish, which adds body-coloured bumpers, flared wheel arches and door sill panelling in a matt finish. Further visual highlights include the aluminium trim for the window surrounds and the door strips as well as the aluminium-look roof rails. The optional full paint finish also includes the aluminium styling package, which can in addition be ordered as an optional extra.
A range of interior colours, leather and cloth upholsteries and inlays offer ample scope for transforming every A6 allroad quattro into an unmistakable, one-of-a-kind specimen. A lighting package can be added for discreet illumination of the centre console, the footwells and the door exit area.
The standard MMI basic system can be upgraded to either MMI basic plus or MMI. The system can also be expanded by the addition of extra individual components, including a TV tuner, a speech control system, a DVD navigation system and the camera-aided Audi parking system advanced.
For the ultimate in listening pleasure there is the BOSE surround sound system. The hands-free car phone is linked up to the MMI system by Bluetooth technology.
The optional sports seats for the front, which are also available in an electrically adjustable version, offer excellent support and comfort while the deluxe automatic air conditioning plus system (standard on 4.2 FSI) enhances the well-being of all passengers.
Enhanced visibility is available in the form of the adaptive light system including xenon plus technology. The dynamic cornering light is able to illuminate the way ahead on twisty stretches of road thanks to its pivoting headlights. The xenon plus package also includes daytime running lights and LED brake lights.
The "advanced key" system acts as an electronic access and authorisation system. An electronic pulse generator is incorporated into the key which communicates with the vehicle. The engine can either be started by pressing the starter switch on the centre console or in the conventional way by turning the key in the ignition.
Luggage and sports equipment also travels first class in the new Audi A6 allroad quattro. Numerous ingenious solutions are available to give the roomy luggage compartment even greater versatility– a telescopic bar, for instance, or a retaining strap, cycle rack or storage box. A load-through hatch including ski bag accommodates longer items and the electrically operated tailgate opens and closes at the touch of a button.
18-inch wheels and tyres are optionally available for the six-cylinder models and special 18-inch all-terrain tyres for all engine versions. Any customer wishes that are not already covered by the broad choice of optional extras can be addressed to quattro GmbH, whose "exclusive" programme offers virtually limitless scope for customisation.
A total of four power units are available for the new A6 allroad quattro – two petrol and two TDI engines, each installed longitudinally. High reserves of power and muscular torque are common to all four engines, which stem from Audi’s state-of-the-art family of V-engines. These are designed around a cylinder angle of 90 degrees and cylinder spacing of 90 millimetres for an extremely compact basic layout. Further characteristics shared by the four powerplants include the maintenance-free chain drive for the camshafts and the low-friction valve gear using roller-type cam followers.
Continuous adjustment of all four camshafts and a variable intake manifold optimise mixture preparation in the two petrol engines – both of these techniques pave the way for high power combined with beefy torque. The cylinder blocks are made from light alloys, ensuring that both petrol units are amongst the lightest on the market – a key advantage which directly benefits the overall weight of the Audi A6 allroad quattro and its axle load distribution.
Two V6 diesel engines with displacements of 3.0 and 2.7 litres which made their debut in the A6 will be available for the new A6 allroad quattro, too. The two engines both use four valves per cylinder and are part of Audi’s new V-generation line-up. Featuring a chain drive for the camshaft and oil pump, they boast extremely compact dimensions.
The engines measure just 444 mm in length, while the 3.0 TDI unit weighs in at a mere 219 kg, making it one of the lightest diesel engines in its class. This is largely down to the use of an ultra-high-tech material for the cylinder blocks: high-strength vermicular-graphite cast iron.
To ensure an optimum throughput of air, the turbochargers in the two V6 diesel power units work on the principle of variable turbine geometry. Mixture preparation is the task of a latest-generation common-rail system, featuring a high-pressure pump and a rail for each bank of cylinders. The high injection pressure of as much as 1,600 bar results in even finer atomisation of the fuel, meaning superior mixture preparation and more efficient combustion.
The 3.2 FSI boasts all the same credentials of an ultra-modern engine that can be found in the V8. And, just like its larger sibling, it too has been designed for maximum space efficiency. Measuring only 360 mm in length and 430 mm in width, and weighing a mere 169.5 kg thanks to its aluminium construction, the engine offers tangible benefits in terms of handling characteristics. The cylinder bore of 84.5 mm and stroke of 92.8 mm – precisely the same dimensions as on the V8 FSI – add up to an overall engine capacity of 3,123 cc.
Fine-tuning of the exhaust system produces a distinctly sporty, classic V6 sound that is never intrusive however, making the qualities of the engine a truly sensory experience for the driver. The V6 power unit offers instantaneous throttle response and races all the way up to the red line at 7,200 rpm with consummate ease.
The 3.2 FSI delivers its maximum output of 188 kW (255 bhp) at 6,500 rpm; its peak torque of 330 Nm is available at just 3,250 rpm. Over 90 percent of the engine’s maximum torque is continuously available across a wide rev range from 2,400 to 5,500 rpm – an unprecedented characteristic for a naturally aspirated V6.
Partnered by the 6-speed manual gearbox, the V6 power unit catapults the A6 allroad quattro to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 242 km/h. Average fuel consumption is 11.0 litres of premium-grade fuel per 100 km, providing yet further evidence of the capabilities of the FSI technology. The corresponding figures for the 6-speed tiptronic transmission are 7.7 seconds, 240 km/h and also 11.0 litres per 100 km
With a capacity of 4,163 cc, the V8 FSI power unit that is now making its debut in the A6 range is derived from the engine in the Audi Q7 and is also a close relation of the powerplant which can be found under the bonnet of the mighty Audi RS 4. The reduction in the maximum rev speed means that the version in the A6 allroad quattro delivers 257 kW/350 bhp at 6,800 rpm. Torque, on the other hand, is even more abundant than in the RS 4, peaking at 440 Nm at 3,500 rpm. 85 percent of maximum torque is on tap as low down as 2,000 rpm.
The V8 engine’s cylinder block is based on a bedplate structure, where all of the crankshaft bearings are held together in a subframe for extra reinforcement. The crankcase is cast from an aluminium/silicon alloy, with the pistons sliding along the hard silicon crystals inside the cylinder liners. There is no need to insert separate liners allowing the use of bore bridges that are just 5.5 mm wide, a low overall weight and an overall length of just 464 mm.
The four camshafts are driven by a low maintenance double-stage chain drive consisting of three simplex roller chains. It is fitted in a space-saving location on the rear face of the engine, reducing the overall length by a whole 52 mm. A fourth chain drives the ancillaries.
The V8 power unit features a two-stage variable intake manifold made of magnesium. Two high-pressure pumps driven by the intake camshafts feed the petrol to two interconnected stainless steel rails. The petrol is then injected directly into the combustion chambers via the injector valves. The entire process is managed by a single control unit from Bosch – the Motronic MED 9.1.1, one of the most sophisticated units on the international market.
The prodigious power reserves of the V8 FSI unit bestow the new Audi A6 allroad quattro with performance on a par with a sports car. The sprint from standstill to 100 km/h is over in a fleeting 6.3 seconds; top speed is limited to 250 km/h. The sublime V8 is available exclusively in conjunction with tiptronic.
Thanks to the super-efficient FSI technology, consumption is just 11.2 litres of Super Plus per 100 km; the V8 will also run on premium unleaded petrol, albeit with a slight loss of power. It goes without saying that the V8 FSI engine meets the EU4 emissions standard. Two close-coupled multi-stage catalytic converters are integrated into the exhaust system in a compact manifold/catalytic converter module. Tubular sheet-metal manifolds with air-gap insulation are designed for extra-fast activation of the catalytic converters, ensuring that exhaust emission control starts as quickly as possible after the engine has been switched on.
A veritable powerhouse is available for the A6 allroad quattro in the guise of the 3.0 TDI. Delivering 171 kW/233 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 450 Nm, this diesel unit is able to call upon vast reserves of output and torque from its capacity of 2,967 cc. Maximum torque is available from a mere 1,400 rpm, giving the driver phenomenal pulling power throughout the rev range.
For optimum charging of the cylinder under all operating conditions, the engine has a turbocharger which is accommodated inside the "vee" to make the best use of the available space. Two intercoolers running in parallel reduce the temperature of the intake air drastically, further optimising cylinder charging. The high-speed glow plugs in the combustion chambers are designed to operate in extreme cold, heating up to a temperature of 1,000 degrees within the space of just two seconds.
The exhaust gas is purified by a close-coupled preliminary catalytic converter – located close to the turbocharger – and the main underfloor converter. As a result of all these measures, the A6 allroad quattro 3.0 TDI comfortably undercuts the limits imposed by the EU4 emissions standard. As on the 2.7 TDI, a diesel particulate filter is included as standard in Germany.
The Audi A6 allroad quattro 3.0 TDI is available with a choice of a 6-speed manual gearbox and the 6-speed tiptronic transmission. It covers the standard 0 100 km/h sprint in just 7.5 seconds (with tiptronic 7.8 s); top speed is 231 km/h (with tiptronic 230 km/h). The mighty diesel exercises extreme restraint when it comes to its fuel consumption however, requiring just 8.4 litres per 100 km (tiptronic: 8.8 l).
Fun yet economical, refined and ecological: the 2.7 TDI is an extremely gifted all-round talent. It also lists high output and abundant torque amongst its strengths, and combines them with excellent fuel efficiency.
Reducing the stroke by 8.3 mm to 83.1 mm whilst leaving the bore unchanged at 83.0 mm results in an overall swept volume of 2,698 cc. The vital performance statistics read as follows: an output of 132 kW (180 bhp) across an engine speed range of 3,300 to 4,250 rpm and a peak torque of 380 Nm available from just 1,400 rpm all the way up to 3,300 rpm – as far as the driver is concerned, this translates into remarkable power in virtually any situation. The highly refined acoustics are just another of the 2.7 TDI’s many virtues.
The time of just 9.3 seconds for the sprint from standstill to 100 km/h testifies to the dynamism of the 2.7-litre diesel model; the fuel consumption figure of 8.7 litres per 100 km bears witness to its fuel efficiency. The 2.7 TDI engine is coupled with the silky smooth 6-speed tiptronic transmission.
We talked about FSI. But what does it stand for? The name FSI denotes Audi’s petrol direct injection technology where, in contrast to the conventional system of injecting fuel into the intake manifold, the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chambers. The superior thermodynamics of this method enhance the engine’s overall efficiency.
FSI engines develop more power and dynamism than conventional units with indirect manifold injection – and they do so whilst achieving a very high standard of fuel economy at the same time. By boosting efficiency in this way, Audi has once again demonstrated the brand’s proverbial "Vorsprung durch Technik".
In June 2001, Audi’s direct petrol injection technology confirmed its tremendous potential in what must be the most challenging endurance test in the world when an FSI power unit propelled the Audi R8 prototype sports car to an impressive overall victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours. This success was followed by numerous further victories over the next four years.
The FSI engines from Audi combine petrol direct injection with a newly developed, demand-controlled single-piston high-pressure pump for each bank of cylinders. This pump feeds exactly the right quantity of fuel into the system to attain the operating pressure of between 30 and 100 bar in the common rail. In the intake tract, which includes the two-stage variable intake manifold, charge motion flaps swirl the air intake to produce a fast, tumbling motion.
In this way a homogeneous fuel-air mixture with a lambda ratio of one is formed in the combustion chambers. Injecting the fuel directly also has the effect of cooling the chambers, thereby reducing the tendency to knock. This gave the development team sufficient scope to raise the basic compression ratio to 12.5:1 in both V engines, compared to a ratio of around 10.5:1 for indirect-injection engines.
The result is a more efficient combustion process resulting in higher power delivery, that translates first and foremost into more spontaneous response. The FSI units demonstrate another of their fortes in the frequently used partial throttle range where they burn less fuel than an indirect-injection engine.
The manual versions of the new Audi A6 allroad quattro – the 3.2 FSI and the 3.0 TDI – come with the ML generation of transmissions, the initials ML identifying them as "manual/longitudinal". This transmission with its sporty, close ratios offers short, crisp and supremely smooth gearshifts. A special mount for the selector forks effectively isolates the gear lever from driveline vibrations, while a raft of further measures raise overall efficiency by reducing internal friction.
The 6-speed tiptronic automatic transmission is available for all of the engines in the Audi A6 allroad quattro range, and is even fitted as standard on the 2.7 V6 TDI and 4.2 V8 FSI models. This transmission converts the engines’ power potential into a matchless blend of dynamic performance and delightful ease of use. Compared with its five-speed predecessor, the new six-speed transmission is 8 kilograms lighter with an overall weight of just 120 kilograms.
Again compared with the previous five-speed automatic transmission, the gear ratio spread has widened by 22 percent. This means sharper acceleration in the lower gears as well as a clear reduction in engine speed, and consequently a reduction in both noise level and fuel consumption, at high speeds.
The tiptronic control bears the name DSP (dynamic shift program). The lightning-fast gear changes and flexible gearshift strategy add sporting flair, as does the double-declutching initiated by the engine management during downshifts. With the selector lever in position D and when the S sport program is engaged, the electronics are programmed to respond to parameters such as lateral and longitudinal acceleration as well as to movement of the accelerator pedal. This helps to prevent any unwanted upshifts when cornering.
The quattro permanent four-wheel drive system, a standard feature common to all of the A6 allroad quattro models, is the very technology that has secured Audi its decisive status as technological leader for over quarter of a century now. quattro transforms the motoring experience, ensuring sure-footed traction and cornering and serving as a solid basis for dynamic handling and an extremely high degree of directional stability in all weathers.
At the heart of the quattro four-wheel drive in the new A6 allroad quattro is once again a self-locking centre differential. Operation of the differential is purely mechanical, meaning response is instantaneous. Its locking action is only prompted when the throttle is open; differences in rotational speed are tolerated when the brakes are applied and when cornering. Power is generally split 50:50 between the front and rear axles but, if necessary, up to 75 per cent of drive torque can be diverted to either axle.
Despite its imposing dimensions, the new Audi A6 allroad quattro is nevertheless significantly smaller than the Audi Q7 performance SUV. It measures 4,934 millimetres long, 1,862 mm wide and, depending on the setting of the standard adaptive air suspension, between 1,459 and 1,519 mm high.
Compared with its predecessor, the new model is noticeably larger, with an extra 124 mm of length and 10 mm of width. The new A6 allroad quattro is available exclusively in Avant guise.
Torsional rigidity has been boosted by over 34 percent – an increase that bears clear testimony to the diligent work carried out by the Audi engineers. This extra strength makes its presence felt in terms of both superior vibration comfort and driving dynamics. The minimised vibration amplitudes are one of the key factors behind the excellent interior acoustics of the new A6 allroad quattro.
The systematic use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength sheet steel has made it possible to reinforce the structural components that are essential for ensuring a high level of stability. The inclusion of lightweight aluminium components such as panels and extruded profiles, on the other hand, has helped to save a considerable amount of weight. The A6 allroad quattro 3.2 FSI, for example, tips the scales at just 1,760 kilograms.
As on the predecessor, sheet aluminium proved to be the ideal material for the bonnet and front wings. Aluminium can also be used, however, on structural components that are subject to only moderate loads, such as the front panel of the radiator tank. The extruded aluminium profiles that have been added to the side sills help to reinforce the passenger cell.
The front roof frame has a hybrid structure, made from a combination of steel and plastic.
Tailored blanks, which are plates with varying wall thickness, or the closely related tailored rolled blanks are used at points subject to particularly high loads, such as the suspension strut cross-members or the front longitudinal members.
The various components are connected to one another using a range of different techniques: apart from conventional spot welding, rivets, spot welding combined with bonding, laser welding and soldering as well as MIG welding help to produce a lasting, solid connection. Each technology corresponds to the exact requirements at the point it is used.
One of Audi’s fundamental objectives in developing every model is to make the passenger cell extremely rigid. After all, this is the basic structure serving as the foundation for all of the car’s restraint systems and their protective effect.
One of the most important aspects to consider when designing this cell is behaviour in a frontal impact, as this is by far the most common type of impact in accident statistics.
This presents the body development engineers with two main tasks: first, to convert kinetic energy into deformation energy absorbed by body components and secondly, to ensure that this energy does not even reach the passenger cell, which must be made as robust as possible.
In a frontal crash, intelligent up-front sensors behind the radiator grille interact with other sensors and control units, before alerting the central control unit that the car has been involved in an impact within just a few thousandths of a second. The belt tensioners are then ignited just a few milliseconds later in order to minimise any possible belt slack. Once the loads acting on the belts have reached a certain limit, a belt force limiter feeds out additional belt length, allowing the occupants to "fall" into the airbag once it has inflated.
The full-size front airbags are activated in two stages: in the first stage – activated in low-speed impacts – the forces acting on the occupants are kept at a low level. At higher speeds, the second stage is triggered in order to utilise the full safety potential of the front airbags.
The particular position chosen for numerous elements, such as the air conditioning, control units, the ignition lock and key, is also an integral part of the car’s safety concept. All hard components have been moved away from critical impact areas where they might harm the occupants; other areas such as the footwells are cushioned by extensive padding.
The safety steering column comes with a double telescoping function, in other words it is – like the pedals – isolated from any intrusions from the front end of the car. A force limiter at the steering column mounting additionally ensures that the steering column will yield in response to impact with the driver’s chest, causing the steering wheel to move down to prevent injury.
In a frontal crash at low speed, there is no need for the airbags to be triggered. In such cases, all of the energy is absorbed by the bumper system, avoiding the need for expensive repairs to the welded body structure behind. Thanks to the precise deformation of the bumper, even the wings remain unharmed in a head-on collision at 15 km/h. Clearly, these are features that insurance companies welcome and duly reward with a particularly favourable insurance premium.
Unlike the front end of the car, there is only minimal deformation travel available at the side for absorbing energy. Only a particularly high degree of strength in this area can protect the occupants: this is precisely why the flanks of the new Audi A6 allroad quattro have a high-strength structure made primarily from dual-phase steels which offer outstanding rigidity and protection against excessive loads.
In the side sill, an extruded aluminium profile ensures effective absorption of energy. Within the doors, tailored blank inner panels combine with reinforcements at lower window edge and sill level plus an aluminium impact beam to offer substantial resistance to deformation.
Several beams arranged perpendicular to the direction of travel likewise serve to stabilise the passenger cell, while two high-strength steel pipes also installed laterally in the front seats help to keep the occupants’ survival space intact. High-strength reinforcements extending far into the roof area serve to protect the occupants if the vehicle rolls over.
In a collision from the side, the occupants are protected by side airbags fitted as standard at the front (optionally available at the rear) and the head airbag system known as sideguard. The latter covers almost the entire side window area. Hybrid gas generators inflate the airbags in an instant and the pressure is furthermore maintained for a longer period, ensuring that there are still sufficient safety reserves to protect the occupants in the event of a second, subsequent collision.
The new Audi A6 allroad quattro is also extremely well protected against the consequences of collisions from the rear. The cell is built to withstand an impact against a deformable barrier with 70 percent overlap up to a speed of 80 km/h. In such a collision, the fuel tank also remains outside the actual deformation area courtesy of the rear structure of the car consisting of powerfully proportioned members which absorb all of the impact energy.
More interior space, a wider track: the new Audi A6 allroad quattro is significantly larger than its predecessor. Since the extra width also means a larger frontal area, the aerodynamics engineers were faced with the task of compensating for this fundamental drawback by adopting a particularly elaborate design for the car’s outer skin. Once again, Audi showed itself to be fully up to this task, as testified by the drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.33 for the new Audi A6 allroad quattro 3.2 FSI. The product of drag coefficient and frontal area is slightly improved in the new model.
One feature that is particularly important in terms of aerodynamics is the underbody panelling. At the front end, the underride protector together with the encapsulation of the engine compartment and transmission ensures a swirl-free flow of air to the central floor area, while wheel spoilers reduce flow losses around the front wheels.
Large cover panels conduct the flow of air along the transmission tunnel all the way back to the rear wheels where it is channelled by the rear underride protector and directed behind the vehicle.
Minimising the uplift at the rear axle is of decisive importance for vehicle handling and stability. The aerodynamic engineers at Audi have developed a separation edge at the top of the tailgate which blends elegantly into the overall design of the rear end. This separation edge significantly reduces the uplift occurring at the rear at motorway speeds.
When travelling at higher speeds, it is the airstream which dominates the overall spectrum of driving noises – just below the recommended autobahn speed of 130 km/h, the air is already flowing around the car at hurricane-like speeds. In the new A6 allroad quattro the acoustic experts at Audi have succeeded in effectively muting the frequency range between 1,000 and 8,000 hertz, as noise in this range is particularly irritating to the human ear.
A triple seal system has been incorporated into the doors to soundproof all of the apertures where sound could enter. When the windscreen wipers are not operating they drop down into a recessed rest position to avoid creating any extra wind noise.
Even when they are in action, the windscreen wipers make surprisingly little noise – this is the result of the new flat wiper technology with its ingenious air routing and of the blades with their integral spoilers.