Audi launched the A6 for the first time in 1994 as a successor for the Audi 100. Its primary competitors are the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Saab 9-5, Alfa Romeo 166, Jaguar S-Type, Lexus GS and Volvo S80. Until now, the A6 knew three different generations, and the fourth one is to be launched in 2010.
Audi A6 (C4)
First generation: 1994-1997 (C4)
The first generation A6 was called C4. This is because the Audi 100 had, at its turn 3 generations, the C1, C2 and C3 and Audi decided to number it from here. The 100 was also renamed A6 to fit in with Audi’s new alphanumeric nomenclature.
The new engines for the A6 were 1.8 20V, 2.8 30V, 1.9 TDI, and the 2.5 R5 TDI (140 PS), with the 2.3 engine being dropped on most markets. The S6’s 4.2 V8 was uprat ed to 290 PS (286 hp/213 kW) and a new 326 PS (322 hp/240 kW) version was added.
Second generation: 1997-2004 (C5)
In 1997 Audi launched the second generation A6 with an ambitious new design (C5) and a new pack of engines. The Italian redesigned body presented a very modern design with a dramatic fastback styling that set the trend for the Audi lineup and gave the relatively large sedan a very aerodynamic shell with a low coefficient of drag of 0.28.
North American C5 A6 models received the 2.8 litre, 30-valve V6 engine, the 2.7 litre, bi-turbo V6 (also found in the B5 platform S4), and the 4.2 litre 40-valve V8. The V8 models arrived with significantly altered exterior body panels, with more aggressively flared wheel arches, revised headlamps and grille design (before being introduced in 2002 to all other A6 models), taller and wider wheels (17x8"), larger brakes and quattro as standard.
Audi A6 (C5)
The Audi S6 was a high-powered variant of the A6 line, featuring a modified version of the 4.2 engine producing 340 bhp. It was available as a saloon (outside of North America) and Avant.
In 2002 the A6 received a facelift with revised headlight and grille design, exposed exhaust tips, and slight changes to accessory body moldings and tailight color from red to amber in North American models.
Third generation: 2005 - present
Audi set a new benchmark in the luxury performance segment when it introduced the third generation Audi A6 to North America. A scant one year later, the successful V8 and V6 variants are being joined by an A6 3.2 sedan with Audi’s revolutionary multitronic (CVT) transmission and FrontTrak front wheel drive. In all of its forms, the latest generation of the Audi A6 combines superior driving dynamics and sophisticated technology with exceptional comfort and equipment.
Audi is now offering an S-Line package with appearance and hardware items for a specifically more dynamic driving experience. This package includes a number of exterior elements including a distinctive front grille with S-line badge, aluminum door sills with S-line badges, S-line front and rear bumpers and 18-inch 5-arm quattro GmbH wheels with 245/40 R18” summer performance tires. When equipped with this package, the standard wood trim in the A6 will be replaced with an elegant gray birch wood trim. A Misano red exterior is now available for the Audi A6 but only on S-line equipped cars.
Audi A6 (C6)
Powerful engines with up to eight cylinders and 335 horsepower, the most advanced transmission technologies, and a choice between quattro permanent all-wheel drive or FrontTrak front wheel drive make Audi’s current A6 range its most comprehensive ever. Thanks to the cutting-edge suspension combined with high body rigidity, this power and performance opens up a new dimension in driving dynamics.