Audi will unveil the next generation A6 as a prototype in 2009 and a production version will follow in 2010. More modern and sporty, the new A6 will use the same design cues as the latest A5 and A4. It will compete with the next generation BMW 5-Series, the Infiniti M and Mercedes E-Class.
The 2010 A6 will feature for the first time the LED day headlights, which were used only in the S6. Also the interior will feature a significant change. It will have the same bumpers used in the A5, new air intakes and totally redesigned lights.
In the same way as the newly A4, the future A6 will have the front body overhang drastically shortened and the bonnet and wheelbase will be both longer than before.
Most of the component will be made from weight-saving aluminum. The results are expected to be impressive: supremely dynamic road behavior and effortlessly precise handling.
Audi A6 will be based on Audi’s MLP platform also used in many vehicles from the Audi’s line-up: the A5/S5, Q5, next generation A4, A7 and A8.
Under the hood we will see a two-litre FSI turbo engine and also a four-cylinder Diesel engine. There will be 3.2-litre V6 engine with an output of 260 hp and 4.2-litre V8 FSI direct injection petrol’s with a maximum power of 350 hp. The S-line version will feature standard Bi-xenon-lights and will be powered by the Lamborghini’s V10 engine, with an output of 450 hp.
The 2010 A6 will have a top speed limited to 155 mph and will make the 0 to 60 mph sprint in just 6 seconds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BMW has already “in works” the next instalment of their successful executive saloon. Several test mules have been spotted, pointing that a production ready 5 Series is to be released in the next three or four years. The current BMW 5 Series is around for more than 4 years, meaning that it is well in its middle age, and needing a successor around the year 2010.
It is expected that the next generation executive BMW will grow in pretty much every direction, including wheelbase and wheel-track. In order to keep up, the wheels will follow the same trend, and standard equipment will feature 17” rims. Sports versions (like the M5), are expected to use 20” wheels or bigger.
Technologically, the future 5 Series will be as surprising and uncompromising as ever. The only difference will be that, in the overall tendency of the market, there will be an increased attention to the ecological and fuel consumption issues. Performance will be even better than before, helped by those components that give the BMW name, the power units. Starting from a 2.5 litre straight 6 with 220 bhp, the petrol engine range will extend up to the brand new 410 bhp V8 biturbo. Four diesel engines will also be made available, ranging between 2.0 and 3.0 litres, with single and biturbo systems and offering over 300 bhp.
Also in the works is a more powerful version of the M5’s 5.0-liter V10. The 5-series will have a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph.
Mercedes is going to unveil a completely new E-Class in 2009 code-named W212. The design will be inspired from the new C-Class, S-Class and a few cues from the CLS-Class. It will come as a main competitor for BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6. The car will be unveiled at 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The 2009 E-Class will have a more aggressive look as a result of the design cues taken from the CLS-Class. The glass surfaces will get smaller and the flank of the car will suffers from the usual creeping up of sheet metal. The wheels will be at least 18". An important change will be the shape of the 4 headlights: no more will they be round, they will be shaped like squarish teardrops.
The basic power plant will consist of four-cylinder engines with the horsepower rating starting at 175 bhp. The V6 and V8 engine will also be available delivering from 136 hp to 514 hp. The W212 will be electronically limited to 155 mph and will make the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 6.5 seconds. An E63 AMG model will be also unveiled powered by a normally aspirated, 500-plus-bhp 6.3-litre V8 engine.