The New A6: Design & Performance

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March 18, 2004

Introducing the latest-generation A6, Audi is presenting a saloon aimed at the top position in its segment through the unique combination of dynamic performance and high technology, superior comfort and an exemplary level of equipment.

Powerful TDI and petrol engines with up to eight cylinders and maximum output of 246 kW (335 bhp), the most advanced transmission technology, as well as front-wheel or quattro permanent all-wheel drive set the foundation for the unique supremacy of the new A6 sports saloon. The sophisticated chassis and suspension, plus the extra-stiff body, then team up successfully with this kind of power and performance to provide a new dimension in driving dynamics.

Offering features of this calibre, the new Audi A6 makes a clear pledge to its equally outstanding role model: the Audi A8 readily acknowledged by both the press and the public alike as the sportiest car in its class. And now, given its wide range of outstanding qualities, the A6 is set to leave behind all its competitors as the most progressive car in the executive class.


Just one look at the new Audi A6 proves right from the start that this is an all-new car in every respect. A car with proportions and design language pointing into a new class positioned clearly above the former model. Its overall length is 4.92 metres, 12 centimetres longer than the former model. A width measuring 1.86 metres, in turn, means an increase by 4.5 centimetres over the former A6. Both of these figures significantly exceed the dimensions of the A6’s two most important competitors.

With height remaining almost unchanged at 146 cm, the new A6 is much more athletic than before, with proportions more sporting, more muscular and clearly poised for action.

Wheelbase also enters a new dimension, up by 8.3 cm to no less than 2.843 metres or to provide a much higher standard of interior comfort. The increase in track both front and rear, on the other hand, benefits above all the car’s driving dynamics, track measuring 1612 mm at the front and 1618 mm at the rear marking an increase by no less than 67 and, respectively, 49 millimetres over the former model. Again, these figures leave the competition far behind.

Sporting silhouette

The new Audi A6 sets a clear new benchmark in the development of Audi design. The lines of the car combine that clear architecture so typical of the brand with the key features of Audi’s progressive design language, bearing testimony to Audi’s leadership also in terms of looks and appearance.

Already classic and convincing in every respect, the basic proportions of Audi’s sports saloon with its low-slung row of windows and coupĂ©-like roofline now take on a new touch of excitement: three lines encompass the body of the car, giving it forward-pushing, dynamic proportions.

The gently rising, curved arch of the shoulder line starts on the front wing, extends to the rear along the side of the body as an edge refracting the light, and finally merges into the rear light clusters. The opposite arch of the dynamic line extends to the rear from the lower end of the front bumper and runs along the lower section of the car above the edges of the side sills around the rear end, thus giving the body its particular contours.

The V-line, finally, also starts at the front bumper, tapers down the engine compartment lid and continues as the roofline ending in the raised spoiler edge, thus rounding off the silhouette of a genuine sports saloon.

Another new feature is the clear, but never aggressive dialogue of concave and convex edges, of surfaces with positive and negative curvature. The result is an exciting interplay of light and shade giving the car very special appeal from every perspective.

All versions of the new Audi A6 come as standard with 16-inch alloy wheels (17 inch wheels on the 4.2) for a particularly sporting and dynamic look from the side. A wide range of additional wheels up to 18 inches in size is of course also available to customise this sports saloon to an even higher standard.

A new face in the business class

The powerfully curved centre bulge on the engine compartment lid clearly symbolises the muscle and performance of the power units driving the new Audi A6.

Viewed from the front, the trapezoidal single-frame radiator grille clearly designates the A6 as a representative of Audi’s latest generation. Indeed, this new face is the logical evolution of that typical Audi look, the two segments on the radiator grille already featuring a separate chrome strip on the former Audi A6 and thus paving the way for the new, single-frame design.

The latest lights technology waits to help the driver behind the clear glass covers of the headlights: as an option the new A6 is available as the first Audi with adaptive light control incorporating high-intensity xenon plus light units and daylight operation of the lights for optimum visibility at all times.

The rear end is clearly characterised by the wide track resting on wheels flush with the body of the car. The rear bumper is organically integrated in the flow of lines, connecting the rear body panel with the side sections of the new A6. The clearly visible tailpipe, finally, proudly bears testimony to the car’s outstanding performance.

Other, equally characteristic features are the wrap-around bands formed by the rear light clusters fitted low down in the body of the car. An aluminium trim strip serves additionally to subdivide the boot lid into separate horizontal sections, forming a powerful and striking connection between the rear light clusters.

The upper edge of the boot lid is specially contoured to provide a powerful and dynamic spoiler edge for additional downforce at high speeds in the interest of supreme safety and driving characteristics.

The new Audi A6 comes with a range of no less than 15 different paintwork colours – from Arctic White to Brilliant Black – four of which are brand-new on this car: Aero Blue and Dakar Beige metallic, plus Canyon Red and Stratos Blue pearl effect. All A6 models have a full paint finish as standard.


Inside, the new Audi A6 also makes it quite clear from the start that this is an entirely new generation. The high and wide centre console with all controls and instruments within easy reach, for example, emphasises the sporting interior architecture of the car integrating the driver as the real commander.

A sporting character and perfect ergonomics – these are the features so typical of the cockpit and its special design. The central instrument panel and the upper section of the centre console facing slightly towards the driver are linked by the same cover on top to form one dynamic unit.

Apart from the large circular dial for the rev counter and speedometer, the newly designed, drop-shaped surrounds provide ample space for the round coolant temperature and tank gauge scales.

Audi’s new generation of steering wheels is likewise making its production debut in the new A6. The clearly visible hallmark of these three- and four-spoke steering wheels is their powerful rendition of the single-frame trapezoid with four rings on the centre airbag cap, the oval outer geometry of the cap providing yet another variation of the single-frame design. The standard steering wheel comes in leather and with a sporty four-spoke design in all versions of the new A6.

Clearly arranged, tidy and uncluttered, the centre console has obviously been inspired by the interior design of the new A8. Like in Audi’s sporting luxury saloon, the engineers creating the new car have chosen an electromechanical parking brake, giving the designers greater freedom and extra space: not requiring a handbrake lever, the new Audi A6 comes with a generously designed, highly ergonomic and very functional console plus armrest.

Positioned exactly where it should be, the MMI control terminal is located right behind the gearshift lever. Exactly in the driver’s line of vision, the display is integrated in the upper cover on the dashboard.

All of the car’s occupants benefit from a considerable increase in space and comfort within the interior: the wheelbase of the new Audi A6 is up by 83 mm to 2843 millimetres, giving the passengers both front and rear extra comfort, safety, and knee room. Shoulder room is likewise up by 23 millimetres at the front and six millimetres or at the rear.

The distance between the seat centrepoints crucial to the occupants’ freedom of movement to the side is up by 40 millimetres at the front and 20 at the rear. Knee room at the rear, in turn, is now an extra 10 millimetres.

The standard seats in the new Audi A6 obviously offer superior comfort also on long distances and excellent side support for a sporting style of motoring. The optional sports seats, in turn, come with even better side support and stronger body contour.

Depending on the seat, the customer has the choice of three different types of upholstery plus – available for the first time in the Audi A6 – natural leather as well as Valcona or Volterra leather, each in up to six different colours. Yet a further option is a high-quality combination of Alcantara and leather on the sports seats.

Inlays in aluminium or – as an option – in walnut or birch offer additional options for customising the interior of the Audi A6.

Both the front-wheel-drive and quattro models offer very ample luggage compartment capacity of 546 litres, an increase of 112 litres or approximately 20 percent over the former model.

The front-wheel-drive versions of the new Audi A6 come with a fuel tank capacity of 70 litres, the fuel tank in the quattro models has a capacity of 80 litres.

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