The new Audi A6 hybrid.
The new Audi A6 hybrid. Drive

Audi hybrids left out of sight

AUDI has unveiled a new A6 sedan range that includes a hybrid variant.

But the petrol-electric version, which uses more fuel than its diesel counterpart, may not make the trip to Australia.

The luxury brand’s parent company Volkswagen has already ruled out the hybrid version of its new Touareg SUV for the local market, while Audi’s Q5 Hybrid will debut next March but built in left-hand drive only.

Audi Australia says it has no information on whether the A6 hybrid will be similarly restricted when it goes on sale “at a later point” after the large luxury sedan launches overseas early next year. The A6 reaches Australia in the third quarter of 2011.

The hybrid isn’t the most fuel efficient model in a new A6 range that brings fuel consumption reductions of up to 19 per cent.

The German brand’s most economical A6, the 2.0 TDI manual, is likely for the Australian market. Despite the A6 measuring nearly five metres long, the 130kW four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive model uses just 4.9 litres of petrol per 100km and emits just 129 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre.

Other engines Audi Australia can choose from include: 3.0-litre turbo diesel in 150kW or 180kW forms; 220kW supercharged V6; 150kW 2.8-litre. Higher-spec engines are teamed with ‘quattro’ all-wheel drive.

The front-drive hybrid combines a 155kW 2.0-litre petrol engine with a 33kW electric motor to produce consumption of 6.2L/100km and emissions of 146g/km. Audi says the petrol-electric hybrid can sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds and attain a speed of up to 100km/h using the electric motor alone.

The A6 sits on a new platform that has already underpinned the related A7 Sportback four-door ‘coupe’. It’s fractionally shorter and lower than the outgoing model, with width and wheelbase both increasing by more significant margins.

The A6 shaves plenty of kilos in the move to its latest generation with more extensive use of aluminium. A fifth of the A6’s construction is now made from the lighter but stronger metal,  and the bonnet, front quarter panels and doors are also formed from aluminium.

The A6’s styling remains on the conservative side and it looks like an obvious relative to the smaller A4 and larger A8. The new model’s interpretation of the company’s signature ‘single frame’ grille, though, features more pronounced curves and the headlights are narrower and less rectangular.

Its interior shares much in common with the A7 Sportback as expected, with similar design and technological sophistication but fewer design flourishes.

Standard features on European A6s include dual-zone climate control, pre-crash mitigation system, MMI (multimedia interface) system with colour screen, tyre pressure monitoring and a Drive Select system that allows drivers to tailor areas such as steering weighting, throttle response and, if air suspension is purchased, suspension firmness.

There seem to be more references to optional equipment than standard features in Audi’s press release, though.

They include all-LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and tail-lights, adaptive air suspension, touchpad extension for the MMI (as debuted on the A8 limo), Bang and Olufsen audio, stop-go cruise control, sports seats, night vision, heated/ventilated seats, a range of alloy wheels, and a sports differential that can vary torque between the rear wheels for improved cornering precision.

An A6 Avant (wagon) variant is expected to be unveiled at next September’s Frankfurt motor show, which will include a 600-litre boot (the sedan’s boot shrinks slightly from 546 to 530 litres).

Another version of the high-riding Allroad is also anticipated down the track, along with S6 and RS6 performance models.

Cops slam ‘foolhardy and dangerous’ prank trend

Premium Content Cops slam ‘foolhardy and dangerous’ prank trend

Police say Warwick ‘dare’ surfacing among kids could be putting the elderly at...

Warwick welcomes rains after lacklustre end to wet season

Premium Content Warwick welcomes rains after lacklustre end to wet season

March has brought an early drenching for Rose City residents, with hopes there’s...