19 May 2015 | 11.33 am
Audi A6 Closes The Gap With BMW 5-Series
New A6 model parks your car too!
19 May 2015 | 11.33 am
A few weeks ago, an Audi Q5 drove itself from San Francisco to New York. Late last year, an Audi RS 7 drove around Germany’s Hockenheim circuit at race speed with no driver. Fully autonomous vehicles are still a decade or more away, but cars with some degree of self-driving capability are just around the corner. The next-generation Audi A8, due in early 2017, will have ‘piloted driving’. It can drive a car autonomously at speeds up to 37mph.
There are different levels of autonomous driving, ranging from zero to complete automation. We’re currently between the two. Autonomous driving technologies, such as collision mitigation systems, are already familiar as active safety features in our cars. For example, the latest Audi A6 has a number of assistive technologies, such as adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, blind-spot detection and optional night vision assist.
The revised A6 comes with an extended list of equipment options, styling tweaks and an upgraded standard specification. Engine efficiency has been improved by around 20% and the 2.0 TDI low emissions Ultra diesel models (with either 150bhp or 190bhp) are both capable of returning roughly 67mpg, with CO2 outputs as low as 109g/km.
Audi has also added new transmissions, and for those shopping at the upper end of the A6 range, the 3.0 TDI (320bhp) BiTurbo comes with eight-speed Tiptronic transmission. All other engines are now linked to either a newly designed six-speed manual gearbox, or to a seven-speed S-Tronic twin-clutch transmission. S-Tronic, with its super-fast gear changes, can be specified on all engines at a cost of €2,300.
New to market is the A6 SE Business. It comes with upgrades including electric front seats, wood inlay, four-zone climate control and good-looking alloys. All models have smartphone connectivity and the latest generation infotainment system. The entry price for the A6 range is €44,750.
Traditionally, the BMW 5-series ruled the roost in this segment, but the new A6 has significantly closed the gap. Audi attributes the improved sales to various factors, including a competitively priced finance offer and the improved spec. The A6 is also an easy place to spend time, as the interior is classy, spacious and comfortable, and it is refined, willing and frugal on the road.
What’s slowing the introduction of self-driving vehicles is legislation rather than technology, and I wish they’d hurry it up, as I can’t wait for the arrival of the self-parking car. Audi has had this technology ready to go for some time. The system is activated via the key fob or a smartphone and its combination of 12 ultrasound sensors, four top-view cameras and a laser scanner takes over, finds a space and parks your car for you.
Alternatively you can drop your car at car park entrance and use your smartphone to ‘send’ it to park. An app locates the car when you return or it will meet you at the exit. Audi estimates that self-parking cars can save motorists an average of 100 hours and hundreds of euros in fuel costs a year. Bring it on.
Model: Audi A6 SE Business
Engine: 2.0Tdi, 150bhp
Safety: ESP, traction control, multiple airbags, tyre pressure loss indicator, Audi pre-sense safety system
Fuel consumption: 4.4l/100km
Verdict: A sophisticated executive saloon with good spec and fuel economy