by Harry Pegg
Audi pushes the performance envelope a little further for 2002 with the new A6. I drove the new version a few weeks ago an Audi event in Virginia. It was worth the trip. Virginia roads are a delight to drive: narrow, twisty, hilly…just the ticket for blasting along in a performance-oriented automobile.
Exterior changes to the solid-looking Audi sedan are minimal, but noticeable. Clear glass headlights, deal-exhaust tailpipes, new taillights and cylindrical backup lights. High-intensity discharge headlights are available as an option.
Inside, the door seals are new and side window glass is thicker for better noise control. The redesigned instrument cluster uses aluminum ring accents and the rotary headlight switch and mirror adjuster have been illuminated. When you ease into the superbly comfortable driver seat your hands fall naturally onto a new, more elaborate, steering wheel. There’s plenty of head and leg room for passengers and the trunk provides a sizable storage space.
Safety? The A6 has six standard airbags: dual front, two side airbags in the front seatbacks and two in the headliner that deploy downward to shield front and rear passengers. You can add side airbags to the outboard rear seatbacks.
The 2002 A6 has a choice of three engines, all of them impressive, but the new 3.0 litre V6 is a beauty. Featuring an aluminum block and five-valves-per cylinder breathing, it’s lighter than the 2.8 litre engine it replaces. A balance shaft in the oil sump makes this an extremely smooth-running engine. A new two-stage variable intake manifold and adjustable camshafts improve power and torque output with better fuel economy and a reduction in untreated emissions.
The engine, linked in quattro sedans to a five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, delivers 220 horsepower and a peak torque of 221 lb. ft. More powerful by 30 horsepower is the twin turbo 2.7T which has a standard 6-speed manual shifter (Tiptronic is available). It’s a tad rougher in operation, but it sure is quick, delivering 258 lb. ft. of torque beginning at just 1,850 rpm and running all the way to 3600 revs.
The flagship A6 is propelled by a 4.6 litre V8 which turns out 300 horsepower and peak torque of 295 lb. ft. from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm. Standard shifting is a five-speed Tiptronic. “Sport” mode has been added to A6 Tiptronic transmission and it really does provide enthusiastic, sporty, shift points. It gets even better when you use the manual gate on the right side of the shifter box…not quite, but almost, as much fun as a manual. It will hold the gear to redline, but not to rev limiter, before it automatically takes over and shifts for you. If you’re driving a 2.7T or 4.2 model, you’ve got the added touch of fingertip rocker switch shifters on the steering wheel.
A6 handling, no matter which model, is quick and precise and, while the driver is having fun, passengers ride in supportive comfort. Outside noise is kept to a minimum and wind noise is limited to a quiet hiss around the outside mirrors.
Click image to enlarge
But there’s more news on the way for A6 – the ultimate in shiftless operation, a multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) with the two-wheel drive 3.0 litre V6 FrontTrak A6. Basically it’s a transmission without gears, providing an infinite number of gear ratios between its lowest and highest range.
Driving a car with this Tiptronic-equipped system is almost eerie. You don’t feel any shift points…no lurch, no kick-down shock…it’s totally seamless. Without going into huge detail, the system is relatively simple. It combines clutch-like pulleys with a flexible steel belt that continually adjust to optimum performance giving a nearly unlimited combination of horsepower and torque depending on driver inputs. It’s a quick shifter. The experts say it’s quicker than a five-speed manual and after driving it, I can’t dispute that fact.
Pricing for the A6 front-wheel-drive with CVT is yet to be set, but the car will arrive in Canadian dealerships about mid-year, 2002.
At a glance
|MSRP||$54,235 – $71,175|
|Layout||Front engine, AWD|
|Engines||3.0-L V6, twin turbo 2.7L 6 cyl., 4.2L V8|
|Horsepower||250 @ 5800 (2.7 T); 220 @ 6300 (3.0L); 300 @ 6200 (V8)|
|Torque||(lb. ft.) 258 @ 1850 (2.7T); 221 @ 3200 (3.0L); 295 @ 3000 (V8)|
|Transmissions||six-speed manual/ 5-speed automatic Tiptronic|
|Curb weight||1780 kg/3,924 lbs. (2.7T); 1710 kg/3,770 lbs (3.0L); 1825 kg/4,023 lbs. (V8)|
|Wheelbase||2,761 mm/108.7 in. (2.7T & 3.0L); 2,758 mm/108.6 in. (V8)|
|Length||4,877 mm/192.0 in. (2.7T & 3.0L); 4,912 mm/193.4 (V8)|
|Track||(front, rear) 1,547 mm/60.9 in., 1,570 mm/61.8 in. (2.7T & 3.0L); 1,577 mm/62.1 in., 1,590 mm/62.6 in. (V8)|
|Width||1,811 mm/71.3 in. (2.7T & 3.0L); 1,933 mm/76.1 in. (V8)|
|Height||1,453 mm/57.2 (2.7L & 3.0L); 1,448 mm/57.0 (V8)|
|Brakes||4-wheel disc with ABS|
|Fuel consumption||(city l/100km/mpg) 13.7/20.6 (2.7T); 12.6/22.4 (3.0L); 13.8/20.5(V8)|
|(highway l/100km/mpg) 8.9/31.7 (2.7T); 8.5/33.2 (3.0L); 8.7/32.5 (V8)|
2.7L bi-turbo has 2.7 litre engine, 6-speed manual transmission or 5 speed Tiptronic automatic, quattro AWD, driver and front passenger airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, inflatable Sideguard curtain airbags, rear child seat tether anchors, child-safety rear door locks, first aid kit in rear centre armrest, trunk interior release handle, Immobiizer III transponder system, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, electronic stabilization program, 16-inch wheels, full size spare, speed-sensitive power rack & pinion steering, leather covered 4-spoke steering wheel, tilt/telescope steering wheel, heatable windshield washer nozzles, dual exhaust, halogen headlights, front fog lights, rear fog lights, high–pressure retractable headlight washers, front and rear reading lights, automatic dual zone climate control, power windows, cruise control, heated power outside mirrors, electric rear window defogger, central power locking system, keyless remote entry, illuminated vanity mirrors, 12-way power adjustable front driver and passenger seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, height adjustable folding front centre armrest, leather shift knob, full-length centre console, wood accents, floor mats, took kit in luggage area, fold-down rear armrest, driver information display with five-function trip computer and outside temperature display, anti-theft vehicle alarm system, 4-position interval windshield wipers, Symphony AM/FM radio with cassette, 6-disc CD player and 8 speakers with trunk-mounted subwoofer.
A6 3.0 has 3.0L V6 engine, 5-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with hill detection capability and sport-mode setting. Quattro AWD or FrontTrak front wheel drive system with anti-slip regulation system and multitronic continuously variable transmission with Tiptronic.
A6 4.2 has 4.2L V8 engine, 5-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, Quattro AWD, high-performance disc brakes, power tilt/telescope steering column, power tilt/slide glass sunroof, HomeLink transmitter in driver’s sunvisor, leather upholstery,auto-dimming inside and outside rearview mirrors, integrated digital portable phone with voice recognition (delayed introduction).
Option packages (2.7T & 3.0L): Premium Package adds multi-function steering wheel with audio controls, Xenon high intensity low and high beam headlights and rear parking assist system. Convenience Package adds HomeLink transmitter, auto-dimming interior mirrors with compass and auto dimming exterior mirrors, seat memory for driver and passenger seats. Sport Package (2.7T only) adds sport front seats, sport suspension, 17-inch cross-spoke alloy wheels.
Stand-alone options (2.7T & 3.0L): Audi navigation system, rear side airbags, sunroof, front and rear heated seats, leather upholstery power rear window sunshade with manual rear side window sunshades, sunroof, Bose 200 watt audio system, OnStar Telematics, digital/portable phone with voice control, 17-inch alloy wheels (2.7T), 16-inch wineglass cast alloy wheels (3.0L).
Option packages (4.2L V8): Premium Package adds heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, Xenon high intensity low and high beam headlights and rear parking assist system. Sport Package adds 17-inch alloy wheels, front sports seats, sports suspension. Warm Weather Package adds solar sunroof and power rear window sunshade with manual rear side window sunshades.
Stand-Alone options (4.2L V8): rear side airbags, navigation system, 17-inch 5-spoke wheels, 17-inch 8-spoke wheels, pearlescent white paint, digital/portable phone with voice control, OnStar telematics.