- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2004

THE HAGUE — The new Audi A6 is celebrating its world premier at the Geneva Auto Show this month. To tease the public, the Germans have released the first pictures and details of their new midsize saloon.

With five new engines, advanced transmissions and the availability of front-wheel drive or quattro permanent four-wheel drive, Audi hopes the new A6 will generate more sales than the preceding generation.

The new styling incorporates the larger grille that was first shown on the Nuvolari concept car and went into production with the A8 W12. The future pedestrian safety regulations in Europe are implying a front that is more vertical and higher. The new A6 still has the familiar design, although at the rear Audi integrated a very small spoiler in the deck lid.

The combination of running day lights with xenon plus and active corner lights is a world premier. The better view does not imply the use of extra energy and does not have a negative effect on the fuel efficiency.

The A6 grew from 188.8 inches to 193.7 inches, whereas the wheelbase is 111.8 inches, or 3.1 inches more. The width is now 73.2 inches (1.9 more) and the height remained practically the same.

Especially in the interior, the extra inches have a positive effect on the legroom for both front and rear passengers.

Audi offers five new powertrains in the new A6, two direct injected diesels and three gasoline engines: a 2.4 V-6 with 177 horsepower, a 3.2 V-6 FSI with 255 horsepower and a 4.2 V-8 with 355 horsepower, which is basically the same as Audi uses in the S4. The powerplants work together with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Multitronic transmission is also available with seven shift stages in the tiptronic mode.

The V-8 and the 3.0-liter diesel versions have standard quattro permanent AWD, which will be an option for the 3.2 V-6 FSI.

Improved stiffness and the same rear suspension that Audi applies to the A8 must give the A6 better driving dynamics. From the start of 2005 adaptive air suspension and adaptive damping front and rear will be available

Audi uses an electromechnical parking brake and offers standard climate control and a rain and light sensor for all versions. Adaptive cruise control and a tire-pressure monitor will be an option. Prices are not known.

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