2019 Audi A6: the digital luxury sedan

February 27, 2018

The 2019 Audi A6 is evolutionary outside, majorly upgraded inside and under its hood. Tuesday, Audi took the wraps off of its all-new mid-size luxury sedan ahead of its formal debut at next week's Geneva auto show.

With its 2019 A6, Audi ups its tech game inside and underneath. Outside, the A6 plays it safe with conservative styling that varies only slightly from the outgoing model. A sharper front fascia and flared haunches give it a hint more character than before, but the updates are subtle. The latest A6 is marginally larger than the outgoing model, which translates to a modest improvement in interior space.

MORE: Read our 2019 Audi A7 review

Needless to say, the 2019 A6 isn't as evocative as its A7 sibling outside. And that's just the way Audi positions the two models.

The A6's interior mirrors the A7, at least as far as front-seat passengers are concerned. A trio of LCD screens relay information to the driver, at least on models fitted with the company's MMI Navigation Plus infotainment system. Directly in front of the steering wheel, a 12.3-inch screen replaces conventional gauges and houses Audi's virtual cockpit system that works in concert with a 10.1-inch screen at the top of the center stack on Navigation Plus-equipped A6s. Below, an 8.6-inch touchscreen handles climate and convenience controls as well as doubling as a touchpad for text inputs. Audi says that the arrangement is set up so that drivers can keep their wrists on the automatic transmission gear lever.

2019 Audi A6

2019 Audi A6

A Bang & Olufsen audio system will be on the options list.

Under hood, all versions of the A6—at least for the European market at launch—feature mild-hybrid technology that cuts out the engine at stoplights and while coasting and uses an electric motor for assistance under acceleration. Audi predicts improved fuel economy and performance for the European market, where a single gas engine and two turbodiesels will be on offer at launch. In Europe, the two larger engines—gas and diesel units displacing 3.0-liters—are paired to all-wheel drive.

The mild-hybrid system uses a belt alternator-starter that functions like a small electric motor paired to a lithium-ion battery. During coasting at speeds between about 34 and 100 mph, the A6's mild-hybrid setup can cut out the gas engine entirely. Additionally, during braking, the mild-hybrid system can cut out the A6's engine at speeds under 14 mph to save even more fuel.

Underneath, the A6 will offer four-wheel steering for the first time. The system is designed to make the mid-size luxury sedan nimble and agile on a curvy road while aiding stability on the highway. At lower speeds, the system turns the rear wheels in the opposing direction of the front wheels to reduce the vehicle's turning circle to just 36.4 feet—about 3.6 feet shorter than before. At higher speeds, it works in exactly the opposite fashion to improve straight-line tracking. Additionally, Audi will offer four different suspension tunes—steel springs, a sport setup, adjustable dampers, and an adaptive air suspension with adjustable dampers.

Highly-optioned A6 sedans will also be capable of parking themseles in a garage or a parking spot while the driver is outside the vehicle using a smartphone app. The A6 can also be ordered with the Audi Connect Key system that discards a conventional key fob in favor of an Android app that can unlock, lock, and start the vehicle using Near Field Communication. Whether this feature will make it to the U.S. isn't clear.

Given that the U.S. debut of the A6 isn't expected until the New York auto show in late March, it's not surprising that Audi has left out details for this market. In Germany, the new A6 will hit dealers in June, but the American launch is likely to follow.

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