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A6 appeal
Posted on: August 25th, 2011

Since the cut in COE quotas last year and the subsequent explosion of COE premiums, costing in excess of $60,000 today and not likely to abate any time soon, it’s seen the market for budget brands completely evaporate. The most obvious reason being the not-quite-so padded of pocket are going to be put off by a Corolla costing in excess of $100,000, like it is today.

 

So, that’s left it to the luxury brands to slug it out for the last scrap of the big spender’s dollar and we probably are the only market in the world where the best selling car so far this year is – and the feeling of incredulity doesn’t go away no matter how many times we say it – is the BMW 5 Series. Following closely on its heels is the Mercdes-Benz E-Class. It’s a topsy-turvy world and given what we’ve seen of 2011 so far, we think the biggest battleground for the near future will be for the mid-sized executive sedan. It comes at no better time that Audi has chosen to launch the new A6. It won’t win any prizes for the conservative lines that bear more than a passing resemblance to the A8 flagship, but the real party begins underneath its skin and indeed, on it. Like its bigger brother, it gets a fair amount of aluminium and while it won’t have the ultra light (but also ultra expensive) all-aluminium chassis, the A6 will get it in its suspension strut towers and along with the application of high-strength, lower weight steels, Audi says the weight of the A6′s chassis goes down by 80kg. Its skin too, is almost completely composed of aluminium and in some cases, the A6 is 80kg lighter than its predecessor.

 

As you might expect, a lighter car is infinitely better to drive and in a quick blast around a handling course at its launch against the outgoing A6, the new model is far nippier on turn-in and feels far more lithe. Drivetrain options available at its launch include a 2.8-litre V6 with 204bhp and a 7.9 second 0-100km/h time or a 300bhp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 with a 5.5 second 0-100km/h time. All wheel-drive will come as standard across the board. What will be of more interest is the amount of top-drawer stuff that’s available, like the latest MMI infotainment system with a very nifty slidy-outy screen, though you’ll either have to pay for it or plump for the $307,038 with COE A6 3.0. Air suspension, a head-up display and massage seats are also available, so you can think of it as a sort of A8 lite. If the bank balance doesn’t stretch that far, the A6 2.8 costs a good $70,000 less, at $238,038 with COE, though it comes without the MMI system and (gasp) 16-inch rollers. A very competitive price all the same, so one thing’s for certain with BMW’s 5 priced from $246,800 and Merc’s E from $231,888 (all prices include COE). The segment certainly looks set for a right deathmatch and let’s not forget Lexus’ new GS will be coming early next year…

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