STARTING FOR THE 2016 model year, Audi has done more than a cosmetic refresh on all the C7 chassis cars. Refreshes include new front and rear fascias, single frame grilles, headlights, taillights, and elliptical exhaust pipes. Several colors for the exterior and interior are a part of the changes. The biggest news are the changes to the infotainment systems and the powertrains.
2016 A6 cars are available now with a new 2.0 TFSi sporting 252 hp, and 273 lb-ft torque!
Numerous new design features to enhance efficiency and dynamics have been incorporated into this Vier Zylinder Wundermotor such as advanced thermal management, integrated exhaust manifold, and low friction oil pressurization. As a result of this new motor, there is an increase of 32 hp and 15 lb-ft torque over the previous generation, and 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds. As a comparison the first C7-A6 withthe 3.2 V6 had 255 hp, 243 lb-ft torque, and a 0-60 mph of 7.1 seconds.
Not only is the new 2.0 TFSI faster, the fuel economy has increased by two mpg city to 22 mpg, and three mpg highway to 32 mpg. That is progress!
This can be coupled with an all- new seven- speed DSG with FWD, or an eight-speed Tiptronic with quattro. Gone is the CVT-FWD configuration. Hallelujah! This engine and transmission combination will be offered in the new B9-A4 coming next year. We will also see the 2.0T and quattro in the new Q7 due here in the near future.
According to Audi, this engine is equipped with a dual injection system-sequential port and direct into the cylinder. This takes care of the intake valve carbon and guck buildup of the previous generation, and makes the idle and low rpm run quieter.
Audi has not left the 3.0 T untouched, and 2016 A6 and A7 buyers can find the 333 hp of an S4 under their Motorhaube. Compared to the original 3.0T from 2009, numerous changes have been made, including increasing the compression ratio from 10.5:1 to 11:1, super-charging on demand, exhaust camshaft phasing, advanced thermal management, reduced friction, and like the new 2016 A6 2.0 TFSI, a dual injection system. The torque curve has been flattened with maximum torque staying virile until about 5300 rpm, versus 4500 rpm in the previous generation. That will be noticeable as you can upshift later and the next gear chosen finds that mountain of torque readily available to thrust you forward.
Again, we gain a faster car with a three mpg increase to 30 mpg highway, and 20 mpg city. 0-60 mph is claimed by Audi to be 5.1 seconds.
For you diesel lovers (me included) the torque monster 240 hp TDI remains unchanged, with 428 lb-ft of Grand Coulee Dam kinetic energy.
2016 S6 and S7 buyers will be rewarded with 30 more ponies to make 450 hp, with 406 lb-ft torque unchanged. An increase in one mpg is gained by improved efficiency in the engine management.Optional sport exhaust system now includes black tailpipes and retain the quad round pipes.
The available quattro® permanent all-wheel drive sport differential on the S6 and S7 has been upgraded with new software algorithms for higher levels of responsiveness and provides even better agility.
My favorite Audi rabid transit model in this market is the RS7—the 560 hp “Il Monstro” has not changed. I tested one not too long ago and experienced 0-60 in 3.2 seconds—fast by any definition.
2016 A6, A7, S6, S7, and RS7 models receive a new suite of Audi connect® services which include INRIX online traffc info, Apple Siri® Eyes Free integration and Web radio streaming. Also, the next generation of Audi MMI® provides AT&T 4G LTE data connection and in-car Wi-Fi for passenger devices supported through NVIDIA Tegra processing power. All 2016 Audi models with Audi connect®, whether 3G or LTE will use an AT&T Sim card.
How much better do the 2016 C7 cars drive? I set to find out by borrowing a beautiful Ibis White A6 2.0 quattro, and put over 1,100 miles on it driving to Sebastopol and back from Los Angeles, as well as some time in and around Los Angeles.
At 6’2” I had no issues in finding the correct seat position. I can adjust the steering wheel column all the way out, and this allows me to move the seat back and stretch my legs.
You can also accommodate three adult passengers in the rear with room in the front for tall folks.
With the rear seats that can be folded down, there is a long flat loading floor for large cargo. I assume it is the same length as the C7 Avant that is not sold here.
Just for the heck of it, my 6’5” son and I loaded two large speaker cabinets, several guitars, two guitar amp heads, and a pedal board and drove to visit a studio in comfort and security. Acceleration and handling did not seem to be penalized by the load.
First impression of the powertrain was the amazing power band of this engine. What a contrast to the 2.0 in my 2005.5 B7 Avant. With so much torque easily available at low revs, you can immediately accelerate out of the hole. Whereas my B7 requires getting up to 2500-3000 rpm to get some power, this machine has maximum torque available from just after idle at 1600 rpm until 4500 rpm. Horsepower peaks at 5000 rpm and stays available until 6000 rpm.
Selecting Sport mode on the transmission, and then manually kicking it back to first as you approach a stop light leaves you in first gear. You can then take off with the feeling of a small block V8. While it sounds like a beefy four-cylinder, the power is of a far greater motor. I cannot confirm if the eight-speed Tiptronic in the A6 2.0T quattro utilizes the same ZF 8hp as the larger engines do, or if it is a converted six-speed. Whatever model it is, it is a great shifting transmission. With the large and flat torque curve coupled with well spaced gearing, you will be quite satisfied in most driving situations. May I remind our readers that many of the exotics of not so long ago were not as fast as this A6.
On our way north to Marin County (driven under controlled track conditions) this car shows itself to have long legs, even feeling diesel-like. You can see from this cluster shot that at 86 mph, the engine was turning just 2200 rpm. You can also see the excellent Google Earth Navigation directly in front of you.
For practicality sake, I usually specify black interiors for my cars. However, the Nougat Brown leather on this A6 was quite appealing. Equipped with the Premium Plus package, 19” wheels, and the base radio, it came out to a sticker price of $54,500.
All C7 cabins are comfortable and dare I say posh. There is so much room for the front and rear passengers, and the quality of the seats and the interior fittings are first class. Many of the interior appointments are shared with the A8, and you can immediately feel the depth of quality from the first time you open the door and sit down. While the A8 is another level of comfort and luxury, the A6/A7 is darn close.
I have to hand it to the suspension boffins at Audi, as once more they have delivered a car with a great compromise for handling and comfort. Even shod with Continental DWS All Season tires, this is a sharp handling car out of the box. Hustling the car up Angeles Crest on the way to Newcomb’s Ranch (newcombsranch.com), I was impressed by the chassis balance and how effective the brakes are. This is not an S6, but I think the lesser weight of the 2.0T engine up front has contributed to a lighter and more nimble chassis. If you were to put sticky tires on and specify the sport suspension from the factory, you most likely will have a nice canyon carver to drive. Even stock, this car is a hoot to drive quickly in the canyons.
On the highway, the car just eats the miles in comfort. I am not a fan of All Season Tires for So Cal roads, but the Continental DWS that came stock on the car were quiet, and had pretty good dry adhesion and steering feel. They would make a good winter tire for climes that are not snow bound-like most of the USA. If you lived in Vermont you would have a set of Nokia Hakkepelitas on steel wheels for those bitter months.
Coming back from Northern California late at night was a good test of the latest Xenon headlights that are standard on the Premium and Premium Plus trim level. Beam width and throw were excellent. LED headlights are optional on all but the Prestige trim level, where it is standard equipment. I look forward to testing the new C7 LED headlights at some future point.
I am really impressed by the latest generation of Audi Infotainment electronics. The base MMI Radio Plus has ten speakers and a CD player with more than enough volume and clarity to blast you out of the house. While it does not have the sophistication of the Bose Surround Sound option, it is very nice.
With the upgraded graphic processing and 7” display, as well as the LCD that is within the instrument cluster, this new generation of display graphics provides clear and easy to read maps. The USB ports and auxiliary input allow you to put any player into the system, provided you have the right cable. You can also use SD Cards up to 64 Gb with two slots provided. Having real time traffic info on the Navi screen allows you to make intelligent decisions to re-route if necessary.
Looking at the pricing for a A6 quattro in Premium Plus, the 2.0T is $52,100, 3.0T is $57,400, and the 3.0 TDI is $59,500. With the great fuel economy of the 2.0T, it would take you a long time to recover the difference in fuel savings cost with the TDI upcharge. A loaded Premium Plus Sport 3.0 TDI will come in at $65,900.
The 3.0T gives you a lot more power, and without much of a fuel economy penalty. The greatest bang for buck though is the base Premium 2.0T DSG equipped FWD at $46,200. Add the Technology package for $3100 that includes the superb infotainment system with Audi connect®, and you are there. If you have sporting intentions, add the S line Sport package with sharp looking 19” wheels and sport suspension for $1800.
What a slick package this 2016 A6 2.0T quattro represents. Audi has really nailed it and there are no nits to pick. Priced at about $55K well equipped, with excellent handing and manners, a high-quality comfortable cabin, fast acceleration, very good highway fuel economy, four-cylinder maintenance costs, and a sophisticated and useful infotainment system, this car represents a high-value proposition. I could easily see putting on 200K miles and having it in my driveway for the next decade.