DETROIT -- The exterior of the redesigned Audi A6, which now matches the A8 flagship, has a commendably low drag coefficient of 0.26.
Compared with the previous A6, the 2012 edition is slightly shorter and lower in overall length and height, but the wheelbase is nearly 3 inches longer and approximately 0.7 inches wider, benefiting interior roominess.
Significant changes under the steel and aluminum unibody cut 170 pounds from the previous-generation A6. Aluminum makes up more than 20 percent of the body.
Five engines are offered worldwide, from a 177-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine to a 300-hp V-6 gasoline engine. Powertrain specifics will be released closer to the A6's on-sale date this spring.
Front-wheel-drive models will be equipped with either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission, while all Quattro models feature a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Fuel consumption drops as much as 19 percent for the 2012 A6 vs. the 2011 model. Audi announced that it will add a hybrid powertrain late in calendar year 2011. The A6 Hybrid will feature the same powertrain as the Q6 and Q5 hybrids, a 211-hp, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder and a 33-kilowatt (45 hp) electric motor. Unlike the other powertrain options, the hybrid uses a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.
Audi also announced that it will debut the Q3 compact SUV later this year.