The Audi A6 was thoroughly updated for the 2005 model year. While the all-wheel-drive Quattro sedan carries over, a front-wheel drive sedan and a Quattro wagon are added to the lineup for 2006. Also new is the S-Line, an optional sports package. A high-performance S6 version will debut in the fall of 2006 as a 2007 model.
The A6 is Audi's entry in the "business class" of modern premium sedans, so it has all the amenities expected of vehicles in a category that appeals to mid- and upper-level executives as well as successful entrepreneurs. However, the A6 also features dynamic capabilities that are much more in line with a sports sedan, especially when equipped with its highly regarded Quattro all-wheel-drive technology. For 2006, Audi underscores the A6's dynamic capabilities with the S-Line package that includes a special grille, aluminum doorsills, unique front/rear bumpers, and 18-inch, five-spoke Quattro wheels with high-performance tires. Inside, A6s equipped with the S-Line option get special gray birch trim. A dramatic Misano red exterior paint is also available with this package.
Power for the A6 comes from a choice of two engines: a 255-hp, 3.2L V-6 or a 335-hp, 4.2L V-8. A Tiptronic automatic (that allows the driver to shift manually without depressing a clutch pedal) or continuously variable transmissions (CVT) are available. The V-6 can be equipped with front- or all-wheel drive, while Audi's Quattro system is the only driveline offered with the V8.
All A6 models are equipped with electronic vehicle dynamic controls designed to help the vehicle stay on its intended course in all weather conditions and in emergency maneuvers. If an accident does occur, the A6 comes with front, side, and head-curtain air bags as well as active front head restraints to counter whiplash when the vehicle is struck from behind. Such safety systems have helped the A6 achieve a "Double Best Pick" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for occupant protection in both frontal- and side-impact crash tests.
The Audi A6 competes in the Midsize Premium segment of the U.S. light-vehicle market. This segment accounts for little more than 2 percent of all sales, but is a highly competitive and prestigious category.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Lexus ES Series led this category with 67,577 sales in calendar year 2005. Next are the BMW 5 Series (52,722 units sold) and Mercedes-Benz E-Class (50,383 units sold), followed by the Cadillac STS, Lexus GS Series, Infiniti M-Series, Volvo V70, Lincoln LS, Audi A6, Acura RL, Volvo S80, Jaguar S-Type, and the Saab 9-5.