2012 Audi A6 live photos. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.Enlarge Photo
Foulk's fascination with cars is more than numbers. His fondness for cars with can be traced to his family's Jaguar XK120.
This month, after the A6's unwrapping in Detroit, Foulk offered an exclusive tour of the executive-class car's eye-appealing style, energetic substance and economical fuel-sipping attributes. This car won the EyesOnDesign award presented later that day.Audi's new A6 is a traditional sedan. And the tradition at Audi is break-through technological innovations. The cars unveiled in Detroit represent European-spec models. For instance, the slick hybrid version isn't for the States. Foulk, therefore, focused on what buyers can expect when the "full-size" luxury sedan arrives at Audi's American showrooms.
The A6 is relatively athletic sporting up-to-date alloy and steel body construction. This reduces weight, increases strength and ups overall efficiency. The come-hither styling, Foulk says, is due to its innovative aluminum body panels. Considerable developmental work went into forming its distinctive alloy shoulder line.
The result: an interesting shadow line, a dynamic moving forward stance.
Foulk says overall weight is better balanced than previous Audis (55:45, though the press kit says it's 60:40). Like the smaller A4, mechanical refinements allowed engineers to push the front wheels forward and move the go-train back. This puts more of the car's mass within the wheelbase.
While nearly all Audis have distinctive trapezoidal snouts, the A6's glossy grille and signature LCD headlamps are specifically tweaked. In fact, the fastback A7, which shares the A6'underpinnings, differs in both side-panel shaping and the front-end's treatment. This upfront attention to devilish details, claims Foulk, is characteristic of Audi's aesthetics. Since LCD lamps cannot melt snow during winter driving, Audi relies on built-in headlight washers.
Audi A6 Hybrid: Center of AttentionEnlarge Photo
While plans for the A6's America powerplants aren't final, the core engine is likely a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 producing 300 hp. Foulk suggests a larger mill is possible. Besides trimming weight in order to reduce fuel consumption, Audi also revamped this vehicle's exhaust system, and switched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Other fuel economy improving methods include its integrated thermo management. This reduces the engine's energy consumption by precisely controlling the mill's cooling system. Braking also recharges the batteries while stopping.
Audi's LCD EyesEnlarge Photo
Audi might offer Americans a diesel A6. However, Audi doesn't plan to incorporate the S-Drive differential layout found on the A4. Europeans get a front-drive version and can opt for a six-speed manual transmission. In the U.S., quattro all-wheel-drive is standard. Its power delivery is biased toward the rear wheels.
Charting a new course: Google mapsEnlarge Photo
Inside the car, Foulk savors its sybaritic delights. Even cartographers are impressed; Google Earth maps are built into the car's navigation system. Data from those maps are able to control transmission shifting and cruise control functions. Europeans can pick from a Godiva truffle-like assortment of tempting automotive gadgets.
Foulk must calculate which ones we get.