Nuts & Bolts: 2012 Audi A6 3.0T

November 12, 2011

Bottom line: Some of my critics are demanding that I prove that a car is as good or as bad as I say. They want comparative performance scores from the racetrack — as if scores reached one day will stand up in the same test of the same car the next, as if physical items are free from physical decline. That’s silly. Drive the A6 3.0T. See for yourselves. You’ll see that I’m right on this one, too.

Ride, acceleration and handling: The new A6 3.0T is noticeably better than its predecessor in all three, and its predecessor was no slouch. The new model gets “excellent” marks in all three — exemplified by a stronger launch from “stop,” a torque width that maintains admirable tumescence at high speeds, and super-crisp handling.

Head-turning quotient: With dramatically sweeping LED headlamps, muscular side panels and an attractive rear, it is one of the most fetching Audi models ever.

Body/layout: The 2012 Audi A6 3.0T is an all-wheel-drive (“Quattro” in Audi nomenclature) luxury midsize sedan with a body made mostly of aluminum. A6 refers to Audi size and marketing category. The 3.0 designation refers to engine displacement size (the amount of fuel and air that the combustion chambers can handle, three liters). The “T” is the designation for turbocharging (a method of pulling more air into the engine while minimizing fuel consumption).

Engine/transmission: The car comes with turbocharged, gasoline-direct-injection, 24-valve 3-liter V-6 with variable valve lift and timing (325 foot-pounds of torque, 325 horsepower). The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that also can be operated manually.

Capacities: It has seating for five people. With the rear seats folded up, cargo space is a rather unremarkable 14.1 cubic feet. That space expands considerably with the rear seats folded down. Fuel-tank capacity is 19.8 gallons. Warning: Use premium grade only to avoid earlier-than-needed engine repairs.

Mileage: You get 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway — and remember that you’re paying for expensive premium fuels. But the A6 models are not designed primarily for fuel economy.

Safety: Standard equipment includes ventilated front and rear disc brakes, emergency braking assistance, all-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, side and head air bags, and passenger whiplash-protection system.

Price: The base price for the 2012 Audi A6 3.0T is $49,900. Dealer’s invoice price is $46,408. Price as tested is $64,870. Including $14,105 in options (highlights: onboard navigation, Google mapping, real-time traffic monitoring, Audi Connect emergency communications system with three-month free subscription, Bang & Olufsen advanced sound system) and an $875 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $60, 394. You can knock about $2,200 off the purchase price. Hint: Bargain on the cost of options.

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