Going through a phase of accelerated growth, Audi India isn’t leaving any stones unturned to add more feathers to its cap. Having claimed the top spot in the luxury segment in India, the company is now focusing on maintaining the position through regular introduction of new models. One of the newest additions to its portfolio is the A6 Special Edition (SE), which was launched to celebrate the A6 touching the 6,000 sales mark. Audi India recently organised a drive for the media in Jaipur, from where we bring you a detailed look into the A6 Special Edition.
ADAPTIVE AIR SUSPENSION
Audi follows a top down strategy for its products, which means that the technologies developed for flagship models are gradually trickled to other vehicles. The A6 SE hence gets some technologies from its elder sibling, the A8. Since most cars in the price segment of the A6 are chauffer driven, the new technologies aim at offering increased comfort to passengers at the rear seat. The most notable technology among the bouquet is the Adaptive Air Suspension (AAS) with Audi Drive Select (ADS).
The AAS allows a user to choose from four driving modes – Comfort, Dynamic, Auto & Individual. This lends greater flexibility to the consumer to make the car adapt to his driving requirement at any given point of time. The new system is claimed to offer greater comfort, while going over undulating surfaces. During the drive, the shocks could barely make their way into the cabin, especially in the Comfort mode. The cabin comfort in this mode, however, came at the cost of dynamism as body roll became evident. A quick fix is to switch to Dynamic or Auto mode as the suspension is significantly stiffer in these settings.
The SE model is available with 2 l and 3 l TDI engines only. We drove the variant with a 3 l TDI engine developing 245 hp and 500 Nm of torque. The unit was coupled to a 7-speed S tronic gearbox and Quattro all wheel drive system. The overall driving experience was impressive and the inclination towards rear seat comfort was a lot more evident than other models, barring the A8.
The suspension comprises of struts up front, which house the springs that accommodate the shock absorbers. At the rear, the system uses separate pneumatic springs and dampers. The aluminium compressor is claimed to be compact and holds more than five litres of air at a pressure of about 18 bar. Continuous Damping Control (CDC) shock absorbers are governed by a control unit, which takes into account the road conditions, driving style and the selected mode in the ADS. Based on data for these parameters, the system separately adjusts the damping force for each wheel in milliseconds.
Flow of hydraulic fluid between the inner and outer tubes is controlled by electromagnetically actuated valves. The suspension is also capable of raising/ lowering the vehicle’s body and in Dynamic mode, the switch to a lower height take place automatically. The technology also allows the body to be raised manually in order to clear speed humps and obstacles. From a technology perspective, the AAS comes as a welcome addition and will certainly appeal to those who prefer the rear seat.
OTHER NEW INCLUSIONS
A few new technologies deserve a special mention as India is the only market to receive them apart from China. That these technologies have been specially adapted to suit Indian conditions reflects the focus of the company to stay ahead of the competition. The first feature is the rear controlled electronically sliding front seat, which can be rolled to and from with the push of a button from the rear seat. This feature is only available on the A6L in China apart from India, as China too is chauffeur driven market.
Another technology included to make the rear more comfortable is the rear Multi Media Interface (MMI) remote, which can be used to control the settings on the infotainment system except those of the ADS. At the front a notable inclusion is the touchpad MMI interface, which helps the driver carry out MMI functions without having to take his/her eyes off the road. The feature is pretty simple to use and doesn’t take long to get accustomed to.
Adding further to the list of new features is a four zone air conditioning system, which can maintain the cabin temperature according to the position and intensity of the solar rays. This ensures quicker cooling in the cabin, especially at the rear. A 14-speaker Bose surround sound system offers a three-dimensional listening experience and sets a benchmark in the segment.
Customers opting for the 2 l variant too will now get the LED headlights as standard. These lights are claimed to have a lifespan of about 10,000 hours, resulting in lower maintenance expenses. Other features completing the list of inclusions for the SE model are the additional rear side airbags and the Comfort Key.
The A6 has been a strong contender in its segment since its launch and presently commands about 30 % marketshare. With the SE, the A6 now offers one of the best VFM returns in its segment. The inclusion of some segment first features should help the model strengthen its position in the market. A key positive in the case of the A6 SE is that Audi decided to offer new and effective technologies instead of celebratory badges. The Audi A6 Special Edition is available at a starting price of ` 46.33 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi.
Text & Photo: Arpit Mahendra