Audi A6 Matrix First Drive: The Class Act
The Audi A6 is an important model for the Ingolstadt based as it sits firm in the portfolio with a tag of being the second most selling car in the brand’s well laid line-up. Even though it offered a long list of features and was well equipped with the best in luxury, there was some level of opposition from its closest same country peers. The going was about to get tough for this sedan until...
They decided to tidy and iron out the design for a more modern looking avatar. It, now, comes with the revolutionary Matrix headlamps which has an array of light emitting diodes. There are significant updates on the exterior design while the interiors have adopted a plusher feel to make the occupants forget the ambience outside. The list doesn’t end there as the power rating has been further bumped up along with an inclusion of a sporty transmission unit.
And to make it even more competitive, Audi is offering all of the above as standard at a price of Rs 49.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). What makes the A6 Matrix special? We reveal in our first drive report.
The essential snob appeal was there in the previous version too, just that it missed the newness compared to its rivals and to attend this concern, Audi worked on select few areas to make this facelift an important one for the A6.
Importantly, the new Matrix headlights make the A6 a totally advanced car compared to the competition as it is not just a fancy name but a giant dollop of technology poured onto this business class sedan. It makes use of 19 light emitting diodes and 4 reflectors which have innumerable combinations to self adjust according to the exterior conditions in a way not to be a sparkling hurdle for the oncoming traffic. These lights also have dynamic turn indicators that flow out in the direction in which the vehicle is turning. All of this was introduced with the A8L and has now trickled down to the A6, as part of Audi’s top down feature strategy.
There is a nose job done too as the A6 Matrix is the first sedan to sport the 3D radiator grille which will be the a signature trait feature for all next gen Audi cars. The sharper, precise and cleaner looking grille gets a surround in a chrome finish. It continues to feature the long flowing lines on the hood while the bumpers get new crease lines for a bolder and sportier look.
It now measure 4933mm in length with a marginal increase considering the newly shaped bumpers. The rocker mouldings located on the lower base along the length have got a muscular update with well defined character lines and paired with the front and rear overhang, it gives a visually longer effect than the previous model seeking inspiration from the flagship A8L. The alloy wheels are up by a size and they lend a nicer profile to the side.
To the rear, the all LED tail lights are new and so are the dynamic turn indicators. They have also brought in more flow to the lip of the boot lid, making it more aerodynamic with a spoiler like profile. Just under the registration area, there is a subtle chrome garnish to make it feel premium. Lastly, it gets trapezoidal chrome exhaust pipes. Overall, the brand new updates have really helped the A6 attain more sophistication and premium appeal.
They have retained the overall layout, look and feel inside the A6 Matrix except for making it plusher and more premium than before. The list of features has further increased and the type of leather that wraps seats has been changed to Milano, a total treat for the chauffeured class.
The front gets a natural brown inlay nicely layered on the dashboard, which they say makes the cabin feel more elegant and sophisticated, and happily we shall not disagree. The steering gets an electrical adjustment for rake and reach. It still gets multi level controls to operate various functions. There is a partial upgrade done to the instrumental cluster with a larger central MID screen, helping in a better display of navigation with an improved resolution. The satellite view is absolutely helpful and with the rollers on the steering wheel, one can zoom in and out to see destination points clearly.
Taking central stage is the 8-inch power retractable infotainment screen which also gets a modern user interface that made a debut with the A3 and was then followed in the TT. Among the numerous functions it does, there is reverse view camera, navigation, Audi Drive Select and entertainment. The jog dial, located at the central area, helps operate the screen with different buttons around just to ease up operations. This one also gets finger recognition touchpad which can basically understand finger movements and do the desired function.
Just as you thought that A6 can’t offer more, be surprised to know that there are a slew of additions such as the new voice assist system which has been tweaked further to control the infotainment system as well as read out and send messages and make telephone calls too. This system can also connect with an android or apple smart phone and sync with the phone’s voice connect, making it even more convenient.
Then there is the 10GB on-board memory to play with; enough to save songs for years together. Rest of the memory space is occupied by the brand new navigation system. And what makes the deal sweeter is the Bose Surround Sound system which reproduces audio in the ultimate way possible, making it flow out using a 12-channel amplifier 600W system; it simply doesn’t get any better.
Moving on to the seats, they still do the best job of transforming the occupants to a surreal world with the right amount of cushioning and supporting at different areas. The front seats are electrically adjustable with an option to adjust the front passenger seat using buttons on the rear door, a well thought feature which would be liked by the chauffeur class. The 4-Zone automatic climate control just adds to that feeling.
It doesn’t feature snazzy lines, as its closest rival, but the brand has always had a way of expressing its prowess using understated lines and profiles.
In case you wish to drive the Audi A6 Matrix, you will have no options to choose but the diesel as Audi is presently offering this luxury sedan in a single 35 TDI variant configuration with solo set of specs and details. That being said, it has been improved in multiple departments to make sure the A6 behaves mighty well in cities and on highways. How have they done that? If you ask, let me explain.
In terms of the engine, the A6 features a revised 2.0 TDI motor which now makes 190 hp of power and 400 Nm of torque, both of which are reasonably higher than the previous model. Also, changing cogs quicker and doing that with utmost precision is the new 7-Speed dual clutch gearbox which has happily replaced the drowsy Multitronic CVT unit. Officially, it has a claimed 0 to 100 km/h acceleration figure of 8.5 seconds and a max speed of 228 km/h, both of which are impressive for a car this size.
Getting to business directly, the TDI motor doesn’t feel any lazy to create higher numbers on the speedometer and the bump in power has made all of that possible. It might not be an exciting motor to drive around but then has a strong mid-range punch which comes in handy on highways. It makes high-speed cruising an effortless experience without any possible audible noise of the diesel clatter seeping inside the cabin vindicating the fact that this is a refined motor indeed.
Now if you have already sampled the earlier, we need not elaborate any more on the lack lustre response of the gearbox and the reason for that was the Multitronic CVT unit. Audi has decided to make things quicker in the A6 Matrix by offering the famous-for-performance 7-speed dual clutch transmission which already does an obedient work in other products. To play with the shifts, there is a new shift stick wrapped in leather and if you are in mood to do some ‘Transporter’ style driving, there are paddle shifters behind the four spoke steering wheel.
So all that power made by the motor is channelized on the front wheels only as this one misses on the Quattro, and frankly we didn’t miss it much. Driving through city traffic wasn’t cumbersome, as we had expected and it is here than one appreciates Audi’s light steering wheel. The smooth power delivery kept the motor revving at lower speeds making it easy for us to drive through. As we entered the highway, the revs got in more confident as the engine is now mapped to take over hard throttle from any point of the rev.
The 7-Speed dual clutch transmission is extremely enthusiastic to show off its prowess over the CVT. The shift quality has matured and become seamless and beautiful in nature also helping us not realise that there is a diesel motor bolted under the hood. Once off the idling speed, the motor reaches higher revs without any hassle. Quick shifts then happen between 3200 rpm and 5000 rpm where it performs at its peak best. One doesn’t even have to worry about mileage in this car as the efficiency has gone up by 5%. Yes, it might not be oceanic but then is justified considering the rise in power.
Taking care of uneven surfaces and undulations, the adaptive air suspensions are offered as standard on the A6 which acts individually on four wheels to make sure the handling of the vehicle is not compromised, no matter what the surface is. The suspensions do a great job of making the cabin totally inert of whatever is happening on the surface.
On smooth roads, it just keeps gliding until there is a corner fast approaching and you are nestled at a high speed. This one doesn’t take corners with joy and enthusiasm nor does it encourage to be driven any harder than normal. The feeling tends to diminish on straight sections where it manages to reach great speeds without creating any theatrics. There is a great deal of technology that controls the dynamics of the A6 and they do a jolly good job.
If you are still looking for more features, the A6 also gets Audi’s drive select which has four modes to choose from. The comfort mode optimizes the suspension and steering and also tweaks the shift pattern for a relaxed style of driving. The dynamic mode adds on weight to the steering wheel making it tighter while the suspensions get firm and the throttle response gets more aggressive, this is the ideal mode to squeeze out maximum performance. The auto mode combines the advantage of both the earlier modes to deliver a balanced performance and the individual mode offers independent tweaking option to adjust the steering, throttle and transmission according to the desired parameters.
|Variant||Matrix 35 TDI|
|Power in Hp/RPM||190 / 3800-4200|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||400 / 1750-3000|
|Gears||7 - AT|
|Wheel base mm||2912|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1830|
|Ground clearance mm||NA|
|Fuel tank capacity L||75|
|Tyre Spec||245/45 R18|
|Features - Audi A6 Matrix||35 TDI|
|Matrix LED Headlights with LED tail lights||Yes|
|Dynamic Turn Indicators||Yes|
|Exterior mirrors electrically folding with memory function||Yes|
|Rear lights in LED||Yes|
|Next Generation MMI radio plus operating system||Yes|
|Inlays in Fine Grain Ash Natural Brown||Yes|
|Four Zone automatic air conditioning system||Yes|
|Seat upholstery in Milano Leather||Yes|
|Bose Surround Sound System||Yes|
|Advanced Voice Dialogue System||Yes|
|Eight airbags including rear side airbags||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||Matrix 35 TDI||E250 CDI||520d Prestige|
|Power in Hp/RPM||190 / 3800-4200||204 / 4200||184 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||400 / 1750-3000||500 / 1600||380 / 1750|
|Gears||7 - AT||7 - AT||8 - AT|
|Wheel base mm||2912||2874||2968|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1830||1800||1950|
|Ground clearance mm||NA||NA||160|
|Fuel tank capacity L||75||80||NA|
|Tyre Spec||245/45 R18||245 / 45 R17||225 / 55 R17|
Why should you choose the A6 Matrix over its rivals? The only reason where it lags behind the BMW 5-Series is absolutely precise driving dynamics, which isn’t lacking behind too much but still has some miles to go before the A6 perfects it. However, it is not every day that one would need a sedan with such great level of dynamics.
The A6 offers sufficiently to tackle city traffic and highway cruising with great confidence. Also, what works in favour of the A6 is the comfort and features where in it leaves the beemer behind by a great margin. Audi India has handpicked select features like matrix headlights, adaptive suspensions and Milano leather upholstery and many others and offered them as standard to make the A6 Matrix stand taller among its competition. All of these features and options score really high for both the driver and the driven class. Taking care of all the wants in the best way possible and at the right price, now that’s a Class Act by Audi.