ALSO SPRACH ZORANTHUSTRA
On Audi and the 2012 A6 3.0 TFSI quattro
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Apr 21, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Zoran Segina A Whole Lotta Technik It is seldom to find limitations in English when translating from other languages. A notable exception is Audi's corporate tagline Vorsprung durch Technik, which literally means "Forward leap through Technology.” This phrase describes the company’s culture so precisely that it’s used throughout the world—including the United Kingdom. For the U.S. market, the phrase is changed to Truth in Engineering. Which brings a query: Why can the Albion motherland handle foreign phrases while their erstwhile colony can not?
The very name Audi is foreign. In 1909, shortly after establishing Horch Automobil-Werke GmbH, its founder August Horch got into a dispute with the board, and had to leave the company. When he started a new company and continued using the Horch brand, his former partners sued him for trademark infringement. This prompted a heated meeting between Horch and his friends searching for the new company name. The friend’s son who was quietly studying Latin in the same room suggested to call the new company Audi – a Latin translation of the verb Horch, which means listen. In 1932, Audi merged with DKW, Horch, and Wanderer, to form Auto Union. The four interlinked rings representing these four brands were used only on Auto Union racing cars in that period. The logo’s similarity to the Olympic rings brought a lawsuit by the International Olympic Committee before the International Trademark Court in 1995. The 2012 Audi A6 – a brilliantly engineered car with almost fanatical obsession to detail – is a rolling embodiment of this colorful corporate history. A mere listing of the A6 features, while unquestionably impressive, reveals to what extent we became spoiled by the add-ons that are so common nowadays as to almost be considered a standard equipment. Power windows, seats, locks, telescoping steering wheel (ho hum). Navigation system, satellite radio, keyless ignition (yawn). So here is the stuff that distinguishes the A6 as a front runner in technical innovation.
Quattro drive. Unlike its German competitors, Audi remained true to front wheel drive. To resolve the problem of torque steer with the increased horsepower, Audi invented the system that simultaneously powers all four wheels. The result is an unprecedented stability on the road in any condition. Rain slicked freeways in L.A., gravel on the parking lot near Point Dume, the A6 handles it all with nonchalant surefootedness. By choosing Comfort, Auto, Dynamic or Individual settings on the interactive screen, the driver can further individualize the vehicle’s steering, transmission shift characteristics, and engine response. An eight-speed Tiptronic transmission brings about a philosophical query - how many gears is really needed for complete human happiness? It’s better to leave the shifter in the drive mode, and let the 310 supercharged horses handle any situation with reassuring ease.
Navigation system with Google Earth maps. It is powered by the latest generation of MMI control logic through a 40-GB hard drive and an NVIDIA® processor to enhance graphics. With a push of a button you feel like you are cruising in a helicopter above the city while the diligent crew paints the streets below to show you where to go. After a drive around L.A., with every building along the route clearly visible and recognizable, the return to plain navigation map feels outright primitive. If the route is congested, the A6’s algorithms will navigate a Dynamic Route to avoid the traffic. The navigation is so advanced that shortly into a test drive this driver was surprised that the A6 did not stop by itself at a red light (an automatic distance control is an option, however.)
Electronic touchpad that interprets handwritten inputs. A driver scribbles with a finger the name of the street which is then translated onto the system. The A6 comes equipped with a voice control for navigation and telephone functions, however, this reviewer’s accent makes it exceptionally difficult to test. And for good measure. Rear view camera that shows the demarcation lines to indicate which way the car will move based on the steering wheel input – should one venture too close to anything that may scratch the Garnet Red Pearl paint, the warning beep comes from the side of the car that is in danger. Folding side view mirrors with built-in yellow blinking warning lights to alert the driver that there may be a vehicle in the blind spot behind the A6.
Hooks on the roof of a trunk for hanging bags that would otherwise get tossed around during performance driving. A small latch next to them designed to hold the spare tire cover in the open position so that the driver can use both hands to take out the jack and the spare. A SiriusXM Satellite Radio with the Traffic function and connective technology that integrates with the iPod® and iPhone®, through the glove box, providing full iPod controls on the MMI® screen – This feature allows connection of a USB flash drive or a conventional auxiliary audio input as well. And this reviewer is ready to swear that the audio output becomes louder as the speed and the ambient noise increase. Split back seats that turn the A6 into a hauler capable of stowing five and a half foot long cargo. An opening in the middle of the back seat for skis that is standard on many modern cars. A custom-sized bag into which the driver can put the skis that is not.
Meteor showers up ahead. There are very few negatives about the A6. The computerized virtual dashboard makes an acquaintance dizzy. Opening the trunk with the engine on is a more complicated procedure than it should be. One distinctly dissatisfied group - quite surprising - is my local mechanics. They claim that Audi’s desire for innovation and complex vehicle systems make the cars difficult to work on. To keep the weight down, a number of pieces in the engine compartment are made of plastic rather than metal. According to the guys, these are difficult to remove and prone to breaking when one has to do work on the engine. A technically advanced car like the A6 is complex by its very nature, and may undoubtedly require specialized tools and training. On the other hand, my local guys have had years of experience on all sorts of cars, of all vintages, both domestic and imported. For the sake of objective reporting, their collective opinion simply cannot be dismissed. The Los Angeles Times recently claimed that the Audi is the “in” car to have when visiting the hot spots in L.A. While this claim cannot be objectively verified, in Europe this is a well- known fact. There, Audi has always been the silent German car. Equally good as its better known brethren, but without the immediate brand recognition. So, by driving the A6, one can enjoy first rate German technology and luxury absent any potential adverse connotations. Which proves that Vorsprung durch Technik may contribute to curing one’s Minderwertigkeitkomplexgefühl, on our shores roughly translated as a low self esteem complex. For more information about Audi products, go to audiusa.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Audi A6 3.0 TFSI quattro Auto Tiptronic Sedan Price: $49,900.00 (base) $61,530.00 (as tested) Engine type: 3.0 liter supercharged, DOHC V6 gasoline engine with dual intercoolers, FSI® direct injection and variable valve timing EPA mileage ratings: 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway LA Car observed: 33 mpg Horsepower: 310 @ 5500-6500 rpm Torque: 325 pound-feet @2900-4500 rpm Drive configuration: Quattro® permanent all-wheel drive Transmission type: Eight-speed Tiptronic® automatic transmission with DSP (Dynamic Shift Program) and Quattro® all-wheel drive Suspension: Front five-link, twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers with anti-roll bar Rear trapezoidal-link, twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers with anti-roll bar Wheels and tires: 19-inch 15-spoke-design alloy wheels with 255/40R19 Pirelli Zero performance tires Brakes: 14.0 Ventilated disc front 13.0 in. [330 mm] Ventilated disc rear Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with anti-lock brake, electronic rear brake pressure proportioning, vacuum power assist, asbestos free linings, dual diagonal circuits. Dimensions Overall length: 193.9 inches [4925 mm] Overall width: 82.1 inches [2086 mm] Overall height: 57.8 inches [1468 mm] Curb weight: 4045 pounds [nggallery id=a6]