Audi’s 8th-generation A6 gets big technology upgrade

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

New York – Audi continues the rollout of its remade sedan stable with the introduction of the midsize, tech-tastic 2019 A6 at the New York auto show.

2019 Audi A6

The A6 follows the full-size flagship A8, which debuted in Los Angeles last winter, and the slinky A7 sedan hatchback that bowed in Detroit in January.

Like its sister sedans, the eighth-generation A6’s wardrobe looks little different than the outgoing model. The German brand’s signature hexagon grille dominates the face with more chrome brightwork and sculpted cheeks than before. The most telling change is in the caboose where the A6 – like A8 and A7 before it – connects the rear lights with a horizontal chrome line across the trunk to give the Audi a wider appearance.

The big alterations are under the skin. Interior space grows while expanding on Audi’s reinterpretation of its infotainment systems to parallel smartphone technology. Audi has already been an innovator with its configurable Virtual Cockpit instrument display, best known for its colorful Google Map-like, landscape renderings.

Gone for 2019 is the center console’s rotary dial. For 2018, it’s replaced by two touchscreens embedded in the center dash, a change that will test owners who had mastered the remote-control dial.

The upper screen controls radio and connectivity. The lower controls temperature and other cabin functions.

The smartphone theme continues with more direct-voice commands and the brand’s myAudi Navigation system, which promises a seamless hand-off from a phone’s navigation commands to the car’s navigation screen when the driver enters the vehicle.

In part to run this hungry suite of electronics, the A6 will make standard a 48-volt battery. The battery will also complement an all-new turbocharged V-6 engine for a mild-hybrid drivetrain that lends better torque as well as an improved fuel economy.

The turbo-6 replaces a supercharged V-6, though Audi doesn’t discuss the base turbo-4 that is the base engine for the current model. The suspension also gets an update.

While Audi sedans have ceded the sales crown to their SUV sisters in the German-maker’s lineup, they remain the brand’s stylistic touchstone. All-new versions of the volume-selling Q7 and Q5 SUVs have been a hit with consumers the last two years (the Q7 outsold the A6 by better than 2:1 in 2017). But sedans like the A6 are first to get Audi’s latest technology.

The SUVs will surely follow.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at or Twitter @HenryEPayne.