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A6 Hybrid Unveiled in Detroit

2012-audi-a6-hybrid-photo.jpgAudi surprised many industry experts by unveiling the 2012 Audi A6 Hybrid sedan at the North American International Auto Show.

The company was expected to introduce the gas powertrain 2012 A6; rolling out the A6 Hybrid was big news. “Many people didn’t expect a hybrid model to debut alongside [the new A6 sedan],” CNet reported.

The 2012 Audi A6 Hybrid is designed for the U.S. and European markets. The car features a gas-electric hybrid powertrain that combines Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected gasoline engine with an electric motor. The combination delivers a combined 245-hp.

The A6 Hybrid has an estimated fuel economy of just under 38 mpg. The hybrid powertrain uses an 8-speed automatic transmission. The transmission sends power to the front-wheels. (Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system is not available in the hybrid model.)

The A6 Hybrid can operate in gas-alone mode, electricity-alone mode, or a blend of two. When running only on electric power, Audio claims the A6 has a maximum speed of 62 mph, accelerating to that speed in about 7.3 seconds. The car’s range on electrical power alone is only about two miles.

All cars in the A6 line (hybrid and gasoline versions) have a new body built of aluminum and high-strength steel. Road & Track reported that this combination “makes the car 15 percent lighter than a comparable one made entirely of steel.”

Audi claims that it made a great effort to maintain similar looks to both the gas and hybrid versions. According to Autoblog.com, “Audi officials say they have gone out of their way to keep it aesthetically true to the conventional gas-powered model.”

Maybe they shouldn’t have tried so hard. Some were not impressed with the looks of the car. When Car and Driver editors got a look at the newly designed car last year they reported “we couldn’t help but feel disappointed…the exterior underwhelms.”

The car’s interior is another story. “The interior is arguably best in class.” said the same Car and Driver editors. The Audi A6 has real wood veneers, leather seats, and many other amenities a driver (and passenger) would expect in a luxury car.

As is the case with other Audi models, the A6 features a high-end infotainment system. The Audi Multi Media Interface (MMI) system supports navigation, communication, and entertainment features. Information is presented through an MMI display in the center of the dashboard. In particular, the A6’s MMI Navigation-plus system offers HD radio reception and a color display that provides real-time traffic and 3D topography graphics that include the buildings in many cities.

The Audi A6 Hybrid is expected to go on sale in the second half of 2011. No pricing information is available at this time.

> View a WorldCarFans.com photo gallery of the Audi A6 Hybrid here.
> View a CNet video tour of the Audi A6 interior here.

By Jeff Carey

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