Why It Matters: The A6 is essential to the brand’s well-being, with higher profit margins than the similarly high-volume A3 and A4. Plus, the car has global appeal that stretches from Europe to the U.S. and China.
Platform: Like the 2018 A8, the next A6 and A7 models are based on Audi’s modular-longitudinal MLB Evo architecture. This highly flexible platform allows for front- and four-wheel drive and will offer a bevy of telematics and assistance systems. And let’s not forget the body variations, of which there will be four: sedan, long-wheelbase sedan for China, Avant wagon/Allroad (available outside the U.S.), and A7 hatchback.
Powertrain: The base A6 will get a 2.0-liter turbo four, with a turbocharged V-6 optional on the A6 and standard on the A7. The S6 and S7 get a twin-turbocharged V-6 with around 400 horsepower, while the RS6 and RS7, expected for late 2018 or 2019, keep the twin-turbocharged V-8. Down the road, there will be mild hybrids, a plug-in hybrid, and a diesel for the U.S.
Competition: BMW 5-series, Cadillac CTS, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS, Maserati Ghibli, Mercedes-Benz E-class.
What Might Go Wrong: Buyers in this (and every) segment are migrating to SUVs. The A6 needs to tempt people with its interior and exterior designs, high-quality materials, and performance.
Estimated Arrival and Price: Mid-2017 for the A7, fall 2017 for the A6; both will keep their current pricing position, beginning just below $50,000 for the A6 and below $70,000 for the better-equipped A7.