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by Tim Beissmann

The new Audi A6 Allroad will go on sale in Australia in the third quarter of 2012.

The higher-riding, off-road-ready version of the premium mid-sized A6 Avant benefits from fresh styling, added technology and improved performance and fuel consumption.

Audi Australia’s Shaun Cleary said the A6 Allroad was on track to launch locally around the same time as the A6 Avant and the smaller A4 Allroad.

The new A6 Allroad is 4940mm long, 1900mm wide and 1470mm tall, making it around 40mm wider and giving it a roofline 50mm lower than the outgoing model. It is also up to 70kg lighter than the model it replaces thanks to the extensive use of aluminium, which makes up 20 per cent of the body. Interior load space is unchanged at 656 litres with the rear seats upright, and has grown 20 litres over the old model with the seats folded forwards (1680 litres). The A6 Allroad sits 60mm higher than the A6 Avant.

Four V6 engines from the A6 range will be available internationally: one petrol unit and three turbo diesels.

The 228kW/440Nm 3.0-litre TFSI helps the A6 Allroad launch from 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds, and uses 8.9 litres of fuel per 100km under European standards.

There are three different tunes of the 3.0-litre TDI engine, with outputs of 150kW/450Nm, 180kW/580Nm and 230kW/650Nm. The entry-level variant uses 6.1L/100km on the combined cycle, while the high-performance twin-turbo model sprints to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds. This engine is paired with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission, while the other three get a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic gearbox.

Cleary says Audi Australia is yet to finalise its new range, and is considering all powertrain options at this stage. The only model available in the current range in Australia is the 176kW/500Nm 3.0 TDI diesel, which is priced from $106,900.

Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring underpins all models. Also standard is the new electric power steering system, Audi drive select system, and adaptive air suspension. The latter allows the driver to lower the body by 15mm and raise it by 35mm at the touch of a button.

Distinctive exterior features include chunkier contrasting grey wheel arches, bumpers and sills; single-frame grille with vertical slats; stainless steel front and rear underbody protection; flattened tailpipes; and roof rails mounted on double bars. Inside, the A6 Allroad gets black carpets and a matching instrument panel, brown leather upholstery and aluminium trim highlights. The boot features a new rail system with load-securing kit, tensioning straps and a double-loading floor.

Available driver assist features include adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and side assist, night vision assistant, and 360-degree view park assist.

Australian specification and pricing details will be revealed closer to the local launch of the Audi A6 Avant later this year.