The current 3.0-litre turbo diesel is fitted to the A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8 passenger cars and the Q5 and Q7 SUVs - but it is expected that none of the current-generation models will see the addition of the new engine, which will likely be applied to new models as they come on-line. The new A4 is expected to be revealed at the 2014 Paris motor show in October, and should arrive here in 2015.
Audi says the 3.0-litre oil-burner will be offered in two states of tune - 160kW and 200kW - up on the previous iteration's 150kW and 180kW outputs. It's unclear what amount of torque the base engine churns out, but according to Audi the top engine can produce as much as 600Nm depending on the model.
To put that into competitive context, BMW's 3.0-litre turbo diesel in the 530d produces 230kW and 620Nm, while the soon-to-arrive Maserati Ghibli Diesel's 3.0-litre turbo diesel has 202kW and 600Nm. Mercedes-Benz doesn't offer a six-cylinder diesel, but its hybrid-backed 2.1-litre four-cylinder seen in the E300 has maximum outputs of 170kW and 590Nm.
That Merc is a headline-grabber when it comes to fuel use, with a claimed use of 4.3L/100km. Audi hasn't released official fuel use numbers for the new engines yet, but says drops of 13 per cent - meaning the engine seen in the Audi A6 Allroad, which currently uses 6.3L/100km, may now sip closer to 5.8L.
The new Audi engine scores an updated turbocharger, revised piston rings and pins for less friction, newly designed cylinder heads with separate coolant loops and revised thermal management.
Audi also unveiled a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox for front-drive models with longitudinally mounted engines. The new S tronic auto is said to reduce emissions by 10 grams per kilometre, which could equate to drops of about 0.4L/100km.