Large sedan headed for Geneva

Audi has officially unveiled the 2018 A6 in full, just hours after images were leaked online.

As you'd expect of a new model, the 2018 A6 is larger than its predecessor in every direction, measuring 4939mm long (+7mm), 1886mm wide (+12mm) and 1457mm tall (+2mm).

The company has worked to make the car look sportier than before, with a wide one-piece grille and sloping roofline. Short overhangs, sharp creases on the flanks and a flatter C-pillar all contribute to the effect. The new design is more aerodynamically efficient than before, with a drag coefficient of just 0.24 in its most aerodynamic configuration.

Both steel and aluminium have been used in the car's construction for greater rigidity, while the front suspension strut domes, doors, boot and bonnet lids and fenders are aluminium to help shed precious kilograms.

This weight saving isn't just for fuel efficiency: Audi says the new A6 is "agile as a sports car, as manoeuvrable as a compact model." Rear-wheel steering is standard, reducing the turning circle by up to 1.1 metres by turning in opposition to the front wheels. The rears turn in the same direction as the fronts at higher speed for a more planted, stable feeling.

The steering ratio varies between 9.5:1 and 16.5:1 depending on speed, too.

Although the car will be offered with 21-inch wheels and 255/35 tyres, Audi says the A6 will be quieter and ride better than its predecessor. Four suspension tunes will be offered: a base setup on steel springs, sports suspension, an adaptive-damped setup and full air suspension.

In Europe, the A6 will be offered with two engines from launch. The petrol powertrain is a turbocharged V6 making 250kW and 500Nm, good for a 5.1-second sprint to 100km/h. It's paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and puts the power to the road through a quattro all-wheel drive system.

The 3.0-litre diesel option delivers 210kW of power and 620Nm of torque, hooked up to an eight-speed automatic.

Both engines are paired with a 48V mild hybrid system. Thanks to a smart belt-alternator starter and a lithium-ion battery, the car can coast between 55 and 160km/h, and stop/start kicks in at 22km/h – as soon as the car in front moves, the system starts the engine again.

According to Audi, the system can save up to 0.7L/100km in real-world driving.

Like the A8 before it, the new A6 is loaded to the gills with semi-autonomous driver assistance technology. The car will autonomously pull into or out of parking spaces and garages, while top-spec cars are equipped with five radars, five cameras, twelve ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner. All these sensors are managed by Audi's zFAS central controller.

Behind the wheel, drivers are faced with the same dual-screen infotainment and climate-control setup debuted in the A8. Drivers can communicate with the on-board systems using voice control, or the 10.1-inch touchscreen in the dashboard.

A 12.3-inch virtual instrument binnacle is optional, while the 8.6-inch climate control display is standard across the range. Depending on who you ask, that's great news – it looks cool, for one  – or a fingerprint-attracting nightmare.

Australia

The A6 will make its debut in Geneva, and is set to arrive in Australia before the end of 2018.