The Audi A6 competes in the mid-size sport sedan category with worthy rivals such as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Redesigned for the first time since 2004, the 2012 version sets itself apart with improved handling and performance as well as new exterior and interior styling. The most meaningful addition for fleet buyers is a four-cylinder base engine that boasts a combined fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon.

Audi’s new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four, which can also be found on the base A7, delivers 211 horsepower at 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The OEM says the 2.0 can take the A6 from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. Not fast enough? Have no fear: The prior generation’s supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 is back and better than ever. The bigger engine uses its 310 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque to get up to speed in 5.2 seconds.

Only the 3.0 versions of the new A6 will come equipped with Audi’s vaunted Quattro all-wheel drive system, but the manufacturer says that with improved front- and rear-suspension systems and a slightly longer wheelbase, the handling has been upgraded across the model line.

The stretched wheelbase is apparent in the A6’s new exterior. The front wheels are pushed forward, creating a more aggressive stance, and the bigmouth grille and trapezoidal headlights fall in line with those of the A8, which also underwent a redesign for the 2012-MY. Fleet buyers might appreciate the option to experiment with LED headlights, which carry a higher price tag and replacement cost than halogen or xenon but last much longer.

The interior has garnered rave reviews for its fit and finish and intuitive placement of everything from knobs and buttons to the infotainment screen, which features Audi’s MMI user interface. Among other available upgrades are a choice of ash wood or brushed aluminum finish and a $5,900 Bang & Olufsen stereo system; satellite radio and Bose audio are standard.

With all the extras, a new A6 can be a nearly $80,000 investment. But the bargain models start below $42,000, and it’s a lot of car — plus a good amount of fuel efficiency — for the money.

Originally posted on Business Fleet

Tariq Kamal

Tariq Kamal

Contributing Editor