Look. Closer. More closely. Very closely… Do you see it now?
Finding the differences between the old and the refreshed A6 and A7 Sportback models from Audi had me at sixes and sevens (yes, pun intended).
They’re there, for sure but you have to be a real car fundi or an Ingolstadt fanatic to spot them.
So, let’s list ’em:
The design of the now chromed singleframe grille is slightly different, the headlights now resemble those on the TT, and with close scrutiny you’ll pick up the differences in air inlets and bumpers as well.
Walking around the latest Four Rings premium C-segment contenders you’ll also pick up slight changes to the side sills and rear lights, but the most obvious difference is at the rear – the new flattened, rectangular tailpipes (they were round before).
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Audi A6
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Audi A7 Sportback
Besides these changes, what else is different on the facelifted A6 sedan?
Well, Audi has thoroughly updated the range with new engines and transmissions to now include three TFSI units with output ranging from 140kW and 331kW and two TDI units.
At the launch in the Western Cape only the new 1.8T FSI and the S6 was available. They will be followed by the 3.0 TDI 160 kW S-tronic in June, with the 2.0T FSI quattro S-tronic to be introduced in July, followed by the 2.0 TDI S-tronic towards the end of 2015.
All multitronic CVT transmissions available in the previous models have now been replaced by the S-tronic, and it will also be the first time that the Audi A6 will be available with a four-cylinder 1.8T FSI engine.
The engine, which replaces the 2.0T FSI, produces more power (140kW) and the same amount of torque (320Nm). Its combined fuel consumption is claimed at 5.8 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 138 g/km.
The 3.0 TDI engine (available in June) produces 160kW and 400Nm of torque, has a combined fuel consumption of 4.8 litres/100km and low CO2 emissions of only 124g/km.
The flagship 4.0 TFSI with bi-turbo V8 now producing 331kW (versus 301kW for the previous model) accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, consumes 9.2 litres per 100 km (according to Audi) and emits 214 g/km of CO2.
Standard equipment in the new S6 includes LED headlights, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and the adaptive air suspension, which lowers the body by 20 mm.
Infotainment configurations range up to MMI navigation plus with MMI touch. The top-of-the-line system now has a new technology platform that uses the Tegra 30 graphics chip from Audi's partner Nvidia.
A wide range of driver assistance systems are now available, including adaptive cruise control with stop & go function. Audi side assist (which uses radar sensors to check blindspots when changing lanes) and Audi active lane assist.
IMPROVED NIGHT VISION
Its night vision assistant now includes more functions, and the Audi pre-sense basic safety system is available as an option, while customers can now also specify the A6 with a head-up display system.
The Audi A6 1.8T FSI, 2.0 TDI and 3.0 TDI are now equipped with Xenon plus headlights, a USB interface and 18-inch V-design alloy wheels.
In the 2.0T FSI quattro S-tronic front electric seats with memory function for both, 19” alloy wheels and a parking system with reversing camera are added, while the S6 4.0T FSI quattro S-tronic now features LEDs.
REVISED A7 SPORTBACK
The refreshed Audi A7 Sportback, spiritual successor to the Audi 100 Coupe of 1968, now has LED technology headlights and dynamic turn signals at the rear, while LED headlights and dynamic turn signals at the front are available as an option.
Its front seats can now be optionally equipped with ventilation and massage functions, while the standard MMI radio operating system can be supplemented with a head-up display and night vision assist system.
The Sportback is now available with a choice of five powerful engines: two petrol and two diesel units with power output ranging from 200kW to 412 kW.
The entry engine is the 3.0 TDI quattro S-tronic (200kW and 580Nm of torque) with a claimed combined fuel consumption of 5.2 l/100km and CO2 emissions of 136 g/km.
The 3.0 TDI bi-turbo engine (235kW/650Nm) is mated to an eight-speed tiptronic, while all the other engine derivatives are coupled to seven-speed S-tronic gearboxes.
The petrol driven 4.0T FSI is uprated to deliver 331kW and 550Nm of torque, propelling the Sportback to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds.
412KW RS7 SPORTBACK
In RS7 Sportback form it still provides 412kW with 700Nm of torque at engine speeds between 1 750 and 5 500 rpm, catapulting the five-door coupé from 0 to 100 km/h in only 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 305 km/h with the optional dynamic package.
New standard equipment in the A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI quattro S tronic (200 kW) now consist of a three-spoke multifunction leather steering wheel, 19-inch five-spoke V-design wheels, LED headlights, Advanced key (Keyless entry), Audi music interface with USB integration and inlays in brushed aluminium.
Standard equipment in the 3.0 TDI BiTurbo now include 20” five-spoke W-design wheels, a leather-covered, multifunction sports steering wheel, in 3-spoke design with shift paddles, while the S7 Sportback 4.0T FSI quattro S-tronic (331kW) now comes with 20” Star design alloy wheels.
ON THE ROAD
On the launch route the twin-turbo mill of the A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI BiTurbo quattro S-tronic (what a mouthful) really impressed with its quiet demeanour and seamless power delivery.
While not as mighty as the RS the diesel derivative’s ample torque makes it highly drivable, further enhanced by its super smooth eight-speed transmission and its solid chassis that combines sporty precision with high comfort levels.
Its quick too, Audi claiming it will go from 0 to 100 km/h in only 5.2 seconds while only sipping 6.1 litres per 100 km of fuel and emitting 162 grams per km.
We also sampled the new entry-level A6 1.8T FSI and thanks to its weight of only 1 535 kg it felt nimble and lithe in the corners. Still, it did suffer from turbo lag and the power plant needed some winding up to get the best out of it.
While the differences may not be very noticeable there’s no denying that, especially with the addition of the new S-tronic transmission, the latest incarnations of Audi’s A6 and A7 Sportback models just build further on a very solid foundation.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Audi A6
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Audi A7 Sportback
Only the A6 1.8T FSI and S6 4.0T FSI quattro are available now.
Prices for the entire A6 range: Some models yet to arrive locally
A6 1.8T FSI 140 kW S-tronic - R601 000
A6 2.0TDI 140 kW S-tronic - R631 500* (Nov 2015)
A6 3.0TDI 160 kW S-tronic - R689 000 (June 2015)
A6 2.0T FSI 185 kW quattro S-tronic - R749 500 (July 2015)
S6 4.0T FSI 331 kW quattro S-tronic - R1 054 500
Prices for the A7 range:
A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI quattro S-tronic - R943 500
A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI BiTurbo quattro S-tronic - R1 040 000
S7 Sportback 4.0T FSI quattro S-tronic - R1 176 500
RS7 Sportback 4.0T FSI quattro S-tronic - R1 596 000
All prices are inclusive of VAT and five-years or 100 000km Audi Freeway Plan.