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Car Tech Video: 2012 Audi A6
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Car Tech Video: 2012 Audi A6

7:03 /

Audi technology invades the middle class.

It's the Audi that's just about right, not small, not big unless that is you tally up the technology. Let's drive the 2012 Audi A6 3.0T and check the tech. The A6 is like an E-class. It's sort of lacks a head line. It's not small and cute. It's not majestic. It's not sporty and it's not utilitarian. But thanks to Audi's technology in the dash and under the hood, you'll feel just fine going unnoticed. Now inside this A6 is more than just a car, this is kind of an interesting time capsule. We'll look back at this car in 5 years, let's say, and say "oh, yeah, they were out in front on what every car became just a few years hence." For example, take a look at the screen. Obviously, it's central to the vehicle. It's this nice pop-up deal that comes out of the dash but they do it nicely and it's pretty sturdy when it's up. The navigation screen is out standing. It's beautifully rendered lots of good rich information, the POIs. The buildings that are there are not so much that they are going to be useful as much as contextual. Another thing on the navigation is quite as interesting as its online services. Check out the logo down there. The icon for 3G does not depend on my smartphone. That's there whether you've got a phone in the car or not because this guy has its own 3G radio powered by T-Mobile. Let's see how it works. If I go into the menu here for destination and we have the familiar Audi MMI controller we've seen a lot of times, I can look for online destinations in addition to all the usual places via Google Search. Now we're connecting up. There's the Google logo and it's gonna search up some things online live. You see it's a fuzzy loose keyword search just like you do on Google. I didn't have to specify where that turn belongs. Is it the city? Is it the name of the place? Is it first or last word? It just went to work. The benefit of this is my POI database, my points of interest, never gets stale. I'm searching live. That's a big advantage. Another of the many ways to use this system is to go browsing for a location. Check this out. It's under the Info tab instead of the Navigation tab. And on this menu, I've got current weather forecast, again grabbed online, local gas prices. You can also use that as a navigational guide, take me to the cheapest fuel. Travel information, look for landmarks. Check this out. Let's say I wanna find landmarks in the immediate area or vicinity of my destination, here's a list powered by WeFind which has a bunch of Wikimedia stuff in it and I'm able to find all the interesting landmarks in my area. I get a short description and a thumbnail photo right next to it. If I click on it, I can read the description. And then, if it's of interest to me, hit Set as Destination. Now another feature of Audi Connect is not just the built-in radio and the outgoing search that's built in to features of the interface, but also you've got a hotspot in the car. You've also got something more interesting, handwriting recognition. Check this out. If I'm on the radio playback option, these 6 numbers are my preset stations, for example. But if I go to Navigation, let's say I wanna enter a street name, I can actually start to write this down through the pad. See how it goes blank? And there we go. It's quite accurate, surprisingly so. And unlike Graffiti like if you had a palm device back in the day, there's no special characters set to learn. You just kinda write the letter the way you'd write it on paper and it figures it out. Now let's talk about your media overall. You've got AM, FM and Sirius XM blended satellite radio right now on this guy. And as you can probably see in there, as I go through some of these, a lot of HD radio stations pop up. It's HD-enabled. SD card is next. I've got the 2 slots as we saw there. DVD in the front slot here. CD only in the 6-changer in the glove box. Various devices hooked up to the AMI interface, Audi Music Interface. They happen to have an iOS connector in there right now. And you can see I've got Bluetooth streaming that comes in with Bluetooth handsfree on this car. Just about everything is in here. What we don't have is an apps platform yet on Audi. So far, there's no Twitter, no Facebook, no Pandora. None of that stuff. Now the output here, if you get a Prestige-trimmed car, the top car, you get Bose audio throughout it. If you wanna go beyond that, you can a la carte option a B&O sound package. That's like 6000 dollars. One last thing I wanna show you on this interface as we get down to the driving technology is Audi Drive Select. You've got a comfort setting. Auto is kind of a normal setting and Dynamic is your sporty setting. Then you can go to the individual one here and that's where you can customize what that does. You can change the accelerator response and how much the transmission holds each gear before it shifts to the next one that's under this one. Steering is gonna tighten up the ratio so you get a higher turn ration which is consider sportier, and the belt tensioner actually snugs you in more tightly with the seat belts. It makes you feel like you're driving faster. Now apparently engine room is to me where Audi really earns their key, 3 liter longitudinal V6. You've got supercharging and direct injection going on here. The TFSI is kind of a throw. If I see a T, I normally think turbo, not a turbo on this guy. The numbers are great while it's also a silky smooth box. 310 horsepower, 325 foot-pounds of torque, again, it's got a blower so the torque number tends to be high on a motor like that. 0 to 60 is 5.3 on a car that weighs a little over 4000 pounds and has all-wheel drive which, you know, is a lot of stuff you've gotta move all the time. And in spite of all of that, good numbers, great performance, you get good MPG, 1928 is the rating. Like just about all recent Audis, this A6 is uncannily smooth and this 3.0T version endlessly powerful in a civilized way. It's a joy to drive but not really a sport sedan like an S6 would be. For the crowd that seeks power for getting on the freeway or passing traffic, this is your Audi 6. Okay, let's price this 2012 Audi A6 3.0T supercharged V6, $51,000. Just a little bit less than that is base with destination. To go CNET style though, you've gotta get above the base model and go to the mid-model, which they call premium plus. That's gonna bring you navigation, voice recognition, handwriting recognition, all that Audi Connect technology, front and rear sensors, a rear parking camera. Now, you can tech it up way beyond that. But before you do so, you gotta sit in a dark room alone and ask yourself a very personal question, "Am I a dumb-ass and/or a lousy driver?" If you are a dumb-ass, you can spend 6000 dollars on the B&O sound system. I just don't hear it. If you're a lousy driver, you can go for all those packages that have the assistance technology, the lane, the adaptive crews, the collision avoidance stuff. Barring that though, I'm gonna go premium plus and hold it right there.

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