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2012 Audi A6 (photos)

Audi is on the cutting edge of automotive technology these days, offering very efficient and powerful engines, and cabin tech that includes Google Earth navigation systems.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Audi updated the A6 for the 2012 model year, adding new engines and cabin technology to keep it up with its latest models. As the A6 and A7 share a platform, expect the two cars to maintain similar update schedules.

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Styling updates were minor for the new A6, which retains its sedan body type. Its grille looks more integrated with the front of the car, and the bumper virtually disappears in the fascia.

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Audi offers the A6 with either a turbocharged 2-liter or this supercharged 3-liter V-6. The bigger engine produces 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque.

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The A6 is classified as a midsize sedan and can fit two in front and three in back.

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The A6 with the 3-liter engine gets Quattro all-wheel drive standard, but the suspension is fixed, without Audi's magnetic ride technology.

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The trunk is not particularly spacious in the A6, as the load floor is about level with the rear bumper.

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Audi has made excellent advances in cabin tech, and is the first company to offer a dedicated data connection in the car.

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An electric power-steering system provides boost to turn the wheel, but it feels a little too light for sport driving.

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Voice command includes Google search and being able to request music by artist name from the car's onboard hard drive.

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Audi puts a wide LCD in the middle of the instrument cluster, which shows trip data, phone, navigation, and audio.

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An eight-speed automatic transmission helps the A6 achieve fuel economy in the mid-20s. The console also holds the dial and touch pad that make up the A6's cabin tech interface, the most innovative in the business.

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The onscreen component of the cabin tech interface uses this elliptical menu structure.

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Certain performance aspects of the A6 can be controlled from the cabin tech interface.

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Audi has excellent 3D maps in its navigation system, but the data connection also allows Google Earth integration.

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The Google Earth maps show satellite imagery of the terrain through which you're driving.

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The navigation menu includes options for entering an address directly, searching the car's POI database, and looking up online destinations.

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When entering letters or numbers, such as for an address, you need merely trace the figure on the touch pad.

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The car does an excellent job of interpreting shapes as letters and numbers.

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The car uses a radio data signal to bring in traffic information, which it can use to avoid traffic jams.

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The A6 includes an excellent Bluetooth phone system, which has a very good contact database feature.

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The A6 has a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, so passengers can download data to mobile devices through the car's data connection.

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HD Radio is standard in the A6.

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The A6 offers a large number of audio sources.

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Audi makes an excellent rearview camera, which shows distance and trajectory lines. The blue areas are designed to aid in parking.

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The rearview camera can show parallel or slot parking overlays.

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