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2009 Audi A6 3.0 Supercharged Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Audi, Automotive, Featured, Test Drives

The new 2009 Audi A6 now comes with a choice of the standard 3.2 liter V6, an available 4.2 liter V8, or the all-new, 3.0 liter supercharged V6 engine.  The new A6 also gets a freshening of the front bumper/grille design, rear lighting, side mirror lighting, a tweaked suspension, new wheels, and an interior upgrade, that makes the new 2009 Audi A6 one of the most satisfying mid-size luxury sport sedans on the road.  World-wide sales of the A6 continue to lead the in total sales against the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. That’s for good reason as the Audi A6 is such a great automobile to look at and to drive.

The big news of course is the all-new 3.0 liter TFSI supercharged V6 engine with direct injection that pumps out 300hp and 310lb.ft. of torque, racing out to 60mph from a standstill in just 5.9sec.  This powerful, spontaneous and ultra-efficient engine is the new top version in Audi’s V6 engine range.  It combines two state-of-the-art technologies in perfect style-gasoline direct injection and compressor supercharging.

The brand with the four rings has a long tradition of supercharging engines.  The legendary Grand Prix racing cars built by Auto Union in the 1930’s already featured compressors, which coaxed as much as 600hp out of the mighty 16-cylinder and

12-cylinder engines.  From the late 1970’s on, Audi focused its attention on the exhaust turbocharger, which helped it to a succession of noteworthy triumphs in the world of motor sport.  It was at this time that Audi’s turbo engines began to enjoy resounding market success.

The compressor now is staging a comeback.  It is the ideal supercharging technology for the new 3.0 liter TFSI; the T in Audi engine designations consequently no longer exclusively denotes turbo versions.  All of the components are contained within the ‘V’, providing packaging benefits that cause the mechanical supercharger to be superior to a biturbo concept for this engine.  In conjunction with direct injection, it packaging, low-speed performance and dynamic response are far superior.  The compressor is so compact that it easily fits inside the 90-degree V of the cylinder banks, in place of the intake manifold.  Because it is driven by the engine via a poly-V belt, its full thrust is available from idle speed upward, producing huge pulling power during launch.  The 3.0 TFSI delivers its maximum 310lb.ft. of torque at only 2,500rpm and maintains this constantly until 4,850rpm.

The gas paths after the compressor are very short; this means that the torque is built up extremely quickly, even more dynamically that on a naturally aspirated engine of the same displacement.  The 3.0 TFSI responds quickly to the throttle, with exceptional agility and bite.  It also revs up to the maximum of 6,500rpm with playful ease, achieving its rated output of 300hp in just under 5,000rpm.

Without question the 3.0 TFSI earns top marks for fuel efficiency.  Its pulling power enables it to extend the transmission ratio, further adding to its already superior efficiency.  You’ll get a better than average 18mph/city and 26mpg/highway behind the wheel and depending how you drive, even higher numbers.

The Audi technology of gasoline direct injection according to the FSI principle was what made this trailblazing efficiency possible in the first place.  Unlike conventional concepts, it allows the compressor to be located behind the throttle valve.  In view of the low density of the intake air at loads below supercharging level and when coasting, its rotors are free-running and the amount of power required to drive them is low.

The engine’s high compression ratio of 10.5:1 also plays a big part in its efficiency.  The direct injection principle is once again the key, because the intensively swirled fuel cools the combustion chamber, reducing the tendency to ‘knock’.

The compressor of the new 3.0 TFSI is what is known as a Roots blower.  Inside of it are two four-vane rotary pistons counter-rotating at speeds of up to 23,000rpm, with an air gap between them measuring just a few thousandths of a millimeter.  The rotors can deliver 2,204.62lbs. of air per hour and force it into the combustion chambers at a boost of up to 11.6psi.  Two water-to-air intercoolers made from aluminum and connected to a separate coolant circuit are integrated into the housing.  Here, the compressed and therefore heated intake air is cooled down again in order to boost its oxygen content for the combustion process.  An extensive package of measures reduces the noise level generated by the compressor to a minimum.

The new engine itself belongs to Audi’s family of ultramodern V engines.  In addition to the standard cylinder angle of 90-degrees, their attributes include systematic lightweight construction.  The 3.0 liter version’s crankcase is made of cast aluminum/silicon, and tips the scales at just 72.75lbs.  The entire engine, including the compressor, weighs just 416.67lbs.

Audi has included a whole array of refined hi-tech features on the 3.0 TFSI.  The crankcase has been adapted to the higher prevailing pressures, and all components are frictionally optimized.  The two intake camshafts can be adjusted through 42-degrees of crankshaft angle.  In the intake ports, tumble flaps induce movement in the incoming air to promote optimum mixture preparation.

The injection system is a fundamentally new design.  A common rail system with six-hole injectors injects the fuel directly into the combustion chambers at a pressure of up to 2,175psi.  The injectors’ highly dynamic response permits up to three fuel injectors per operating cycle across an extensive range of the characteristic map.  They too, optimize the combustion process and therefore contribute to the impressive performance of the new 3.0 liter TFSI engine.

That’s a lot of technical data but the engine speaks for itself giving an instant boost when pressed hard, forcing you back deep into the seatback as you immediately zoom past other vehicles on the road.

Besides the all-new supercharged engine, the entire car has been tweaked and updated.

The stunning galvanized steel sheet metal design comes with an aluminum hood and front fenders that now sport ‘supercharged’ badges, and also gets new front bi-xenon headlamps with optional LED running lights, new foglamps, a new front bumper and a new single-frame grille design.  The near fascia gets a 2-piece rear LED light package with special nighttime optical view giving the new supercharged A6 a bolder look.

Under the skin the power steering pump operates on demand and the alternator regenerates electrical energy when coasting, thereby reducing load off the engine.

By lowering the ride by 20-millimeters and other aerodynamic fine-tuning, the drag coefficient has been reduced to 0.28 thereby making it slip through the air easier and with less noise.  Also tweaked is the sport-tuned, fully independent suspension for both increased comfort and its dynamic handling character by getting new larger-diameter, gas-filled, front-axle shock absorbers operating within an optimized valve system.  Every other aspect of the suspension set-up has been improved, including the coil spring rate.

The new supercharged A6 only comes with the 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that is so much fun to use with the ability to shift by gear using the chrome and leather-topped stick or steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.  Also tweaked is the Quattro with a newly implemented 40/60 asymmetric rear-biased setup that helps keep the tires glued to the road when taking the car to its adhesion limits.  The new wheel and tire option includes new 19X8in. aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with high-performance, low-profile tires to enhance traction and grip while maintaining a more compliant ride over poor road surfaces.

Inside the new supercharged A6 has a spacious interior with clean and elegant contours and perfect craftsmanship characteristic of this luxury brand.  The new rear seats are extremely comfortable, and the new L-shaped headrests improve your rear view visibility.  The instrument panel uses new higher-resolution graphics, and a new aluminum frame better accentuates the display (color in the optional MMI navigation system).  Tastefully-appointed chrome and aluminum trim, even on the spokes of the new steering wheel, calls attention to its overall elegance, and fine wood inlays are included.

Audi has integrated several new high-tech assistance systems, one of which is the Audi Side Assist system which helps you when changing lanes at speeds greater than 30mph, ensuring stress-free and superior drive.  Using radar sensors, Audi Side Assist is able to detect other cars up to 150ft. away.  A signal on the outside mirror lights up if changing lanes poses a threat.

The new supercharged A6 sedan is a wonderful piece of automotive design and engineering using the latest in automotive high-technology to give you the ride that you desire, when you desire it.  The supercharger gives you V8 power with V6 fuel economy, the new engineering tweaks make it even more fun to drive, while the interior boasts more sportiness and elegance, and new safety systems keep you and your passengers safer when changing lanes in traffic.  The new supercharged A6 is one of the best mid-size, luxury sport sedans on the market.

COPYRIGHT:2009:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: MSRP $50,100 As-Tested $55,725
Type:
Midsize Sedan
Where Built: Germany
EPA Class: Midsize Cars

Dimensions

Exterior
Length: 193.5 in.
Width: 73 in.
Height: 57.5 in.
Wheel Base: 111.9 in.
Curb Weight: 4123 lbs.
Interior
Front Head Room: 38.7 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 57.1 in.
Rear Head Room: 37.8 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 55.9 in.
Luggage Capacity: 15.9 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 6
Base Engine Size: 3 liters
Base Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 300 hp
Max Horsepower: 5100 rpm
Torque: 310 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 2500 rpm
Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 39 ft.

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 21.1 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 18 mpg / 26 mpg / 21 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 379.8 mi. / 548.6 mi. / 443.1 mi.

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