New Audi A6 Avant Driving Dynamics And Ride Comfort

A gain in torsional rigidity of up to 25 per cent: this advance compared with the bodyshell of the predecessor version - in itself widely praised as very robust - is reflected in the new Audi A6 Avant model's vibrational comfort, road behaviour and interior acoustics.

The rigidity of the steel bodyshell is itself the result of methodically enhanced joining technologies plus optimised panel profiles. The improved vibrational behaviour moreover lays the foundations for the harmonious but nevertheless sporty tuning of the chassis. In conjunction with the direct, extremely stable link connecting the steering column to the module subframe, this body configuration is the basic prerequisite for the precise handling of the A6 Avant.

The Audi dynamic suspension layout as featured on the new A6 Avant is based on proven sports technology: the refined four-link front suspension acknowledged as a typical Audi feature and the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension carried over from the Audi A8 - a combination used on both the front-wheel-drive and quattro models.

The result is a standard of dynamic driving behaviour that is beyond compare, plus ease of control far superior to the competition. This is also due in no small measure to the speed-dependent servotronic power steering featured as standard, supplementing the precise handling of the new A6 Avant with even more sensitive steering precision.

Available as an option: adaptive air suspension

The new A6 Avant - and, at the same time, the A6 saloon - is available with the adaptive air suspension system as featured on the A8 as an optional extra. The combination of air suspension and an electronically controlled damping system produces the perfect synthesis of decidedly sporty handling properties and superb suspension comfort.

A choice of three different characteristics ranging from very sporty to relaxed can be selected via the central Multi Media Interface MMI control element.

The automatic mode represents the perfect all-round setting. At speeds of more than 120 km/h, the body is lowered by 15 millimetres. The change in ride height produces first of all a lower centre of gravity. At motorway speeds, the lower settings in addition reduce drag and therefore fuel consumption. If the driver then slows down to less than 70 km/h, the air suspension raises the vehicle body again to its starting position.

Gentle compression and excellent long-distance comfort are the characteristics of the "comfort" setting. If the "comfort" mode has been selected, speed-dependent lowering of the body at motorway speeds is suppressed.

The performance in the "dynamic" setting is a match for steel-spring sports suspension. In the "dynamic" mode, the car's ride height is lowered permanently by 15 millimetres.

At low speeds the adaptive air suspension establishes greater ground clearance of 15 millimetres in the lift mode if the driver so wishes. This is an additional bonus on uneven terrain. At road speeds of more than 100 km/h, the vehicle is then automatically lowered to its standard height.

In all selectable ranges, the continuously variable dampers are in addition automatically adapted to the type of road and driving style.

The classic conflict between sportiness and comfort is thus overcome.

The new A6 Avant comes with air spring struts on the front wheels, with the air suspension gaiters arranged concentrically around the infinitely adjustable shock absorbers. The air suspension gaiters consist of a special, multi-layered elastomer material with polyamide to increase strength. The advantage of this design is that the thin-walled and consequently soft-rolling gaiters lend the new A6 Avant excellent rolling properties and make the suspension highly responsive even to minor jolts.

On the rear axle, the air springs and fully controlled dampers are separated from one another. The main advantage of this configuration, as with conventional suspension, is that it allows a large through-loading width and helps to keep the floor in the luggage compartment as low as possible.

The car's ride height is held constant independent of the load by fully load-bearing air springs at the front and rear.

Thanks to its concept, air suspension provides a number of inherent advantages: the occupants benefit from a constantly smooth ride at all times, regardless of the load the vehicle is carrying. This is because the firmness of the springs adapts to the load situation at all times.

Published 11 November 2004 Melanie Carter

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