The photos more or less confirm what we stated—and illustrated quite accurately, we gotta say—back in our April story on the upcoming A6: that it will elegantly split the difference between the two-year-old A4 and the all-new 2011 A8 flagship. Notable styling features include its more laid-back stance, the upswept lower-body contour, taillights that extend onto the trunk (like those of the rest of the Audi line), and LED running lights with a checkmark graphic that is somewhat softer than the menacing diodes of the new A8. We’d like to see a sportier edge to the mainstream sedan’s appearance, but it appears that Audi will reserve the styling flourishes for the S6 and RS6 models, which will follow in subsequent model years.
We expect the next-gen A6’s engine lineup to include VW’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with the majority of cars powered by a supercharged V-6 in one of two strengths, as seen in the Q7. Although we’re not sure if we’ll actually get the RS6 in the U.S., the legendary twin-turbo V-10 powering the current car will give way to a twin-turbo V-8 pumping out something near the 10’s 580 hp. We also stand behind our dour prediction that we won’t see the Avant wagon version of the next A6—at least for a while. If Audi’s recent models are any indication, we are optimistic that the 2012 A6 will not only look good, but drive well, too. We should find out for ourselves within a year.