CHANTILLY, VA — An onslaught of new product is making its way into Audi AG's stable in 2002 as the division continues on its path to sell more than 1 million cars annually within the next five years.
Although the biggest buzz surrounds the new 2002 A4, there's also a new S6 Avant and a revised A6.
The A4 is new from the ground up, taking most of its styling cues from the highly successful A6 sedan, which can best be described as clean and simple.
The new A4's suspension is tuned with the sports-car driver in mind. Although it's not as rough as many true sports cars, the A4's suspension definitely isn't plush.
The front suspension is comprised of an aluminum 4-link system that is unique in its class. The use of aluminum reduces weight in the front suspension by 19 lbs. (8.5 kg).
The new rear suspension utilizes a self-tracking trapezoidal-link unit for either front-drive or Quattro models. The unit was designed around the same philosophy of the suspension system featured in the A8 and S8 models.
Audi wanted to improve the A4's agility and precision through this new suspension system, as well as driving comfort and quietness. With all of its refinements and attention to detail, the '02 A4 truly sets a new standard for Audi in its entry-level segment.
Another key product on Audi's plate is the revised A6, which receives minor styling changes, including new dual-exhaust tips, freshened rear tail lamp design and clear glass headlamps. The A6 also gets a new sport-mode setting on the Tiptronic 5-speed transmission, as well as the optional Multitronic continuously variable transmission.
The Multitronic system has no gears, which eliminates the lurches, pauses and other glitches found in a traditional gearbox. The system combines clutch-like pulleys with a flexible steel belt.
Multitronic continually adjusts to optimize performance, given a virtually unlimited mixture of horsepower and torque, driving conditions and driver inputs. Other improvements include high-performance front brakes, as well as an improved Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
On the interior, there's an optional in-dash CD changer, new wheels and bigger tires and the addition ofCorp.'s OnStar telematics.
The all-new aluminum 3L V-6 model, with the same power found in the A4, comes standard with the Multitronic transmission.
Audi has yet another vehicle that will debut in North America in 2002: the S6 Avant. The story here is power and functionality.
Audi has managed to bring to market a wagon that acts like a performance sports car. The S6 Avant offers more than 36 cu.-ft. (0.90 cu m) of storage space and is powered by a 4.2L DOHC V-8 engine that produces 340 hp at 7,000 rpm and has maximum torque of 310 lb. ft. (Nm 420) at 3,400 rpm.
All this power is mated to an electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission with Dynamic Shift Program (DSP). DSP selects automatically from more than 200 shift patterns to match driver characteristics with driving conditions.
The S6 Avant also is available with a Tiptronic manual-shifting function featuring shifting controls on the steering wheel. An all-aluminum sport suspension is standard.
New front and rear aluminum sub-frames are 24 lbs. (10.8 kg) lighter and the S6's suspension sits 0.79 ins. (20 mm) lower than the standard A6. The lower suspension provides a true sports car like ride.
The A6 Avant also features polished aluminum roof rails, dual exhaust tailpipes and color-keyed bumpers. The interior features heated front sport seats, gray birch wood trim, as well as electronic tilt/telescoping steering column, dual-zone climate control and optional OnStar telematics system.