Audi, which about a month ago saw spy photos of its 2012 A6 sedan pop up on the World Wide Web, today formally introduced the model to the world stage at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, all dolled up in glossy lipstick red.
But it was the other new model beside it, in a much more ubiquitous silver, that seemed to captivate the audience as well as the Audi executives that introduced the two vehicles.
That's because the silver model - the first-ever A6 Hybrid - will pack an brand-new eight-speed Tiptronic transmission and a 45-horsepower electric motor situated between the transmission and the 211-horsepower 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine the model will share with the Q5 Hybrid.
The motor will also be connected to a battery with a capacity of 1.3-kilowatt hours. That's tiny in comparison to, say, the 24-kWh battery pack found in the Nissan Leaf, but Audi designers insist its sufficient for the front-wheel-drive A6 Hybrid to travel up to 2 miles, and up to 62 miles per hour, using electricity only.
More to the point, they said the hybrid system with regenerative braking allows the A6 Hybrid to achieve about 38 miles per gallon in highway driving.
That's not bad for a model Audi engineers claim provides V8-like performance in a very fuel-efficient package. One thing they didn't specify: Exactly when it will come to the U.S.