January 27, 2012

New high-tech option ticks all the right boxes in Audi A6 and A7 Sportback

Technophiles will welcome a new ‘one-stop-shop’ option package available for all Audi A6 and A7 Sportback models which unites nine advanced convenience and occupant protection features including Google Earth navigation mapping, in-car Wi-Fi and the Audi
pre-sense multi-level safety system. The Technology Package Advanced brings out the very best in the Saloon, Avant, allroad and Sportback ranges already famed for their technical sophistication. It costs £3,250 for A6 models and £3,750 for the A7 Sportback, saving at least £1,085 when compared with specifying the options individually.

The list of entertainment and information enhancements included in the Technology Package Advanced includes MMI navigation plus with the MMI Touch fingertip recognition system, a colour Driver’s Information System, Audi Music Interface iPod connection and a Bluetooth mobile phone interface giving access to Google Earth navigation maps and creating an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. In the A7 Sportback, this list is also supplemented by a sophisticated head-up display which projects navigation and entertainment information onto the windscreen so that it appears to float around two metres ahead of the car. 

Online services
The worldwide web expands its horizons when the Technology Package Advanced is specified for the A6 and A7. Through the Mobile Phone Preparation – High option, passengers can take advantage of online services provided by Google, such as Google Earth maps for navigation, while also surfing the internet and sending e-mail. Access to these impressive features comes courtesy of a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) module located in the MMI navigation plus head unit.

The Bluetooth online car phone incorporates a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) hotspot, and providing a data-capable SIM card or a mobile phone with SIM access profile is on board it enables front and rear seat passengers to simultaneously connect as many as eight terminal devices – from a laptop to an iPad – to the Internet, regardless of their operating system.

MMI navigation plus comprises two modules - a radio unit combining the functions of tuner and sound system and a main unit incorporating a DVD drive, two SD card readers and a 60-GB hard disk containing navigation data. One-third of its capacity is also reserved as storage for phone and music data.

Thanks to a dedicated NVIDIA 3D graphics processor the navigation system plus not only displays three-dimensional images of exceptional quality on its expanded eight-inch high-resolution colour monitor, but can even display the cover art for audio titles in vivid detail. 

Fingertip recognition
The MMI Touch system with black panel technology is the easiest route to the system’s many functions. The driver can enter a destination or a telephone number by drawing letters and numbers on the touch-sensitive control panel with a finger. The system provides brief acoustic feedback after each character so that eyes don’t have to be diverted from the road. As an alternative, advanced voice control also allows the city and street, phone number or music track to be spoken.

The Audi Music Interface conveniently integrates mobile players or iPhones into the on-board audio system, and enables tracks to be displayed on the in-dash monitor and scrolled and selected via the MMI Touch pad or control knob.

The list of less immediately visible but no less valuable features also included in the Technology Package Advanced begins with Audi pre sense plus, the most all-encompassing version of this advanced multi-level safety system.

Advanced occupant protection technology
Working closely with a host of other systems, and conveying warnings to the driver using visual and acoustic signals, Audi pre sense plus constantly monitors driving conditions and initiates preventive protective measures if its sensors detect an imminent collision. These measures include everything from tensioning of the seatbelts, closure of the windows and sunroof, and automatic cautionary illumination of the adaptive rear brake lights to full autonomous braking at up to 5-metres per second if an unavoidable impact is foreseen.

The Audi side assist blind spot warning system kicks in at 19 mph, its two rear-mounted radar sensors monitoring activity behind the car at a distance of approximately 70-metres. If another vehicle moves into its ‘critical zone’, a yellow LED display lights up in the housing of the exterior mirror. If the driver then activates the indicator to attempt a lane change, the LED display then becomes brighter and begins to blink quickly to warn against the manoeuvre.

Audi active lane assist is activated at speeds above 40 mph, and detects the markings on the road using a video camera in the base of the interior mirror.

If the car approaches a line without the indicator being activated, the system helps the driver to steer back into the lane by intervening gently in the electromechanical steering. It can also combine this with steering wheel vibration and a warning tone if required. If sensors detect an impending skid, the system can initiate counter-steering measures and boost or reduce power assistance, and if steering movements indicate a lapse in concentration interventions can also be adjusted accordingly.

The new adaptive cruise control (ACC) with stop & go function regulates the car’s speed and distance from the vehicle ahead by accelerating and braking in a range from zero to 155 mph, and brakes it automatically within certain limits. The driver uses the MMI operating system to choose between three levels and four distance modes to suit the prevailing conditions.

The ACC stop & go makes use of groundbreaking technology to analyse data from up to 26 other systems. Its key information, however, comes from two long-range radar sensors beneath the front of the car, which scan a 250-metre field, and a small video camera in the base of the interior mirror which looks ahead approximately 60-metres with a 40-degree angle.

Whether changing lanes, negotiating corners, passing or turning off, the ACC stop & go function performs smoothly and reacts decisively. Its range of application also includes stop-and-go city traffic, in which it is capable of slowing the car down to a stop. It is then able to set off again by using signals supplied by the ultrasound sensors for the park assistance system located in the front bumper.

The new Technology Package Advanced is available for all automatic six-cylinder A6 Saloon and Avant SE and S line models, and for the recently announced A6 allroad quattro. Package-inclusive prices start from £39,140 OTR (A6 saloon 3.0 TDI 204PS SE multitronic). The A6 range also includes a 245 PS version of the V6 TDI and a supercharged six-cylinder petrol engine offering 300 PS.

In the exclusively six-cylinder A7 Sportback range, all SE and S line models are available with the Technology Package Advanced, starting with the 3.0-litre TDI 204PS SE multitronic, costing £47,510 OTR with the pack included.


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