FrontRunners: Audi 6 Upgrade

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For the $52,000 purchase price of the longer and larger 2005 Audi A6 (www.audi.com), you can acquire a vehicle that is nearly indistinguishable from the haughty and much more expensive Audi A8. Both cars are powered by 4.2-liter, 335 hp V-8s, and the 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual that was once an enticement to buy the big A8 is now standard on the A6. Other luxury legacies from A8 to A6 include keyless entry, collision-avoidance radar mated to cruise control, and fore, aft, and side sensors to assist drivers with parking.
 
The A6, which will be available in the United States in November, features a redesigned, large, and deep trapezoidal grille with four rings—symbolizing the corporate quartet that became the original Auto Union combine—the size of dinner plates. Some will describe it as aggressive, powerful, and quite daring, while others will say that it suggests either a lobster bib or a starched dickey. Despite narrow side windows more suited for a coupe than a sedan, the car appears puffed up and borderline bulbous. But the shape is pleasing—maybe even aggressive, powerful, and quite daring.

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