Despite lack of an official confirmation from Audi of America, we'd bet significant money on the arrival of the Audi A6 Hybrid in the U.S. market.
Why? Because the U.S. has the highest hybrid penetration of any market in the world except Japan, and "hybrid" means "high gas mileage" to a large number of U.S. buyers, particularly the affluent ones who buy imported luxury cars like Audis.
It's coming, trust us
So while other media have reported that the A6 Hybrid won't be coming to the States, we don't believe it for a second. And now Car and Driver has confirmed it, citing unnamed sources within Audi.
We will concede, however, that the A6 Hybrid may not come to the U.S. for the 2012 model year--which is when the rest of the all-new A6 range will be introduced here. The Hybrid goes on sale in Europe next year; it may wait until 2013 here too, to allow for fine-tuning.
When that happens, the A6 will join a very short list of vehicles on sale in the U.S.offered with gasoline, hybrid, and clean diesel powertrains. Right now, that list has only two entries: the 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML sport-utility (though the ML 450 Hybrid won't be offered in the redesigned 2012 model), and the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg.
2012 Audi A6 live photos. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.Enlarge Photo
First volume diesel in the U.S.
Thus far, Audi has offered its TDI diesels only in two low-volume vehicles: the aging A3 TDI compact hatchback, and the very large Q7 TDI full-size luxury sport-utility vehicle. The A6 TDI will be the first diesel it's fitted to a volume model in the U.S.
The 3.0-liter twin-turbo clean diesel is offered in two versions in Europe, one putting out 204 hp and the other at 245 hp, though only the higher-power engine may be offered here. Driving through the eight-speed automatic, it is expected to do 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.
Gas mileage figures for the diesel on the U.S. cycle haven't been released, and the A6 TDI may not arrive until 2013 or even 2014.
Hybrid launched in Detroit
The 2012 Audi A6 Hybrid was first unveiled at this year's Detroit Auto Show, another indication the car is U.S.-bound. At the time, Audi said it would receive a combined gas-mileage rating of 38 mpg--only 1 mpg shy of the combined rating for the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.
2012 Audi A6Enlarge Photo
The combined output of the engine and motor should be around 240 hp. A 1.3-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, mounted in the trunk, is said to provide up to 2 miles of electric range under light loads, and can run the car on solely electricity at speeds up to 62 mph. All-wheel-drive isn't offered, however.
First hybrid four
It's the four-cylinder version of the VW Group hybrid powertrain also used with a 3.0-liter V-6 in the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid and 2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid. And it's the same powertrain that's likely to power a future Audi Q5 Hybrid crossover as well.
No prices have been confirmed for either the hybrid or diesel A6, but each is expected to sticker at around $55,000.