'We wanted the A6 to make a statement without having to shout about itself,' says Achim-D Badstbner, Audi's chief of exterior design.
'I was always looking to take design features out, not add them in, to pursue elegance.'
Although the new A6's dimensions haven't changed significantly from the current car's, the minor differences play a critical role in achieving Audi's self-stated goal of giving the car a more purposeful and sporty look.
The A6 is just over 1cm shorter than the current model, but also has a wheelbase that is almost 7cm longer. By pushing the wheels out towards the ends of the car, Audi hopes to give it a sleeker profile.
This is emphasised by creases down the side of the car that cast shadows that narrow from the front towards the back end to give it a stretched look, tricking your eye into thinking the car is smaller than it really is.
It is also almost 2cm wider than the current car. The slightly flared wheelarches emphasise this width, as do the shutlines on the bonnet, which are pushed towards the outer edges.
Exterior photos of the Audi A6
Audi A6 1: click to enlarge
Audi A6 2: click to enlarge
Audi A6 3: click to enlarge
Audi A6 4: click to enlarge
Audi A6 5: click to enlarge
Audi A6 6: click to enlarge
Audi A6 7: click to enlarge
Audi A6 8: click to enlarge
Audi A6 9: click to enlarge
Significantly, the new-look grille is also 5cm wider than before, and both it and the front headlamps are designed to give the car a wide stance by forcing your eyes to look out to the car's edges.
A similar treatment is evident at the rear. 'A car in this sector must have a strong, stable stance,' says Badstbner.
Being less than 1cm lower barely warrants a mention, and it leaves the A6 well behind the class best. This, though, is a deliberate decision. 'Having just enough space is fine after all, nobody needs to wear a bowler hat in the back,' says Badstbner.