The Audi A6 has a funky Bauhaus style that makes it stand out from its German rivals, while competing on merit with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series models. While the Mercedes and BMW models are "safe" choices, the Audi buyer is more of a psychological risk taker, more on the cutting edge and more willing to be different. In addition to distinctive styling, Audi A6 models offer all-wheel drive, selected by the majority of owners, or front-wheel drive. (BMW and Mercedes models use rear-wheel drive except for a few all-wheel drive models.) For 2002, Audi lives up to its avant garde image with a unique-at least for this class of automobile-transmission: Audi's multitronic continuously variable automatic transmission is the first to be able to handle the torque of a 3.0-liter V6 engine. That 3.0-liter V6 is new for 2002, up from last year's 2.8-liters. The multitronic transmission, available only with front-wheel drive, replaces the gear ratio steps of a conventional automatic with a computer-controlled steel belt and pulley system for smooth, shift-free operation.