Get the early pics and early word on the next-gen Audi A6, inside.

Spies out in the field have given us the first glimpse at the next generation 2012 Audi A6.  These early pics show a new set of headlights on the car that seem inspired by the A1.

A similarity in look to the A8 is not too surprising. The next A6 is expected to also adopt a variation of the mostly aluminum spaceframe from the A8 but with greater proportions of steel.  Despite the unibody structure's light weight, it is more rigid than similar steel varieties.

Early speculation suggests the availability of 2.8-liter V6 and 4.2-liter V8 petrol engines, as well as 2.7- and 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesels.  Output should range from a low 185 hp (138 kW) to 350 hp (261 kW) on the V8.  No word yet what will replace the 429-hp (320-kW) V10 engine currently found on the S6, but we would not be surprised to see a more fuel efficient twin-turbo V8.

Now that the 2012 Audi A6 has begun testing, look for its introduction to come in either spring or fall of 2011.

2012 Audi A6 prototype spied for first time