Vital Stats

Engine:
4.0L Biturbo V8
Power:
414 HP / 406 LB-FT
Transmission:
7-Speed S-tronic
0-60 Time:
4.6 Seconds (62 mph)
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,178 LBS
Seating:
2+3
MPG:
19 City / 26 HWY (est.)
Proof That Less Of Some Things Can Equal More.



It's been fascinating to sample Audi's new greener edition of the EA824 V8 in all of its various incarnations. Our first crack at the new TFSI powerplant with cylinder-on-demand was in Audi's own 513-horsepower S8, and we then went on to try it out in the new 500-hp Bentley Continental GT and GTC V8 models. Most recently, we dipped into the 4.0-liter biturbo in the new S7 before getting behind the wheel of the closely related S6 seen here.

Versus the previous S6 with its muy macho Lamborghini-derived 5.2-liter V10, everything is quicker, more efficient and lighter in weight. The new fourth-generation S6 Quattro with S-tronic seven-speed dual clutch comes in at a European curb weight of 4,178 pounds – about 30 pounds lighter than the previous V10-stuffed car with its automated six-speed. Yes, power is slightly lower now at 414 horses, but peak torque of 406 pound-feet is slightly higher and happens over a vastly wider range of 1,400 to 5,200 rpm. Audi's 0-62 miles per hour sprint time is now listed at 4.6 seconds, a figure that compares favorably with the outgoing car's official 5.2-second time.

For my test drive, Audi thoughtfully provided a couple of S6 four-door setups for me to sample: those with Dynamic Steering and the torque vectoring sport Quattro rear differential, and those without. You know which trim I went for already. So equipped, these S6 sedans were all painted Misano Red... an exterior color that Americans cannot get this time around. So, just visualize me thundering around Bavaria in a car painted shades of white, black, silver, gray, or blue, since those are the paint chips you'll find on the order sheet at your local dealer.
2013 Audi S6 side view2013 Audi S6 front view2013 Audi S6 rear view

Everything is quicker, more efficient and lighter in weight.

First of all, when a particularly intelligent person (Yes, I am blatantly insinuating.) goes for either this loaded Audi S6, a similarly equipped Mercedes-Benz E550 4Matic, or what have you, one's drive expectations are not about how well it manages a controlled oversteer, smoking-tire pose on your favorite run up to lover Mila Kunis' house. These premium juggernauts are generally for executives and their families, and they get used a lot year-round in areas with four real seasons. What one appreciates at this price, though, is the sophistication, the poise, the aesthetics and the ride and drive sensations. It's a pricier club, and either you want to be part or you don't. No skin off anyone's back.

I tried both this red S6 fully equipped as well as a version painted Ice Silver that was not equipped with S-calibrated dynamic steering or the rear sport differential with torque vectoring. The difference is crystal clear when you drive them back-to back. My take? You can be very pleased that North America gets a far finer base S6 than do the Europeans at the higher price.

2013 Audi S6 wheel2013 Audi S6 side mirror2013 Audi S6 taillight2013 Audi S6 badge

North America gets a far finer base S6 than do the Europeans at the higher price.

Between the evenly distributed weight typical of Audis, a default 40:60 sport Quattro torque split and standard programmable adaptive air suspension, this beefed-up A6 cannot do it much better than it does. Driven properly over the region's country roads with the S-tronic in either D, S for Sport automatic, or sequential manual mode via the console lever or steering wheel paddles, this four-door feels capable of just about anything, and it's unerringly smooth while going about its business. My preferred red tester came with optional 20-inch Rotor five-spoke wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza rubber – 255/35 R20 (97Y) all around – and over the nearly pristine German asphalt, grip was plentiful. Throttling on or off was smooth, too, the nicely wrapped three-spoke steering wheel felt great, and the standard eternally adjustable S sport seats gave me what support and cush was needed throughout the day.

The S6 also goes one better than the S7 in how it differs in height from the civilian A6/A7. Whereas the S7 sits as much as 0.8 of an inch lower versus a standard A7, the S6 sits a full 1.2 inches lower than an A6, so the dynamic feel – especially with the 20-inch treads – is more responsive.

2013 Audi S6 interior2013 Audi S6 front seats2013 Audi S6 settings display2013 Audi S6 shifter

Fuel consumption improves by 25 percent over the outgoing C6 model.

Despite the much-improved driving performance, fuel consumption and hence CO2 emissions improve by 25 percent over the outgoing C6 model. That's thanks in part to the Cylinder On Demand technology also used in the engine's other applications. Imagine 19 miles per gallon in the city and as high as 26 mpg on the highway. Those figures won't sway any greenies from prying open their hemp wallets, but a healthy 25 percent uptick is a healthy 25 percent uptick nevertheless.

Regarding the on/off camshaft action of Cylinder On Demand, to negate any potential roughness or acoustic unpleasantries, Audi has included both active engine mounts and Audi noise control. The first operates proactively to fill the frequency gaps left when in V4 mode and cylinders 2, 3, 5, and 8 take a break. The second works through the infotainment system, creating noise-cancelling sound waves. Both work as advertised – when tooling along at a modest pace, I honestly never felt like I was driving a tinny four-cylinder at all.

2013 Audi S6 engine

The United States will not be getting the new S6 Avant all-star hauler.

Whereas European buyers of the new S6 don't get many bells and whistles thrown in with the German base price of 72,900 Euros after heady taxes ($96,400 USD at the time of this writing), Americans should be able to get a very nicely equipped S6 Quattro Prestige Plus with S-tronic, a nicer interior than the Euro standard, sport Quattro rear differential, et al. for right around $70,000. The true pricing for North America will be announced prior to the start of deliveries in October. Western Europe starts getting its S6 allotment in July.

Sadly and perhaps predictably, the United States will not be getting the new S6 Avant all-star hauler. I couldn't resist driving one fully optioned, 60 cubic feet of cargo space and all. What – A – Car.

2013 Audi S6 rear 3/4 view

Some have said the RS6 will exceed even the Bentleys in power and torque.

So, given that this downsized V8 can handle so many different VW Group models so successfully, I can't help but wonder exactly how far this bi-turbo 4.0-liter can go in terms of power and torque before Audi has to broom the underrated seven-speed S-tronic in favor of something more robust. I was generally pleased by the S6's gear changes up and down, but there were occasional lagging downshifts – or cog swaps not allowed – as the drivetrain sought to overprotect itself as I entered tighter curves. Some have said the RS6 will exceed even the Bentleys in power and torque, so things could get very out of whack if the transmission doesn't at least get updated shift logic.

In the end, the S6 feels best when hot-footing it somewhere short of an all-out time attack. And you'll enjoy the drive, because the Boysen manifolds, Eberspächer sport catalysts and four Faurecia exhaust tips combine to create one of the nicest orchestrations ever in an Audi, whether heard from outside or behind the wheel. Audi Drive Select even lets the driver choose the level of engine audio, which is a nice bauble.

At first, I was concerned that downsizing from the spectacle of the Raging Bull's V10 would harm the S6's character and competence, but as it turns out... it's actually quite the overall upgrade.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 88 Comments
      ryanandrewmartin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Though it still looks almost exactly like the other models, for some reason I really like the styling on the 6.
      Sj027
      • 2 Years Ago
      NOTE to Ford Taurus and other high-riding butt offenders: THIS is how a sedan should be shaped! The sedan is probably the most proportionate and well-designed on the market today.
      KAG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice car, but for $96k 414hp doesn't sound like much. They should have gotten the car upto a even 500 to go against the other mid size super sedans.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      judgesmails
      • 2 Years Ago
      Key element here is "four season" drivability. You'd have to have a death wish to drive an M5 or E550 in northern winters.
        snap_understeer_ftw
        • 2 Years Ago
        @judgesmails
        or winter tires and attentiveness I drive a RWD car with lots of power in midwestern (harsh) winters and haven't spun out unintentionally on the road
      James
      • 2 Years Ago
      Really wish they'd do something with the rear and side profile of this car. It is getting harder and harder to differentiate the new Audis and VWs from a distance. While it does look great, I think the 550i M-Sport is a much better alternative if you have the coin.
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice. 414 hp in a body that could be confused for Camry. It's like a wolf in sheep skin.
        Lachmund
        • 2 Years Ago
        @desinerd1
        oh how toyota would be saved if they'd ever design a car like this
        Saracen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @desinerd1
        Well, that's generally how Audi does it...
          dohc73
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Saracen
          If you mean the same old same very old then yes, that IS the way Audi does it... And the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Some things never will change.
        RS4AWLEY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @desinerd1
        That's is literally how they described the RS4. However, do Audi a favour and don't use the word "Camry' in the same sentence...
      Tuga
      • 2 Years Ago
      Still think this is a better looking car than th A/S7.
      Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love everything about this car except for the price. $70k starting is simply too much in this segment. A BMW 550i starts at $62 k and actually comes with a manual option. An Infiniti M56 is a fantastic balance between sport, luxury, and also looks like a million bucks. I'd take both of them over the S6.
        Spellchecker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        "I love everything about this car " Well it has an Audi badge. Of course you love it. If it had a Benz badge you'd be ranting on how uncompetitive and ugly it is bla bla bla. You're quite a funny character, Justin Campanale. If I need to laugh I go to Autoblog and look for your posts in a Mercedes thread.
          Spellchecker
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spellchecker
          I like Mercedes', but do you see me going around Autoblog proclaiming that their products are so awesome and that _______ [insert car brand here] sucks? NO. You don't. You on the other hand take every opportunity to bash Mercedes'. Your credibility is zero and your viewpoints are often just the result of your personal bias.
          Spellchecker
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spellchecker
          Are you kidding me? You just proved to me that you have no clue. The terrible management at Daimler wasn't due to Dr. Z at all. Zetsche is one of the best, brightest and most honest managers at Daimler. If it weren't for him, Chrysler wouldn't have gotten Mercedes parts during the DaimlerChrysler "partnership". You want to blame someone? Blame J├╝rgen Schrempp. His cost-cutting minded control over the firm resulted in slashed budgets and times for R&D divisions and rushed untested products to the market. And I have no idea where your "sub-par" comments come from. Just because a C-Class or SLK doesn't drive like a BMW 3er or Z4 it is "sub-par"? Oh please. Car enthusiasts need to stop thinking the world revolves around them. BMW makes cars for specific target groups and so does Mercedes and so does Audi. Big deal. All three brands have a different philosophy as to what driving is about. And by the way, my family has been just fine with our "sub-par" Mercedes': 2002 E320 Sport W211 and 2010 E350 CGI Sport W212 - never a single problem on either. None. The E320 had a dead battery one winter after it wasn't used for nearly two weeks, that's all. These cars drive nicely, are comfortable and reliable. So your sub-par comments are really just your comments - a personal opinion that is hardly validated.
          Justin Campanale
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spellchecker
          "Well it has an Audi badge. Of course you love it" Ummmm.....no. I'm not some blind follower who loves everything Audi, the way you love everything with an MB badge on it. That's why I mentioned that it is so overpriced.
      RS4AWLEY
      • 2 Years Ago
      The L.E.D. headlights are an absolute MUST on this car - it should be standard on the S6. Quite possibly the most beautiful headlight design I have witnessed to date - they truly are a thing of beauty (L.E.D headlight package)
        Alex
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RS4AWLEY
        No, they should not - people with an actual sense of aesthetics should not be FORCED to pay for some horribly-looking, gaudy headlight design. People with no taste at all can always buy an aftermarket LED strips from eBay (or a Christmas light strips from local decorations store) and play the "Barbie doll dress-up" with their cars as much as they want to.
          Jonas
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Alex
          I just read that as "I wish I had a car that was so innovative that every single competitor has put LEDs in their lights to keep up".
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why are you talking up the loss of 30lbs on a 2 ton porker like this? And more fake engine noises. The Germans have lost their way.
        VDuB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Yea, why talk about loss of 30 lbs when the average american has an extra 50 lbs on their belly
          Jake
          • 2 Years Ago
          @VDuB
          Well, at least we bathe.
          Lachmund
          • 2 Years Ago
          @VDuB
          what should this emply? lol we euopeans prefer showering..we aren't as wasteful...sorry
      Ilovecars
      • 2 Years Ago
      In general, I am an Audi fan who applauds them for doing a ton of things right, and for making bold moves that have seen them gain tremendous market share recently. However, when I look at that photo of the 2013 S6, instead of drooling over it, I am thinking how similar it looks to a 2005 A6 that someone could have bought in 2004. That was a very bold design at the time with the large grill, etc, but now it is starting to get a little to familiar and plain IMO.
        jtciti
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ilovecars
        I couldn't disagree more... it looks a bit more classy, a bit more modern, a bit more trim, a bit more aggressive than the outgoing model, and gets even closer to perfect proportions.. When you see it coming up from behind, or in the opposing lane with the extremely distinctive LED running lights, you can't help but admire it. Whats not to like? kinda like ipad 1 to ipad 2... yes it's similar, but if you look at them side by side, you can clearly tell which one is much better. Then you compare the internal upgrades and you realize how much of a leap forward it is
          Ilovecars
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtciti
          The Ipad analogy is a good one, although I would consider the Iphone/Ipad more in the "Icon" class of design like the 911, only to be altered at your own peril. It does bring up a good point of major design changes being good or bad. I personally think the Audi's are getting more boring as everything around them changes, but I also would not feel that way if I bought a 2005 A6. For example, a car like the E class bought in 2005 looks instantly more dated compared to it's newer replacment side by side. Is that good, or bad? In the last decade the current class leader for this segment (E class) in the US had it's worst year before the redesign in 2008 with 38,000, and it's best year after the redesign in 2010 with over 60,000 units. Careful Audi...
          Lachmund
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jtciti
          i agree....they perfected the proportions. i think on the road the difference is much more noticable...i'D always take the wagon/avant though.
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