Here's everything you wanted to know about the new Audi S6, courtesy of our man in Cobo Hall, Chris P. Lots of info and pics after the jump, as soon as I stop drooling...
Official Press Release:
Audi S6 / S6 Avant
A refined flow of power in conjunction with superlative comfort and an elegantly understated appearance: this is the new Audi S6 / S6 Avant. It is the sporty top model in the luxury-class family of models comprising the Audi A6 saloon and A6 Avant, which took the market by storm following their launch in 2004 and have since garnered countless accolades worldwide from both customers and experts within the trade.
The S6, the latest product to result from the systematic application of Audi's philosophy of sportiness, will go on sale in the spring of 2006. Its appearance will coincide with the launch of the S6 Avant, the estate-car version that combines the exemplary versatility and variability of an Avant with the decidedly sporty character of the new Audi S6.
In response to the challenge to deliver supreme performance that always remains perfectly under control, the new Audi S6 will be powered by a completely new ten-cylinder V-configuration engine. This engine, a virtually identical version of which is likewise fitted in the new Audi S8, makes maximum use of its resources: with a displacement of 5.2 litres, it mobilises an output of 420 bhp (309 kW) at 6,800 rpm. It reaches its peak torque of 540 Nm between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm. Between 2,500 and 5,500 rpm, torque of over 500 Nm is available. This engine, weighing only 220 kilograms, is thus able to guarantee superior pulling power in every driving situation.
FSI petrol direct injection, a principle that has proved its worth in the most successful racing car ever built, the Le Mans winning Audi R8, plays an instrumental role in this model's refined flow of power. The saloon is capable of racing from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds (S6 Avant: 5.3 seconds); the top speed is electronically governed to 250 km/h.
Both the driveline and the steering and suspension have been modified to reflect the immense power potential of the new Audi S6. The six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission, supplied as standard, accomplishes swifter gear changes; the steel-spring suspension is configured for greater agility and a more direct response, as is the servotronic steering. The latest-generation quattro permanent four-wheel drive with a 40:60 torque split naturally ensures optimum propulsion in all conditions. Thanks to this concept, the new Audi S6 sets itself apart as the progressive alternative to all its competitors.
One of the key requirements in the development of the Audi S6 was to provide a high standard of comfort in every situation, for all its sporty emphasis. This vehicle consequently also demonstrates over long distances that there is no inherent contradiction between refined power and the scope for the driver and passengers to enjoy a highly relaxing form of travel.
The interior offers a luxurious atmosphere. It features, for instance, new sports seats complete with integral head restraints, exclusive leather/Alcantara upholstery on all five seats and deluxe automatic air conditioning plus, with separate temperature distribution for the driver's and front passenger's sides.
For all the uncompromising and methodical nature of the technical concept, the external appearance of the Audi S6 is decidedly understated and elegant. The
S6 saloon is characterised by such features as 19-inch wheels, subtly flared front wheel arches, the striking single-frame grille with vertical double struts and a harmoniously integrated rear spoiler, and the Avant has a modified roof spoiler.
The two daytime running light strips, each comprising five LEDs, are both a trendsetting safety element and an innovative masterstroke of design; they are integrated into the front bumper and, when switched on, serve as an unmistakable distinguishing feature of the S6.
Newly developed V10 with FSI technology and ample torque characteristic
Ten-cylinder petrol engines have long been regarded as a particularly sporty type of power unit. In the form of a V-engine they are short, compact and correspondingly light. The number of moving parts required for ten cylinders is moreover relatively low, bringing the added bonus of low friction losses. It is no coincidence that the Gallardo super sports car built by Lamborghini – an Audi subsidiary – is driven by a widely acclaimed V10 engine. The V10 in the new Audi S6 is a completely new engine which first appeared in the Audi S8 and has now been specifically retuned for use in the top model of Audi's luxury class.
Its ten cylinders are divided into two cylinder banks arranged at an angle of 90 degrees to each other, and each with two overhead camshafts (DOHC principle); the spacing between cylinder centres is 90 millimetres – one of the reasons why this 220-kilogram, four-valve engine is so compact. A special intermediate frame reinforces the cast aluminium crankcase.
The bore is 84.5 millimetres and the stroke 92.8 millimetres, producing a swept volume of 5,204 cc. With its crankpin offset of 18 degrees, the V10 fires at an ideal spacing of 72 degrees crankshaft angle. A balancing shaft located between the cylinder banks eliminates the free inertial forces of the first degree and contributes equally towards the engine's notable refinement.
All four camshafts are adjusted continuously through 40 degrees crankshaft angle depending on load and engine speed, thus optimising filling of the combustion chambers and consequently enhancing the power output. The camshafts are driven by no-maintenance chains and actuate the total of 40 valves via roller cam followers. The task of engine management is handled by two separate control units.
The V10 in the new Audi S6 uses FSI petrol direct injection. This permits a high compression ratio of up to 12.5:1 and therefore a highly efficient combustion process. The injection system delivers the fuel directly into the combustion chambers in precisely metered amounts, at a pressure of up to 100 bar.
The two-stage magnesium variable intake manifold incorporates electronically controlled tumble flaps; these induce a swirling movement in the air drawn in.
Innovative FSI technology has impressively demonstrated its potential in motor sport – the R8 racing car equipped with it participated five times in the Le Mans 24 Hours for Audi, winning the race on four of those occasions.
The powerful ten-cylinder engine is designed not simply with power in mind, but to an even greater extent for impressive torque. It achieves 420 bhp at 6,800 rpm, but delivers the peak torque of 540 Nm at engine speeds ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm. Over 500 Nm of torque is on tap between 2,500 and 5,500 rpm. The engine exhibits spontaneous throttle response and very refined running, and under load it also produces sonorous acoustics, as befits this dynamic car.
The engine gives the Audi S6 the road performance of a high-calibre Gran Turismo. The Audi S6 saloon is capable of racing from 0 to 100 km/h in
5.2 seconds, and the S6 Avant takes a mere one-tenth of a second longer. The speed is not governed electronically until the needle reaches 250 km/h.
The engine consumes an average of approx. 13.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.
The S6 weighs 1,910 kilograms (S6 Avant: 1,970 kg), including the dynamic, sure-footed quattro permanent four-wheel drive. Every horsepower consequently has to propel just 4.55 kilograms (S6 Avant: 4.69 kg) – the power-to-weight ratio of a top-notch sports car.
More direct for even greater dynamism
The entire drivetrain of the Audi S6 has been designed from scratch. The engine's power on the S6 is translated into locomotion by a six-speed tiptronic as standard, which adapts to the driver's style by means of an intelligent feature. The software program that controls this automatic transmission electronically has been optimised to deliver more dynamic gear changes compared with other Audi models; the gear changes are noticeably swifter.
The driver can call up the transmission's "S" sport mode via the selector lever – it still performs upshifts even at relatively high engine speeds. And it is possible to change gear manually in both modes by means of the aluminium-look shift paddles mounted to the steering wheel. The selector lever has an aluminium look and – like the steering wheel – is trimmed in smooth leather.
The servotronic steering with its variable ratio has a more direct response than in the A6. This, too, results in even more agile handling.
Power and control
Typically for an Audi, the new Audi S6 likewise takes quattro permanent four-wheel drive as its basis. Its virtues are already widely acknowledged: superior traction in all driving conditions. More than a quarter of a century of expertise acquired in this domain by the Ingolstadt-based brand has led to the development of a new quattro generation with asymmetric/dynamic torque split – further evidence of Audi's guiding principle of "Vorsprung durch Technik".
A centre differential, installed longitudinally in the driveline, distributes power between the front and rear wheels, always according to the prevailing situation. The split in the basic setting is 40 percent to the front wheels and 60 percent to the rear. This slightly rear-biased torque split has been chosen to place even greater emphasis on the sporty, dynamic character of the Audi S6.
If the surface conditions change – for instance if they are wet or slippery, or if the car is driven onto a different type of road surface – the purely mechanical differential responds without any delay; depending on the road situation at any given moment, it can divert up to 85 percent of power to the rear wheels or as much as 65 percent to the front wheels. If a wheel on one axle spins (wheel slip), it is moreover brought under control by the Electronic Differential Lock EDL, which applies the brakes.
The electronic stabilisation program (ESP) shuts down in two stages: when the ESP button is pressed once, only the ASR traction control system is deactivated; ESP remains active, to stabilise the car if needed. The instrument cluster briefly displays "ASR off" and the ESP symbol remains permanently lit. This mode stays active in the S6 until ASR is switched back on by pressing the ESP button a further time. On the S6, ASR does not cut in automatically once a defined speed is exceeded (as is the case on the A6 / A6 Avant). If the ESP button is pressed for longer than three seconds, all ESP functions are switched off. Only the electronic differential lock EDL and ABS remain active. Pressing the ESP button a further time switches all ESP functions on again. As a result, the desired degree of electronic assistance can be determined by the driver via the ESP button. Without ASR traction control, the degree of stability can, within certain limits, be determined by the driver via the accelerator pedal. This permits a decidedly sporty driving style if desired.
The drivetrain concept of the new S6 always ensures that the enormous forces generated by the V10 engine can genuinely provide efficient, minimal-loss propulsion, something that vehicles with one driven axle only rarely achieve. It is consequently able to develop and use high levels of power all the time.
Firmer and more spontaneous
The dynamic suspension layout of the new Audi S6 is based on a technology that has already demonstrated its sports calibre in the most challenging of conditions: the refined four-link front suspension acknowledged as a typical Audi feature and the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension carried over from the Audi A8. This combination gives the S6 one of the most complex and efficient rear suspension layouts currently available. In terms of its kinematic behaviour, this technical treat already provides a foretaste of the sporty, active characteristics of the Audi A8 – measures that enhance directional stability, steering precision and handling convenience. The entire layout is designed in such a way as to produce a neutral response with a moderate tendency to understeer when the very high limits of handling are approached.
The principal components of the chassis feature lightweight aluminium construction, resulting in decisively lower unsprung masses. The targeted use of sheet steel, on the other hand, achieves optimum rigidity wherever it is required. In selecting specific materials and manufacturing methods for each individual suspension link, Audi's engineers have been able to ensure that the chassis represents an optimum blend of low weight, high rigidity and safety.
As a reflection of its explicitly sporty character, the suspension settings of the S6 have been made firmer, even compared with the A6 sports suspension, and at the same time assures a high standard of comfort for long-distance driving. As the elastokinematics have likewise undergone comprehensive modifications, the
Audi S6 is always noticeably more agile; meanwhile, driving stability and traction have been further optimised.
The Audi S6 is equipped ex works with 19-inch cast aluminium wheels of a 5-arm wing design. The wide tyres are of size 265/35 R19. An 18-inch brake system assures supreme braking performance and is resistant to fading even under high loads.
Its four large discs are ventilated, the discs on the front wheels measuring 385 millimetres in diameter and those at the rear measuring 335 mm. The brake calipers are painted black, and are adorned with an exclusive S6 badge at the front.
Supremely athletic presence
The models in Audi's S range have traditionally epitomised systematic sports appeal. This applies in equal measure to the new S6, which now dynamically hones the visual impact made by the A6. These models are renowned for their inherently light and elegant character – their very distinctive aesthetic appeal reflects their exceptional status as sports models in the luxury class.
The S6 cuts an even more supremely athletic figure out on the roads – but without even the slightest hint of aggression. The most striking differences are to be found at the front end. The eye-catching single-frame grille displays the S6 emblem, and its vertical aluminium-look struts are of a double design by way of further differentiation. There is an air inlet beneath the grille. A spoiler lip at the front end of the car provides an additional sporty highlight.
Another innovation in the front bumper is a pioneering development in terms of both safety and style: the separate LED daytime running lights, each of which consists of five white light-emitting diodes and consumes only a minimal amount of energy. When these light strips are switched on, the effect is utterly distinctive: they make it incredibly easy to identify the new Audi S6, and the low-down position of the daytime running lights gives the car a dynamically flat appearance. To accommodate this concept, the fog lights have been incorporated into the main headlights, the covers of which are tinted grey. Xenon plus headlights are provided as standard; Audi adaptive light with dynamic cornering light is optional. The rear light units incorporate LED brake lights as standard, and the
S6 Avant in addition has tail lights using LED technology.
The front wheel arches are flared by 14 millimetres. The door trim strips are likewise wider, to accentuate the “S” characteristics, and are painted in the body colour. Other striking differentiating features are door sill trims bearing the S6 logo at all four doors, the rear spoiler integrated subtly into the luggage compartment lid – whereas the S6 Avant has a roof spoiler – aluminium-look exterior mirrors, the V10 emblem at the front beneath the side turn indicators, and an S6 logo on the rear end. The vehicle's tail end also displays a colour-contrasting diffuser in the bumper and the four ellipsoidal tailpipes of the exhaust system, with its notably sporty acoustics.
Luxury and refinement in detail
In the same way as the body's styling, the interior of the new Audi S6, too, reflects a character of dynamic elegance and high quality – from the architecture of the driving area that surrounds the driver to the Audi MMI user interface (Multi Media Interface), which remains unequalled by any competitor thanks to its logical, intuitive operating principle.
The luxurious interior of the S6 features specific highlights. For instance, there is a new generation of sports seats. They have integral head restraints and pronounced lateral supports, and are upholstered in Alcantara/Leather; Silk Nappa leather is available as an option. The front seats are electrically adjustable in multiple directions as standard, and include a lumbar support. The three rear seats, which display the same material, are equipped with L-shape head restraints which afford a better view to the rear.
The three-spoke multifunction leather sports steering wheel with the S logo is a typical example of the hand-crafted character that Audi so often achieves in its attention to detail: it is trimmed in smooth leather and displays a colour-contrasting double seam with a special seam pattern.
The shift paddles, which are mounted to the steering wheel (in other words, they move as it is turned), have an aluminium-look finish. The selector lever, too, has an aluminium look and is trimmed in smooth leather.
Carbon fibre is used as the material for the applications. The material on the instrument panel represents a further innovation in the S6: it goes by the name of "Flexmetallic" and correspondingly exhibits an anthracite-coloured metallic surface characteristic. Anthracite is also the predominant colour featured on the other sections of the instrument panel. The centre console, on the other hand, is in black.
The instrument needles and numbers are in white, using characteristic S-style italics; the dials are in dark grey.
The standard Driver Information System DIS has an additional digital speedometer in the new S6. The Audi MMI with 7-inch monitor in the cockpit is likewise included as standard. There is a welcome screen customised specifically to the S6. The MMI furthermore integrates the extended-specification radio system with double tuner and the DSP sound system with ten speakers and a
CD changer in the glove box. The optional tyre pressure monitoring system displays the pressure and temperature of each tyre individually in the S6.
Audi is likewise innovative when it comes to phoning in the car: the new optional telephone system combines all the advantages of a built-in phone with those of the mobile phone preparation. The mobile phone is connected up to the vehicle’s own GSM module by means of Bluetooth interface. This renders an adaptor-type connection unnecessary and the driver can leave their mobile phone in their pocket while on the move. Operation of the Bluetooth car phone is likewise via the MMI system. A handset in the centre armrest can also be supplied as an option.
Whereas the high standard of active safety of the new Audi S6 stems principally from its superior engine power, pioneering quattro four-wheel drive and ESP, the sporty range-topping model also boasts a full complement of passive safety systems. This model comes complete with a package of restraint systems that are perfectly matched to the highly rigid aluminium body, including two full-size front airbags, side airbags for the front seats and large-area Audi sideguard curtain head airbags. Side airbags for the rear seats are available as an optional extra. All five three-point belts in the Audi S6 are of course fitted with belt force limiters; belt tensioners are fitted on the front seats as standard.