There’s just something about a large German luxury sports sedan. There’s a solid confidence you get from strapping into a ‘lead sled’ with tons of power and a whisper-quiet ride. There’s a substantial quality to everything, and you get the feeling that you can cruise all day long at triple-digit speeds without breaking a sweat. That’s mainly because it’s designed for just that!
The S6, being the larger sedan in Audi’s lineup, errs on the side of luxury instead of sport. Sure, the 4.0-Liter twin-turbo V8 cranks out 450hp, but it does so without being unruly or snarling. It’s a super quiet and sneaky-fast 0-60 of 3.9sec, without loudly announcing your arrival. And I think potential buyers of the S6 are going to love that. This is a car for people who want a sledgehammer-fast sedan, but like flying under the radar. There’s very little, save the larger wheels/brakes and some carbon accents, that give away that this is anything more than an A6. But when you put down your right foot, you know the difference.
Once inside, many of the similarities with the A6 disappear. A full alcantara headliner adds a touch of warmth and class to the feel. Our test car had lovely-red leather with nice stitching, including a very luxurious diamond pattern. Conspicuously absent was a leather-covered dashboard, instead clad with just soft plastic. There are beautiful glossy carbon-fiber accents and lovely aluminum trim. There’s just a fantastic overall feeling you get inside this Audi, where you know you’re sitting in a special model. And it does so without anyone on the outside being able to tell.
When you click the shifter over to manual mode, it seems like you find a more aggressive engine note and a more sporty overall feel – and while it’s not going to set any lap-records around the track, it’s a very engaging and pleasing car to drive. The fact that it’s more luxurious means that in a way it feels even faster because of its ‘effortless’ speed.
The technology is all there, as Audi has been touting lately. But it’s a bit over complicated in some ways. There are even settings for brightness of the blind-spot monitors – almost an attempt to prove that there’s no setting that Audi owners don’t want to personalize. It’s kind of like the Apple vs. Android discussion, where Audi is the Android. You can personalize every little setting, but it requires more setup from the owner. Some people will like that, others will not. If you’re already used to an Audi, the system here will be very familiar to you – with the standard 4-corner MMI system. If you haven’t seen that, you’ll need some time to figure it out.
The heads-up display is large and bright, and there’s excellent radar-cruise control. Overall, the technology is not lacking. Audi has for a long time has been all about having the edge on innovation, but there’s a slightly dated feel you get from this car. It has been in production since 2012, so it’s getting a bit old in this day and age of rapid development and new models.
Overall, there’s lots to like here – but with a starting price of $70k, and our test car coming in at a little over $82k, it opens up lots of possibilities. However, it’s cheaper than its BMW rival, and gives a more luxurious experience. The Mercedes E63 is even more expensive, making this the ‘bargain’ in the full-size European-luxury sedan category, but make no mistake about it – it’s still a decent chunk of change. Regardless, I think you’ll be very happy if you choose to put one in your garage.
By Jason Saini
Special thanks to Audi USA for providing the 2017 Audi S6 for review.