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First drive: Audi S6. Image by Audi.

First drive: Audi S6
The Audi S6 packs a 420hp V8 under its bonnet and makes for an excellent Q car, if going quickly is all you want.

   



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| First Drive | Munich, Germany | Audi S6 |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

Audi's A6 gets a new flagship S model with a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 in place of the old V10 engine. Faster, 25% more efficient and yet more refined it's a very quick car, but then speed isn't everything.

Key Facts

Pricing: 53,995
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol
Transmission: four-wheel drive, seven-speed automatic
Body style: four-door saloon
Rivals: BMW 550i, Jaguar XF, Mercedes-Benz E 500
CO2 emissions: 225g/km
Combined economy: 29.4mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Power: 420hp at 5,500 - 6,400rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 1,450 - 5,250rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

The Audi A6 is a handsome car, so adding some S glitter only enhances that. Subtly mind, the S not an extrovertly styled machine, the changes largely centred on the front grille, mirror caps and badging. Larger, quad exhausts, 19-inch alloy wheels and LED lights feature as well, these all adding assertiveness without being too over the top.

Audi's been good at subtle for a while now though - and interiors. The S6 doesn't disappoint, following the exterior's lead and adding some neat detailing that justifies its greater sticker price. There's more equipment and some S badging, while leather upholstery is standard too. Audi excels at interior design, and with its S cars it goes that little bit further - making the S6 a very nice place to be.

Driving it: 3 3 3 3 3

Nice inside, but if anything it's all a bit too cultured. Fitted with the same vibration removing engine mounts and sound cancelling system of the Audi S8, the S6 is far from the raucous tearaway you might expect a car packing 420hp to be. Ridiculously rapid, yes, its quattro four-wheel drive system and quick, seamless seven-speed automatic making its 4.6-second 0-62mph time endlessly repeatable even in less than ideal conditions. Technically hugely impressive, but its ability to gather velocity with ease doesn't translate to a particularly scintillating driving experience. Nonetheless, it's difficult not to be impressed by the way the 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 can keep piling on speeds that would get you jail time away from the enlightened unrestricted autobahns of Germany.

Push the accelerator to the floor and the engine sound is muted, Audi refining it to the point of remoteness, which is something of a theme overall. From the steering to the brakes, the muted engine to the surprisingly supple suspension the S6 lacks the sort of feedback and response that could make it a fine driver's car.

It's enormously capable though, with plenty of grip and massive traction. The way it can carry its speed with impunity is definitely admirable, yet for all its technical competence it never grabs you like some of its rivals might. There are no surprises, no facet of its performance so appealing or exceptional to make it feel special in the way its competition manages. Everything's good; fast, but good, and really there are already plenty of A6s that do 'good'. The S should do something exceptional, something a bit different, and pure speed - especially outside Germany - doesn't really cut it among its rivals.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

Being at the top of the Audi A6 range - until the anticipated RS 6 arrives - the S6 comes fully loaded with equipment. It's good to see Audi UK adding the Sports Differential to the standard equipment list, the interior benefitting from satellite navigation and S-Sports seats front and rear with leather upholstery.

Worth Noting

The 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine isn't just quiet; it's clever too. It can shut down four cylinders on demand, which, combined with other economy enhancing features like stop-start, allows the Audi S6 to return 29.4mpg and emit 225g/km on the combined consumption cycle.

Summary

If going fast in quiet comfort is your goal then the Audi S6 is deeply impressive. But if you like your hot-rod executive saloons to deliver a bit more than horizon-shrinking pace then ultimately the S6 disappoints.


Kyle Fortune - 25 Apr 2012



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2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.



2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.
 

2012 Audi S6. Image by Audi.
 






 

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