BMW is 100 years old. Mercedes-Benz pretty much invented the car. By comparison, the 47-year-old Audi as we know it today, is a new kid on the block.
That’s what makes cars like the 2016 Audi S6 all the more impressive. Like the Audi A4 I recently drove, it’s clearly a member of the German luxury establishment and a convincing way to spend what many would call four years of college tuition.
Five Impressions :
Another day, another gray Audi sedan. There’s not much to look at with the A6 or S6, but in this case that’s a good thing. If you want style, there’s the Audi S7, but the S6 is your run-of-the-mill midsize luxury sedan that just happens to conceal unexpected power. And it does it well, aside from the 19-inch wheels and the $1,500 Black Optic pack my test car came with, which from what I can tell adds darker plastic pieces and not much else.
Kicking it old school
Inside, however, things aren’t quite as fresh. Actually, it’s only when you get inside newer Audis such as the A4, Q7 and TT that the -6, -7 and -8 models seem dated. The MMI controller isn’t as intuitive as before, and you suddenly miss the Virtual Cockpit way more than you expected.
Lazy days of summer
The engine makes the S6. This 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 450 horsepower is one of the sweetest ways to propel a car today. Even with the exhaust in quiet mode, there’s a good noise and a lovely little rumble coming from the engine. Fuel economy ratings of 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway are also promising.
The performance is somewhat muted by the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission you get on these S models and one that I can’t say I’m a fan of. At low speeds, it’s uncertain and rolls too much when you move from Reverse to Drive. It’s only at speeds above 40 mph (~65 km/h) or so where it works well in providing crisp shifts. And having said that, the steering-wheel mounted paddles suddenly become unnecessary.
Muscular, less affordable
S6s start at nearly $72,000 and mine, with the Black pack, driver assistance setup and fancy differential and steering rack comes in at $81,275. Not bad when compared to the German luxury sedans it rivals, but much more than the Chevy SS I drove a while ago. The Audi is much more civilized, but is it worth it?