This understated performance saloon might be the pick of the Ingolstadt manufacturer’s range, but the new 2021 Audi S6 has a lot of stiff competition
Say hello to the Audi S6, the company’s performance version of the A6 line of luxury saloons. Previously when I first tested the latest-generation Audi A6, launched in 2018, I found the drive experience quite disengaging and the car uninspiring to drive. You’d think a mid-range A6 with a turbocharged V6 producing 340 horsepower would provide some of the sensations an enthusiast looks for, but actually that’s where the S6 comes into the picture.
Sitting below the exotic and kind of inaccessible RS6, the Audi S6 attempts to cover all the bases as a one-size-fits-all performance package. In a straight line, it can do zero to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds, thanks to a twin-turbocharged V6 rated at 444 horsepower. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the engine provides acceleration that is instant with barely any turbo lag, thanks in part to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that helps with additional boost. Multiple drive modes are available, and dynamic mode is where I enjoyed driving the car the most.
Naturally the Audi S6 comes with the company’s all-wheel drive system, but also rear-wheel steering and air suspension. On the move the car feels nimble and agile, with my biggest and only complaint reserved for Audi’s steering feel. It feels way too artificial and numb, and you can’t really feel the road at all. Sure, there is loads of grip available, but the lack of communication means the driver is less confident to push the car hard. This S6 would be massively improved with some real steering feedback, which is a a lesson the company could learn from their relatives over in Zuffenhausen who seem to be getting along with electric steering systems just fine these days. Considering both Porsche and Audi fall under the VW Group, it’s all a bit baffling. Maybe Audi buyers like a certain level of isolation?
In which case, the driving aids will hit the right spot. The Audi S6 comes with semi-autonomous kit such as adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, efficiency assist, swerve assist and turn assist, head-up display, lane change warning, exit warning system and rear cross-traffic assist.
The dual infotainment system is made up of a 10.1-inch touchscreen with another 8.6-inch display beneath. The main screen sorts navigation, audio controls, and other entertainment features, while the lower one provides access to vehicle settings, climate control, etc. Audi’s big interior highlight is the driver’s binnacle, which is entirely digital. The interior of the S6 is a perfect place to be in, spacious and luxurious, with space for five, and details like quilted leather, and the best ergonomically designed gear lever in the business.
Compared to the regular A6, the S6 comes with quad pipes and the obligatory fake rear diffuser, plus a more aggressive front bumper and 21-inch wheels. The trim is all blacked out too so there’s no chrome on the car, but all in all only the discerning few will really tell the difference. For the rest of them the Audi S6 is indiscreet and quite stealthy, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I like that.
In summary this is a good car for a family, or the individual who enjoys fast, efficient highway cruises. The S6 is priced at $109,000, or AED400,000, which represents good value for a 444-horsepower four-door when considering all the competition. And there are a lot of cars vying for the title of best sports saloon (notice I didn’t say super-saloon). BMW has the 550i, and there is also the Mercedes-AMG E53, Lexus GS F, a couple of upcoming Cadillacs to consider, and even Genesis is now in the mix…
2021 Audi S6
2.9-litre twin turbocharged V6 | eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive | 444 horsepower and 600Nm of torque | zero to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds | AED400,000