Audi S6 review
The Audi S6 is a comfortable, sporty saloon that makes a great long-distance cruiser, but alternatives are more fun to drive on a twisty road and have nicer-sounding petrol engines.
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The Audi S6 is a sporty large saloon car that’s practical, packed with high-tech features and has enough poke to out-accelerate some hot hatches. It’s worth considering if you’re considering a fast BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class, but fancy something that doesn’t hide its sporty light under a rather plain-looking bushel.
To help it stand out from the standard Audi A6, the faster S6 gets lowered suspension, bigger wheels, sportier side skirts and bigger intakes in its already gaping front bumper. At the back, you’ll find four huge chrome exhaust pipes. But look closer and you’ll spot these are just fake chrome plastic – the real exhausts (of which there are just two) peek out behind the rear bumper.
This blatant fakery feels a little less disingenuous if you pay extra for the Audi S6’s black pack which ditches the rather flashy chrome for a subtler set of black trims on the bumpers, around the windows and across the front grille.
Subtlety is the name of the game inside the Audi S6 too, where you get an almost identical cabin to the standard A6. Sure, a set of more supportive leather seats now comes as standard and you get a smattering of aluminium trims around the gear lever, but the rest of the A6’s slick, minimalist interior has been carried over mostly unchanged.
The Audi S6 gets a few more techy treats for its infotainment system than the standard A6 including twin 9- and 10-inch screens on the dashboard and a 12-inch Virtual Cockpit display instead of old-fashioned analogue dials as standard. It all looks great, but the touchscreen climate controls aren’t as easy to use as those in a Mercedes E-Class or BMW 5 Series.
The Audi S6 is just as quick as some hardcore hot-hatches, yet it’ll happily cruise at motorway speeds without bruising your backside or giving you earache.
There’s just as much space to carry passengers in the S6 as in these cars, though. The doors open nice and wide, the back seats are very comfortable and there’s space for six-footers to sit behind equally lofty drivers. Boot space is also on par with the 5 Series and E-Class so you’ll have no trouble carrying a few sets of golf clubs.
The Audi S6 isn’t just good for pottering to and from the golf club at weekends; its 349hp 3.0-litre diesel engine makes it a great long-distance cruiser. It’ll blast from 0-60mph in little more than five seconds and has a clever hybrid system featuring a neat electric turbocharger to deliver near-instant shove when you need to overtake slow-moving traffic.
The eight-speed gearbox is smooth and responsive at speed (although it does hesitate a little around town) and the standard adaptive suspension does a good job ironing out bumps around town and stopping the S6’s body leaning in tight corners.
Sure, it won’t lap up endless switchbacks as keenly as a BMW 5 Series, but the Audi S6’s standard quattro four-wheel-drive system means it never feels like it’s wanting for grip on a twisty country road.
The Audi S6’s party piece isn’t necessarily how it drives. It’s more the fact that it’ll easily return 30mpg in a mix of motorway and city driving without you having to ration the accelerator like a health-conscious parent with their child’s Halloween chocolate haul. As a result, the Audi S6 is well worth considering if you’re looking for a high-tech saloon that’s very fast, yet won’t cost the earth to run.