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Road Test: 2013 Audi S6
It is time to have a closer look at the new 2013 Audi S6 following our earlier verdict of its family member, the new S7. Both share similar parts, but both have a unique character and focus customer group. The new S6 shares the new A6 chassis, gets a new, more fuel-efficient engine and offers a canvas for all of Audi’s current tech mojo and innovation.
Our ride for the day was a 2013 Audi S6 sedan fitted with a bunch of options and dressed in Ice Silver with exterior mirror housings in the famous aluminum look. The traditional sedan profile and trunk were taken from the A6 series design. Two versions of the A6 are available; a sedan and an avant or wagon. Both are conservatively styled with a unique platinum-colored grille, horizontal elements in the front air intakes, a rear lip spoiler, four exhaust outlets and some S-badges.
The most noticeable technical difference with respect to its ancestor is the twin-turbo V8 replacing the 435hp naturally aspirated 5.2 liter V10 engine inside the previous series. This V10 engine has a wonderful soundtrack providing a chill down your spine. The new V8 is quite the opposite with its dull dark cultured growl, but on the contrary the new powertain is 25 percent more efficient and a hell of lot faster than the outgoing ten-cylinder engine.
The sedan uses the same engine as the new 2013 S7, the new 4.0 TFSI with 420hp between 5,500 and 6,400rpm, and 550Nm of maximum torque between 1,400 and 5,200rpm. The eight cylinders accelerate the five-door coupe from 0 to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds – 0.1 faster than the S7. The top speed is limited to 250km/h. Audi’s “cylinder on demand” technology features too for a lower fuel consumption. The result is that the engine electronics shut down cylinders 2-3-5-8, while cruising and using light throttle responses. Only a notification on the dashboard in front of you reminds you of the fact the system is engaged, otherwise the shutdown is hard to detect.
The engine power is converted to the road via the seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with a self-locking center differential and torque vectoring, which helps the car to remain stable while making progress through corners. The optional sport differential distributes the power in variable proportions between the rear wheels, but never really demonstrated its full potential during our drive.
Like many of its brothers and sisters, the 2013 S6 comes standard with adaptive air suspension and the Audi drive select dynamics system. Altering the settings offered a clear change in steering, suspension setup and gear changes. Like the S7, the car feels slightly artificial, but more nimble than the 100 pounds heavier sportback. The drive is clearly controlled by computers and pushed forward by the wonderful V8 engine.
So the ride and handling are quite similar to the Audi S7 Sportback. The weight and length difference between the two is easily felt in fast corners and short accelerations. The new S6 feels slightly more nimble, but is still as predictable as the hatchback. It is an easy car to drive fast on the highway and slow in populated areas. It is not as rewarding and precise as a fast BMW 5-Series, but feels as nimble as Jaguar XFR. The steering and suspension clearly provides some room for the upcoming RS-series.
The inside of our S6 offered less refinement than the S7 we tested. It demonstrated the levels of interior options you can choose from. The standard seat upholstery is a mix of Pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara, but our front S sport seats were wrapped in dark Volcano leather and had a power lumbar system. The decorative inlays are available in a choice of four materials. Matt brushed aluminum is standard, with carbon, fine grain ash natural brown or layered Beaufort oak as options.
On the level of multimedia inside the cabin we do not have any remarks. In the center console you will find an eight-inch display that rises from the dashboard and provides access to Audi’s MMI system via the touchpad control that recognizes handwriting. A Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System provides an excellent accompanying tune while the passenger’s phone or tablet is connected to the onboard Wifi hotspot.
The 2013 Audi S6 Sedan is an excellent upgrade from the normal A6 series. Like the S7, it is not in any way the genuine sporting member we expected it to be, but it proved to be a wonderfully balanced autobahn cruiser for people wanting a more powerful sedan or wagon in favor of the heavier and larger S7 hatchback.
The effortless way in which this travels on the roads is astonishing to say the least, but it is never the ultimate rewarding sedan you would like it to be. For those looking for more feedback and joyfulness they should stop at the dealership of other brands like BMW or Mercedes-Benz. In the end, this S6 is a reflection of the state of the art of well-developed cars these days. It is just easy, quick and safe.