THERE’S ELECTRIC SUPERCHARGING TO HELP US WARM TO THE IDEA OF ITS DOWNSIZED ENGINE THAT REPLACED THE TWIN-TURBO V8
momentum over the first 100 metres or so. It’s only once you’re above 100km/h, and the 2.9-litre’s winding out in third gear, that the S6 really feels like it’s lifted its skirt and strides forward with pace worthy of the Autobahn’s fast lane. And the times prove it.
This near two-tonne sedan will stay with a Toyota Supra from 80-120km/h (which takes 2.66sec) and it’s carrying 183.84km/h across the 400m line after 12.47sec. That’s quick enough to hurry up last-generation hyper-hatches like the AMG A45 or RS3 if you ever find them on a long straight road.
As for stopping, the Audi hauls from 100km/h in 34.67m, or shorter than some hot hatches thanks to huge 400mm front discs and six-pot calipers.
However, while its braking and acceleration suggest a high degree of agility there’s no denying the Audi S6 is a heavy car. Audi’s worked hard to minimise the weight increase over the old version, keeping that to just 15kg with an exotic-metal infused MLB Evo platform that cancels out extra weight from the battery.
Yet there’s no saving its ride-height adjustable air-suspension from two tonnes. For the most part it does what it should and delivers excellent ride comfort, smoothing out wavy roads with proper long-stroke cushioning while keeping the car’s trajectory solid and straight at speeds above 140km/h.
Lateral loads are what really challenge it, though. The humble grip on 255mm-wide Pirellis expose a lack of roll stiffness in both fast sweepers and hairpins, even when it’s hunkered down an extra 10mm in Dynamic mode.
On top of this, while the progressive steering rack gains accuracy at higher speeds it’s not as linear or as responsive as we’d like and the S6 can get flustered when being hustled.
Mind you, it will rotate nicely if you nail your trail braking and hold its cornering line under power out of corners. We’d just suggest keeping an eye on the front brakes during a blast, because while they might not wilt in the heat of battle, they can get a little smoky given they’re tasked with reining in the front axle in lieu of a limited slip differential.
We only wonder what potential lies undiscovered here since our car is missing Audi’s $7700 Dynamic package. The pack adds rear-steering out back and dynamic steering up front, along with an electronicallycontrolled rear LSD, and while the verdict is out on what effect they’ll have on the S6 we know they’ve transformed other Audis.
Until then, though, our S6 remains one dimensional in purpose. It’s built to turbo-charge long journeys and make sure that with a cloud-like ride, powerful brakes and sure-footed grip, touring at high speed is a pinch.
There is one hiccup. On a roll you can catch the drivetrain snoozing at steady speeds even when it’s primed in Dynamic mode, but we suspect it’s more a problem with throttle mapping than the auto’s actual hardware.
The eight-speed is otherwise silky smooth and rarely puts a gear wrong. It’ll happily downshift and hold your selected cruise speed without as much as a vibration, even when selecting third gear at 110km/h.
Boosting its grand touring credentials on the open road are radar systems that co-pilot the car with eerie intuitiveness. The throttle pedal will shrug your foot off when it knows the car is approaching a lowered speed limit, while the lane keep assist is so accurate and smooth you almost trust it to take the wheel if it were legal.
Ultimately, the S6 feels like the place where Audi’s different principles intersect. It’s as comfortable as the A8 yet more accelerative than an S4, but it’s also lost that spiritual link its forebears had with each RS6 for that all important exotic appeal.
We’ll just wait and see how much that matters when it takes on AMG’s hybrid E53 and BMW’s M550i xDrive.
IT’S BUILT TO TURBOCHARGE LONG JOURNEYS ON A CLOUD-LIKE COSSETING RIDE
Front electric seats are nicely bolstered but lack some underthigh support. Ultimately they are not a huge step up from the S4 items like we expected
BELOW S is signalled by stealthy blacked out trim across the rear lights and surrounding glasshouse PEW PEW SITTIN’ PRETTY Metal-finished pedals are solid and well placed for right-foot braking only. The driving position is great and the steering wheel offers plenty of position adjustment REV ME UP Audi’s standard 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit features redesigned graphics, offering a new boomerang-shaped rev bar in place of a traditional dial
ABOVE Vault-like cabin is plenty quiet when you want it to be, insulating out most tyre noise but then letting in a rorty V6 note when summoned
LEFT An eight-speed transmission comes with its own vibration dampener and feels utterly seamless in shift and operation