Audi S6 is a tech-savvy and luxurious sleeper
There’s little in the way of histrionics but much in quietly devastating performance
The Audi S6 quattro luxury sports sedan is a price and performance peer of the Porsche Panamera 4S, Mercedes-AMG E53 and Maserati Ghibli S.
This Audi is styled with the regularity of the company’s luxury line-up by adopting demure aesthetic trimmings, with only a blackened single frame grille, a shiny quartet of exhaust pipes thrusting from a sporty-looking rear valance and standard fitment V-spoke star style 20-inch alloy wheels hinting at elevated liveliness.
That slight aroma of performance lingering in the air is 331kW and 600Nm packaged inside its bonnet, numbers which outgun its opponents from Porsche and AMG. Audi reckons the 0-100km/h sprint is dispatched in 4.5 seconds, with a top run of 250km/h as per the sporting gentleman’s agreement.
It’s a devastatingly fast but quiet brute with little drama when it piles on the speed. One moment you are watching the robots and the next you are doing illegal speeds. This can be a disappointment to anyone who’s driven the S6 when pulsating and roaring naturally-aspirated V8s and V10s were the norm.
The tradition of quattro underpinnings continues in this new iteration that’s powered by a compact 2.9l twin turbo V6 which it shares with its RS4 and RS5 cousins and mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The all-paw traction manages grip and the steering is perfectly weighted and light and makes easy work to thread the large sedan into tight spaces. The ride quality is very good but there’s a hint of stiffness brought by standard fitment S sports suspension with adjustable dampers. In my observation a more high-profile set of wheels would bump up the ride to sumptuous levels.
It has a Sport mode which firms up the dampers and it’s a real need. Drive the S6 in an unseemly manner in its default Dynamic mode and it feels its size. It doesn’t feel as battened down in the corners. Sports mode cures this and you can also invest R28,770 more for the optional all-wheel steering for even better cornering.
More important than outright bend-eating ability is the interior. New Audi décor has smoothed away most buttons in favour of touch surfaces. The large and spacious cabin is a haven if you aren’t poking around and there’s little noise that enters the interior while it drives with velvety progress.
Fiddle with the MMI infotainment screens with haptic feedback and you ruin the peace. The system isn’t perfect. On average you’d need more than one jab to activate a function. I’d recommend voice control but the on-board AI assistant also struggles to capture some speech. Thankfully there’s a quicker multifunction steering wheel control option, and a physical volume dial.
But in a nutshell, the S6 is a domesticated yet utterly rapid business manager’s barge with few shortcomings. It’s brimming with segment-expected textures and technology and it’s one of the cheaper alternatives in the segment, though it’s not as agile or a rowdy crower like other rivals. It’s a bit rigid but don’t let that put you off. It’s quite a car.
Type: Six-cylinder petrol
Type: Eight-speed automatic
Type: Full-time all-wheel drive
Top speed: 250km/h
Fuel Consumption: 8.3l/100km (as claimed)
Sunroof, front and rear park distance control with camera, rain sensor wipers, LED daytime driving running lights, USB ports, keyless access, auto on/off matrix lights with high beam assist, navigation, Bluetooth, cruise control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, six airbags, sports suspension with active dampers, traction control, stability control, ABS brakes
Cost of ownership
Warranty: One year/unlimited km
Maintenance plan: Five years/100,000km
Lease*:R29,872 per month
* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit
Audi S6 TFSI quattro
WE LIKE: Looks, performance, comfort, technology
WE DISLIKE: Muted sound, haptic-feedback controls aren’t user friendly
VERDICT: It’s a fast and premium dreamliner
Motor News star rating
Design * * * *
Performance * * * * *
Economy * * * *
Safety * * * * *
Value For Money * * * *
Overall * * * * *
Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+, 320kW/520Nm — R1,419,000
Porsche Panamera 4S, 324kW/550Nm — R2,099,000
Maserati Ghibli S, 316kW/580Nm — R2,210,000
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