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New Car Review

2016 Audi S6: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The 2016 Audi S6 is a premium sport sedan based on the already sporty and completely excellent A6. While the driver sits in a beautifully executed cabin with lush materials and tasteful design, a twin-turbo V8 is delivering ballistic acceleration, the suspension offers poise and precision, and the all-wheel-drive system provides virtually endless grip. To call this car capable is like saying Stephen Hawking is quite a smart guy. The S6 is supremely talented, devilishly fast and utterly desirable.

What's New for 2016?

More power: 30 horsepower. There's more power in the MMI (Multi Media Interface) infotainment system too, thanks to a faster processor. It also receives two USB ports and 4G LTE connectivity. A close look, especially at the headlights and taillights, reveals minor revisions to the styling. And the S6 Sport package now includes a sport exhaust system with black tail pipes.

What We Like

Alluring mix of power and refinement; genuinely entertaining handling; all the luxury and technology of a regular A6; good fuel economy

What We Don't

It doesn't come cheap

How Much?

$71,825-$76,225

Fuel Economy

The S6 sports a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 developing 450 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual, and all-wheel drive is standard. Fuel economy is remarkably good for this level of performance, rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 18 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Audi S6 is available in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.

The Premium Plus ($71,825) comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, a model-specific body kit and accents, LED running lights and taillights, automatic xenon headlights, a sunroof, heated auto-dimming side mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an adaptive air suspension, 8-way power adjustable and heated sport front seats with driver's-side memory settings, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, leather upholstery with diamond stitching, keyless entry/ignition, Audi's drive select system (featuring electronic adjustments for steering, throttle and transmission), aluminum pedals, quad-zone automatic climate control, a blind spot monitoring system, parking sensors (front and rear), a rearview camera, and the comprehensive MMI infotainment system with an 8-in display, navigation with Google Earth, two USB ports, two SD-card slots, Bluetooth phone/audio, HD Radio and satellite radio, mobile Wi-Fi, 4G LTE and a 10-speaker audio system.

The Prestige ($76,225) adds more luxury features, such as manual side sunshades and a powered rear sunshade, a power trunk lid, a head-up display, a 14-speaker 630-watt Bose system, LED cabin lighting and LED headlights.

Adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation with automatic braking, lane-keep assist and a 360-degree parking camera system are all part of the optional Driver Assistance package. The S6 Sport package brings dynamic steering, a torque-vectoring differential and a sport exhaust system with black tail pipes.

Other options include multicontour front seats, night vision, a top-view parking camera, massaging front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a 15-speaker, 1,300-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system and a Black Optic appearance package with 20-in wheels.

The S6 has amazing tech, from standard iPod/Bluetooth integration and Wi-Fi hot spot functioning to the warm-sounding Bose stereo (although the optional Bang & Olufsen system is exceptional). The crisp, colorful MMI screen displays vivid Google Earth images in navigation mode and automatically retracts into the dash when not in use. There's even a touchpad on the center console that can recognize handwriting.

Trunk capacity is 14.1 cu ft., which is on the small side for this segment.

Safety

The Audi S6 comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock ventilated disc brakes and a blind spot monitoring system. Eight airbags are standard (front, front-side, front-knee and full-length side-curtain) with rear-side airbags offered as an option. Also optional are lane-keep assist and Audi's pre sense plus collision-mitigation system with automatic braking.

The government has crash-tested the S6's mainstream sibling, the A6, awarding a top 5-star rating for both front and side impacts. Similarly, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the A6 its top rating of Good in every category.

Behind the Wheel

The cabin is beautifully constructed, with high-quality materials everywhere within sight and reach. The basic design is carried over from the A6, but the S6 adds numerous model-specific touches, such as the instrument cluster and badging on the steering wheel. The sport seats provide the robust lateral support lacking in the A6's standard seats. The back seat's bottom cushion is rather low by midsize-luxury-sedan standards, but most people should still be able to get comfortable back there.

It's hard to overstate the excellence of the S6's twin-turbo drivetrain. Acceleration feels impossibly swift and smooth, while the dual-clutch transmission delivers quick yet seamless shifts. Despite many aluminum parts, this midsize sedan still weighs well over two tons, which makes its athleticism all the more impressive. Unlike the BMW 550i (or even the M5), the S6 feels light and responsive, and its precise steering inspires confidence in all situations. Drive with real enthusiasm, and you can feel the rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive system working to keep power and grip in sync.

Naturally, there's a trade-off. The ride is on the firm side, even with drive select set to comfort mode. If you want a car that's mainly for pounding the highway, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class may be a better choice. But if nimble cornering is a priority, the S6 is as good as it gets in this segment.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW 550i/M5 -- The S6 is a natural rival to the 550i, but the S6 also has enough talent to make it an intriguing alternative to the M5.

2016 Cadillac CTS V-Sport -- The CTS has a superb chassis and comes to the party with 420 hp.

2016 Mercedes-Benz E550/AMG E63 -- If the AMG E63 is too extreme with its 577 hp, the 402-hp E550 might be just right.

2016 Porsche Panamera -- Few 4-door machines drive as well as the Panamera. You'll have your own opinions on the exterior, but the cabin is gorgeous.

Used Audi S8 -- As the performance version of the A8 flagship sedan, the S8 is even faster and more exclusive than the S6. It's also bigger inside. A certified pre-owned S8 could be in the same ballpark price-wise as a new S6.

Autotrader's Advice

There are so many fine choices in this segment, so deciding on which one to buy is a nice conundrum to have. Why not test drive them all? The S6 is an incredibly complete package, and the Premium Plus trim is already well equipped.

Find an Audi S6 for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Audi S6: New Car Review - Autotrader