The 2018 Audi S6 is yet another wonderful package where Audi takes a regular car, in this case the A6, and enhances it every which way. Power levels go up, equipment levels go up, and the whole sense of occasion feels much more exciting. Not that there’s much wrong with the "normal" A6.
The S6 premium midsize sport sedan is supremely talented, devilishly fast and utterly desirable. While the driver sits in a beautifully executed cabin with lush materials and a tasteful design, a twin-turbo V8 delivers ballistic acceleration, the suspension offers poise and precision, and the all-wheel-drive system provides virtually endless grip.
There is a caveat. The 2018 model year will no doubt be the last for this generation. A brand-new A6 is due for 2019, and Audi tends to release its S variants with hardly any delay. Luckily, this S6 still looks fresh and vital.
What’s New for 2018?
The Bose Surround Sound system and full LED exterior lighting, which were standard items in the Prestige trim last year, are now part of the Premium Plus trim level. So is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration. See the 2018 Audi S6 models for sale near you
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
Doesn’t come cheap; no spring chicken
The S6 has a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 developing 450 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual, and all-wheel drive is standard. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts fuel economy at 16 miles per gallon in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Audi S6 is available in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
The Premium Plus ($72,875) comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, a model-specific body kit and accents, full LED exterior lighting, rain-sensing wipers, heated windshield-washer nozzles, a sunroof, heated/self-dimming side mirrors, a self-dimming rearview mirror, an adaptive air suspension, 8-way power-adjustable/heated sport front seats with driver’s-side memory settings, a flat-bottom 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, ambient LED cabin lighting, blind spot monitoring, parking sensors front and rear, a rearview camera, plus the Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment setup with an 8-in display, a 630-watt 14-speaker Bose Surround Sound system, navigation with Google Earth, two USB ports, two SD card slots, Bluetooth phone/audio, HD Radio, satellite radio, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and 4G LTE.
The Prestige ($75,375) adds more luxury features, such as manual side sunshades and a powered rear sunshade, a power trunk lid and a head-up display with navigation information.
Adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation with automatic braking, lane-keep assistance and high-beam assistance are all part of the optional Driver Assistance package. The S Sport package brings dynamic steering, a torque-vectoring differential and a sport exhaust system with black tailpipes.
Other options include multicontour front seats, night vision, a top-view parking camera, massaging front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and a Black Optic appearance package with 20-in wheels. The Prestige trim is eligible for a 1,300-watt 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system and night vision with pedestrian/large-animal detection.
Trunk capacity is on the small side for this segment: 14.1 cu ft.
The Audi S6 comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel antilock ventilated disc brakes and a blind spot monitoring system. Eight airbags are standard (front, front side, front knee, full-length side curtain), with rear side airbags offered as an option. Also optional are lane-keep assistance and Audi’s Pre-Sense Plus collision-mitigation system with automatic braking.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the S6 its maximum of five stars for both front- and side-impact protection. Similarly, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the A6 (on which the S6 is based) 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.
The S6 has great tech, from the standard iPod/Bluetooth integration and Wi-Fi hotspot function 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. The touchpad on the center console has handwriting recognition.
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 sport sedan still weighs well over two tons, which makes its athleticism all the more impressive. 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. But if nimble cornering is required (and why wouldn’t it be?), this aging S6 can still deliver.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 BMW M550i — This 455-hp beast is considered to be better than the previous-generation M5.
2018 Cadillac CTS V-Sport — Excellent chassis, and comes to the party with 420 hp.
2018 Mercedes-AMG E 43 — A variant of the fantastic E-Class, the E 43 is a little down on power (396 hp) but comes with an adaptive air suspension as standard and is a truly superb package.
Used Audi S8 — As the performance version of the A8 flagship sedan, the S8 is even faster and more exclusive than the S6. It also has more occupant and cargo space. A certified pre-owned (CPO) S8 could be in the same ballpark price-wise as a new S6.
The exceptionally well-stocked Premium Plus with the Driver Assistance package sounds like a good call. Premium car buyers tend to desire every bell and whistle, however, so by all means consider the Prestige. Don’t forget there’s a new generation coming.