After Audi’s midsize A6 was fully-redesigned for 2019, the more potent S6 now returns for 2020 boasting the same new design as well. The 2020 Audi S6 packs enhanced performance capability and a new twin-turbo V6 making 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Audi’s S models have historically represented the company’s middle-tier offerings in terms of performance. While 444 hp is certainly a lot, the S6 is still positioned below the top-dog RS 6. Traditionally not offered in North America, Audi is making an exception with the new RS 6 and will, in fact, offer it on our shores, albeit only in a striking wagon body style referred to as the RS 6 Avant. But, for most buyers, the S6 is already more than enough car.
Beyond its performance acumen, the S6 offers all of the space and comfort of the regular A6. It comes with a fully digital gauge cluster and two screens on the center console: one for the infotainment system and another for controlling HVAC functions. There’s also a 48-volt mild hybrid system found in every 2020 S6, which powers items such as the infotainment system, active safety features and other items, which helps with the vehicle’s overall efficiency. The electric components even help to spool up the turbocharger to cut down on turbo lag. Other highlights include an available sport differential, 4-wheel steering and a sport suspension with adaptive dampers, placing the S6 among the most technologically advanced sedans on the market.
The regular A6 and top-dog RS 6 are reviewed separately.
What’s New for 2020?
Like the A6 was for 2019, the Audi S6 is all new for 2020. Compared with the outgoing model that was offered through the end of the 2018 model year, the 2020 Audi S6 boasts a new design, a new engine and a new interior. Highlights include the new 48-volt mild hybrid system, more power and better integration of autonomous safety features, such as the newly-added Adaptive Cruise Assist, which can help pilot the vehicle over short distances on the highway. See the 2020 Audi S6 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Twin-turbo V6 makes huge power
- Top-class interior materials and design
- Incorporates cutting-edge safety tech such as lane-tracing capability and vehicle exit warning
What We Don’t
- Price climbs quickly as you add options
- Driver assistance tech doesn’t come standard
- Why are rear side airbags only optional?
Under the hood of the S6 is a new twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 that puts out 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. This comes paired with a standard 8-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels through standard all-wheel drive. A mild-hybrid system is now present that increases overall efficiency by powering auxiliary items such as the infotainment system and active safety features.
In its lone configuration, the Environmental Protection Agency rates the new 2020 S6 at 18 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
For 2020, the new S6 comes in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
Premium Plus models ($74,895) include features such as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, the latest version of Audi’s MMI system with a 10.1-in upper and 8.6-in lower display, navigation and voice control, a 6-month trial subscription to Audi Connect online services, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, four total USB ports, a 705 watt 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, HD radio, SiriusXM satellite radio with a 90-day trial subscription, Bluetooth, a wireless smartphone charger with a signal booster, an integrated programmable garage door opener, Audi’s Advanced Key system with a hands-free trunk release, automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, basic cruise control, rain sensing windshield wipers, automatic headlights, different drive modes, a 360-degree camera system, 20-in wheels, Audi’s special Matrix-design headlights, auto-dimming heated power-folding side view mirrors with memory functionality, 4-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a panoramic sunroof, ambient LED interior lighting, Valcona leather seats with diamond stitching, contrast stitching, driver’s seat memory, a 40/20/40 split folding rear seat and 6 airbags (rear airbags are optional).
Available packages are as follows:
The S6 Executive package brings extended leather surfaces, heated rear seats, ambient LED interior lighting and a power opening and closing trunk.
The S Sport package adds a sport rear differential, 4-wheel steering, rear brake calipers and a sport exhaust.
A Black Optic package comes with 21-in matte wheels, gloss black exterior trim pieces and summer performance tires.
The Luxury package brings heated and ventilated 18-way power individual contour front seats with power lumbar adjustment, memory and massage functions, a power rear window shade and manual side window shades, adjustable front headrests and leather covering the dashboard, armrests and center console.
Finally, the Driver Assistance package comes with full-speed adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with rear automatic emergency braking, front and rear cross-traffic detection, exit assist, lane-keeping assist, and traffic sign recognition.
Standalone options for the S6 Premium Plus include an S Sport adaptive steel suspension, different interior trim inlays, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection and exit warning and rear side airbags.
The Prestige trim ($78,795) includes everything offered on the Premium Plus, plus the Driver Assistance package, HD Matrix-design headlights with dynamic daytime running lights, power soft-closing doors, a power opening and closing trunk, dual pane acoustic glass, leather covering the dashboard, armrests and center console, an air purification system and heated rear seats.
Options unique to the Prestige model include an 1,820 watt, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system and Audi’s novel night vision system with large animal and pedestrian detection.
Trunk space in the S6 comes in at 13.7 cu ft. This sits in between the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which has 13.1 cu ft., and the BMW 5 Series, which offers 14.5 cu ft. The rear seats split and fold in a 40/20/40 configuration.
The S6 comes standard with automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams, while the Prestige trim adds full-speed adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection and exit warning, traffic-sign recognition, lane-keeping assist and intersection assist. These features are available on Premium Plus models via the Driver Assistance package. Either way — you’d likely be glad you had them.
Eight airbags come standard: front, front side, front knee and side curtain. Oddly, rear side airbags cost an extra $350.
In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the current-generation Audi A6 earns scores of good in all crashworthiness tests, and it earns a coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation when equipped with the headlights the come standard on the S6.
Behind the Wheel
The S6 offers a beautiful cabin packed with leather, metal, high-quality plastics and your choice of either real wood, brushed aluminum or carbon fiber inlays. The technology and screen-heavy nature of Audi’s new cockpits might deter some buyers, but altogether, the systems are intuitive and easy to use, and they offer haptic feedback that provides the same sensory confirmation as a physical button. The on-board maps conveniently overlay Google Maps imagery, while the touchpad on the center console incorporates handwriting recognition, allowing you to draw letters for things such as inputting a destination. Both comfort and sport seats are available, but really, both are sporty and both are comfortable. The sport seats just grip you a little more tightly, while the comfort seats offer more room and more cushion. The A6’s back seat offers 37 inches of legroom, which is plenty to tote two back seat passengers around.
In terms of performance, the S6 is ridiculously fast while also managing to be nearly as comfortable and sedate as the less hardcore A6. You do sacrifice some ride quality for the S6’s stiffer sport suspension. Expect city driving to be a little rougher — though, we wouldn’t go so far as to say the S6 has a rough ride in general. Also note that opting for larger wheels will have a negative effect on ride quality. The 444 hp put out by the S6’s 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 is plenty. In fact, the 335 hp put out by the basic A6’s turbocharged V6 is probably already more than enough for most buyers. Rounding it all out, the 8-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly while the AWD system offers loads of grip. Despite Audi’s use of lightweight materials, the S6 still weighs in at just under 4,500 pounds, making its handling and acceleration all the more impressive. Put it all together and you get a 0-60 time of just 4.4 seconds. Overall, this is an exceptional powertrain in an exceptional vehicle.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 BMW 540i xDrive — While its appearance isn’t as sporty as that of the S6, the 540i xDrive is probably the 5-Series that competes most closely with the S6. Both cars use a twin-turbo 6-cylinder engine, although the BMW’s is an inline six, while the A6 uses a V6.
2020 Mercedes AMG E 53 — The E 53 sits between the regular E 450 and E 63 S, just like the S6 sits in between the A6 and RS 6. Power, pricing and performance are similar to the S6. The E 53 uses an inline six just like the BMW.
2020 Audi S7 — The S7 is a curvier, more stylish hatchback version of the S6. Like the A6, the A7 was all new for 2019, and the next-gen S7 debuts for 2020 as well. You’ll pay about $10K more for the S7 than you will the S6, but for that extra coin, you get to drive a much more attractive vehicle
Used BMW M5 — This is one of the most iconic performance sedans of all time. Shop around for a certified pre-owned example and enjoy the reassurance of a comprehensive warranty.
The A6 is an exceptional midsize luxury sedan that already offers great performance, and its S6 variant is arguably more car than anyone would ever need, but its design and performance capabilities are certainly something to marvel over. In addition to the A6’s comfort and luxury elements, the S6 offers excellent performance thanks to its 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6, 8-speed automatic transmission and AWD system. If we were already spending over $75K on a performance sedan, we’d have a hard time not springing an extra $6K on a Prestige model that includes the Driver Assistance package (mandatory, if you ask us) and comes with cool tech and convenient features, such as Audi’s HD Matrix-design headlights, a power opening and closing trunk and more. Find an Audi S6 for sale