Overview & Reviews
Fast four-door sedans have been around forever, but the Audi S6 provides an enticing mix of people-friendly room, blistering speed, all-weather traction and brand-name cachet. Four generations of the S6 have graced our shores to date, though their sporadic appearances and truncated lifespans sure bring new meaning to the term "limited edition."
From the start, the S6's mission has been to be an extra-special, high-performance version of Audi's already special A6. It was achieved with more power, a sportier suspension and upgraded tires and brakes. The S6 has always been generous with the luxury content expected of Audi, and its midsize dimensions make it one of the better Audis for seating multiple passengers. Just keep in mind that the S6 focuses on performance, and as such its ride quality is harder-edged than that of other Audi vehicles.
Current Audi S6
Front and center for the newest Audi S6 is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that's rated at 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. All of this is channeled through a seven-speed automated dual-clutch manual transmission and distributed to all four wheels. Audi estimates this midsize luxury sport sedan will sprint to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
As with any Audi, the S6's interior features the type of understated luxury that the brand is known for. With its uncluttered design aesthetic and top-notch materials, the cabin is as functional as it is attractive. On top of this, standard and optional features include a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension with variable damping, adaptive cruise control, various driver and safety assistants, night vision, carbon-ceramic brakes, adaptive LED headlights, mobile WiFi, massaging seats and a navigation system with touchpad and handwriting recognition.
Behind the wheel, the S6 effectively splits the difference between big-motor luxury sedans and maniacal ultra-performance models. In this way, it may not offer the sports car acceleration and handling of the latter, but it's also more comfortable and suitable for occasionally taking Mom out for a Sunday drive.
Used Audi S6 Models
After a one-year hiatus, the S6 returned for 2013. This represents the fourth generation of the performance-focused version of the A6. Compared to the previous, V10-powered S6, this one offers similar road-burning performance along with greater fuel efficiency and a less nose-heavy front end that contributes to improved handling. Other than lacking a standard blind-spot warning system and power-folding mirrors (which were optional), this S6 is identical to the current version.
The third-generation Audi S6 was produced from 2007-'11. Of all the iterations, this was perhaps the most maniacal, as it was powered by a Lamborghini-sourced 5.2-liter V10. Although it was detuned, it still produced 425 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. The sole transmission offered was a six-speed automatic. Despite this impressive-sounding pedigree, this S6 was unfortunately disappointing. In the end, it was slower than the supercharged V6-powered A6 3.0T, and lagged even further behind its contemporary rivals.
In the handling department, it didn't fare any better. With 59 percent of its weight up front, the car suffered from significant understeer. It wasn't particularly comfortable either, as standard 19-inch wheels and a stiffly calibrated sport suspension produced a bone-jarring ride. Overall, competitors such as the BMW M5 or Cadillac CTS-V would be a better choice for a midsize sport sedan. Over its four-year run, this S6 saw few changes. There were slight styling tweaks for '09, while the MMI electronics interface and navigation system were given a welcome upgrade for 2010.
Available only for 2002-'03, the second-generation S6 featured a torquey 4.2-liter V8 whose 340 horses were made more accessible by a five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Oddly, this edition of the S6 came as an Avant (Audi-speak for "station wagon") only, which was partly responsible for its 2-ton curb weight and scarce availability.
Zero-to-60-mph acceleration was in the low 6-second range, and the car's lowered and stiffened suspension and 17-inch wheels and tires made it a potent handler, with grip similar to that of the current S6. Other pluses included its opulent interior and ample standard features list; the wagon's big drawback was its unimpressive gas mileage. Though hard to find, a used second-generation Audi S6 wagon offers an intriguing blend of performance and utility.
Born at a time when Audi's model-naming system was in flux, the first-generation S6 officially came to life (and death) in 1995, though essentially the same car had been sold for a few years previous as the S4. Available as both a sedan and a wagon, the original Audi S6 offered an eccentric turbocharged, 227-hp five-cylinder engine, working through a manual transmission to drive all four wheels. While performance was decent for the day, this iteration of the S6 never made much of a mark on the history books.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 78.00
Spectacular car, not cheap though. - 2008 Audi S6
By C.J.S. - July 31 - 1:37 am
Don't kid yourself, this car gets expensive fast, expect no more than 17mpg unless you do a ton of highway miles. Cheap repairs are 2k+ a set of tires is easily 1800. It really should be babied to keep up appearance and performance, plan for 400+/mo. If none of that makes you cringe, then I highly recommend it. It will keep pace with if not outright decimate most cars out there, and happily put domestic upstarts to shame, while looking so much classier doing so. It handles beautifully, even performs drifts well, especially for a heavy luxury sedan. Every day with this car is a treat, it makes every mile so much more fun than my 08 S4. The onboard tech is very impressive, and for someone with back problems, it's extremely comfortable, even on very long drives (8+hrs). If you're considering this car and have the desire to spend the money on it that it deserves, just do it. Anyone who says the 3L turbo A6 is comparable is simply wrong. This is an entirely different beast.
Luxury Q-ship - 1995 Audi S6
By moorewr - February 16 - 8:46 pm
A clean and anonymous evolution of Audi's ground-breaking streamlined 1980s style.. one last time before they got out the curves and knocked it out of the park with the B5 A4. In `S' form there's the cool little silver-red badges and aggressive flares on the front fenders, but car still has a dentist vibe. Stealth missile, but one that gets you 1/10th the instant respect of a '90s BMW M. A wonderful interior with good bolstered seats, wonderful connection to the road and the engine. A true performance saedan in the best German and Audi traditions.
2013 Audi S6 is a bargain - 2013 Audi S6
By dsmail - November 24 - 8:55 am
I traded my 2011 Audi S4 Prestige with drive Select on a 2013 S6 with the invovation package. Although the S6 was 30% more expensive than the S4, I consider it a bargain. It rides better, handles better, is faster, and is techincally much more advanced than the S4. It also gets just as good gas mileage. I have been driving Audi Quattros since 1987 and This is my eleventh one, so I do have considerable experience with the brand and know what I am saying when I say the 2013 Audi S6 is one awesome car.
166,000 and still kicking butt! - 1995 Audi S6
By bigdaddyaudi - July 4 - 6:12 pm
My 1995 S6 is still a blast to drive. A daily driver here in the mid-west, its my all season German uber car! Snow is no problem and on-ramps are a feast of power. People think it is a mid 2000 era car, the green paint still looks awesome. Only major repair was a A/C condenser, because of a mouse nest! So, all you folks under 166,000 be it rest assured, you have many miles left in your girl. I have been the 2nd owner since 2000, and oil changes of Mobil 1 every 3000 and a bath each weekend, and a check up every year to a Audi master mechanic are the cats meow. Still has original clutch.Drivers seat is wearing a little, but I am 6'6' 340lbs, so it is what it is.
Ultimate Daily Driver - 2003 Audi S6
By evo_z - February 24 - 5:06 pm
I got this car because i am tired of SUV's slowness and bad handling. but i do need the utility part. 340hp make ur right foot feels good all the time, and the car's look will never get u the bad attention from cops. very well build, every little details that shows great craftmanship. enjoy drive it everyday, every where. and the good part is it does not bother me with TPMS, non-seat belt warning those extra annoying features. Well, Bad thing about this car is expensive to fix, timing belt cost more than $2500. Also all the audi/vw's cockpit control button's letter ez to wear off, make the car looks older. try to upgrade but audi do not offer V8 wagon no more, and Q7 just not as sharp!
Get it while you can! - 2011 Audi S6
By anonimo - February 22 - 2:26 pm
This is a very special car that will never exist in this form again since the Lambo/R8 V10 drivetrain will be replaced by a smaller, supercharged engine in the next iteration of the S6. And while it will no doubt outperform the current V10, it will be a much more generic experience. This car is simply a great overall value in this class all things considered (V10, AWD, Audi interior, loaded with options). And you probably will never see yourself coming or going on the road.
Who writes these reviews? - 2008 Audi S6
By nickp - December 4 - 2:00 am
I almost did not purchase this car after reading what Edmunds and alike had to say, but luckily did after driving both the E63 and M5. They are definitely fast but so is a ZR1 corvett or a mustang! Point being, Audi owners have more in mind than pure horsepower. It's the ability to have a car that handles under all conditions and environments, and do it in a way that doesn't say look at me. And seriously, the engine is a thing of beauty! The M5 will take me out until it starts to rain..he'll be in the ditch and I'll be eating dinner! I have seriously considered getting an R8 but can't come to grips with giving up such an all around wonderful car.
Awesome machine - 2010 Audi S6
By zschicago - September 17 - 2:00 am
Traded a 09 C4S for this. We wanted something we could drive everyday in Chicago and still be fun. The V10 is just awesome. Love the sound. Put the car in S mode and hold on. Drove the Panamera before purchased, I just can't get past the ugly exterior.
Incredible at 14 years old! - 1995 Audi S6
By MNS6 - December 11 - 3:00 pm
At 14 years old and 86,000 miles young, my newly purchased S6 still feels and looks new. The engineering and fit and finish of materials are all top notch. Parts are still readily available for this car. Additionally, there is a vast amount of online knowledge from owners and fans of these original S4 and S6 cars. This car is truly a diver's car. It only comes in a manual transmission and the 5 cylinder inline turbo engine is smile-inducing. Hit the gas, listen to the turbo spool and say hello to 80mph at the top of 3rd gear. The S6 effortlessly pours on speed while feeling planted and composed. Every time I drive my S6 it puts a smile on my face. This car is exceptional!
Elegant Mule - 2003 Audi S6
By AudiNut - November 16 - 4:36 pm
I'm an Audi Collector. Which is why I bought this car. They are relatively rare for the US market. It's a powerful beast and holds the road. It snugs right into the fold of the B5 S4 & D2 S8. Although I have to say~ although similarly outfitted, the S8 holds its weight better than the S6, thus, it is faster around almost any track under various conditions. The offset to this is cargo space. The S6 has its place and I love it.