Class: Premium Midsize Car
Miles Driven: 246
Fuel Used: 14.0 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 17.6 mpg
Driving mix: 75% city, 25% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 18/27/21 (city, highway, combined)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||A|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Base price: $70,900 (not including $950 destination charge)
Options on test car: Special paint ($575), S6 Prestige package ($3200), black Alcantara headliner ($3000), Driver Assistance Package ($1250)
Price as tested: $82,425
The great: Smooth, authoritative power; impeccably finished cabin
The good: Fine balance of handling prowess and ride quality
The not so good: Mediocre fuel economy
The premium-midsize-car category has no shortage of stellar high-performance models—hot-rodded versions of “mainstream” luxury sedans that boast jaw-dropping horsepower numbers and racetrack-ready suspension hardware. The BMW M6 Gran Coupe offers a 600-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, the Cadillac CTS-V has a 640-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V8, the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS63 sedan has a 577-hp 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, and Audi’s own RS 7 has a 605-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. The Audi S6 sedan doesn’t quite reach those lofty horsepower heights, but trust us… after a taste of the smooth-yet-blistering acceleration supplied by the S6’s 450-horsepower, twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, you’ll be more than satisfied.
As the performance version of Audi’s A6 sedan, the S6 comes with that V8 powerhouse—paired with a delightfully responsive 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system—as standard equipment. Also standard are the expected performance-sedan upgrades, such as specific sport suspension tuning, adaptive air suspension, and specific 19-inch wheels. The S6 normally comes equipped with summer performance tires, but our test vehicle arrived wearing a set of Continental ContiWinterContact TS 830 P performance snow tires that performed admirably in the cold—but mostly dry—driving conditions of our February test week.
The S6’s performance is genuinely invigorating. Acceleration comes in a virtually seamless, ferocious rush, with the dual-clutch transmission clicking off quick, crisp shifts—either on its own or at your command via the steering-wheel shift paddles. Zero-to-60-mph runs in the mid-4-second range are no sweat, and the speed is accompanied by a gratifying growl from the engine. Audi’s Drive Select system allows the driver to dial in specific modes for steering, suspension, and transmission settings. Even in the stiffest Sport setting, ride quality is surprisingly good, given the handling prowess on tap. The S6 always has a buttoned-down, controlled feel—it isn’t cushy or coddling over bumps and rough pavement, but it is rarely harsh. The S6’s all-around athleticism makes it feel a bit smaller than it is from behind the wheel. The basic A6/S6 platform casts a fairly large midsize-sedan shadow, but the S6 feels agile like a compact.
The interiors on higher-line Audis are among the best in the luxury business, and even by those grand standards, the S6’s cabin shines. It’s a pitch-perfect blend of high-performance styling and high-end trim, with top-notch materials and impeccable assembly throughout. Our tester was decked out with an optional $1250 Audi Design package that added rich Arras Red upholstery and red Carbon Twill inlays, and a black Alcantara headliner that tacked on another $3000 (Oof—the suede-like headliner is dazzling, but at $3K this is an option box that we would happily leave unchecked).
Our tester was also equipped with the $3200 Prestige package—which consists of LED headlights, a head-up display, power opening and closing trunk, power rear sunshade, manual rear side-window sunshades, and LED interior lighting—and the $2550 Driver Assistance Package, which adds adaptive cruise control with stop and go capability, “pre-sense plus” collision warning and mitigation system, active lane assist, top-view camera system, and high-beam assistant.
In addition to the stellar fit and finish, the S6’s cabin is especially comfortable, at least in front. The standard heated, 12-way front buckets offer an ideal mix of long-haul comfort and support. However, call us spoiled, but the absence of cooled or ventilated front seats on a 2017 luxury sedan at this price point is a disappointing omission. The main downside to the A6/S6 interior is rear-seat space—both headroom and legroom are a lot more cramped than you’d expect a premium midsize sedan to be. Several class competitors (and most mainstream-brand midsize sedans) trump Audi in this area.
Not surprisingly, a car that offers this level of performance and luxury isn’t cheap to buy, or particularly economical to run. Our tester stickered at $82,425 and averaged 17.6 mpg in our testing, which consisted of predominantly city driving. However, if you value regal trimmings and breathtaking performance that doesn’t really impede on day-to-day practicality, the S6 is tough to beat.