ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: Ah, yes, the Audi S6. It’s hard to complain about spending a weekend with the hotter version of this luxury midsize sedan (I’m still waiting for a really hot RS 6). If I had to pick a car from this class, I’m almost always going to select something from Audi’s A6 family. The latest Cadillac CTS has really made quite an impression on me, though -- particularity in Vsport form.
Funny enough, I drove a CTS Vsport shortly before hopping into the 2014 Audi S6, so both cars are still fairly fresh in my mind. From a fun-to-drive standpoint, I think the CTS wins over the S6. Caddy has done a great job with its chassis tuning to create some real engaging cars. Rear-wheel drive also helps in upping the fun factor, too, of the Vsport.
But overall if I was looking for a car that would be used mostly as a daily street car, I would end up with a S6. To my eye, it looks better than the CTS and I like the interior better with infotainment functions controlled with MMI and a good a number of hard buttons still. The sport seats in the S6 are just right with support in all the right places to keep you in place and comfy during drives. And with Audi Drive Select in comfort mode, the S6 is a more relaxed car in my opinion with the suspension smoothing things out nicely and steering being light in effort.
My one beef with the S6 continues to be the dual-clutch gearbox. There’s still an annoying lull before the car gets moving when you tip into the throttle. However, once you’re going, the transmission is fine with near instant, slick shifts and the engine smoothly delivering power almost everywhere in the rev band. It also sounds pretty good with a lower key rumble when you boot it.
Just because I said I think the CTS Vsport wins out over the S6 in the fun department doesn’t mean the Audi is a dull ride. It’s still a joy to wheel around when you punch up dynamic mode in the Drive Select system. With tighter steering, a more aggressive throttle map and the suspension firmed up it responds well when you throw it around on twisty roads. Body roll is kept to a minimum consider the car’s size and weight and there’s a lot of grip available from the 20-inch summer tires on our test car. But it doesn’t change direction or feel as light on its feet as the CTS Vsport. On the street, though, the S6’s handling capabilities are more than enough to satisfy your inner speed racer as you shoot home from work taking the long way back.
Bring the cost of both cars into consideration and things get interesting. A 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport Premium we had in here a couple months back had an as-tested price of $72,140, which is still less than the base price of the S6. To make the S6 similarly equipped to the Vsport Premium you need the optional driver assistance package so that tacks on another $2,800. So there’s about a $5,000 premium for the Audi over the Caddy if you look at it that way.
If you’re hung up on the Vsport working with two less cylinders than the Audi, don’t be. The Caddy does more with less cylinders churning out 420 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbocharged V6. As for the Audi, it’s packing 420 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque from the turbo V8. However, the S6’s V8 is a smoother engine and has peak torque come on sooner at 1,400 rpm versus the Vsport which has peak twist happen at 3,500 rpm. Some may say the S6’s dual-clutch transmission is another positive over the CTS, but the eight-speed torque converted automatic in the Vsport is really quite good.
So what in the world is my conclusion? If I voted with just my heart and was looking for an entertaining but still comfortable daily driver, it’s the Audi S6. If I wanted a car that I would want to put on a racetrack a few times a year, then I would get myself a CTS Vsport. If I was voting with my checkbook, things easily tip in the direction of the Caddy.
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