ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: I tend to forget about the S6/A6. If we take the A4 to be the cornerstone of the Audi lineup, with the A3 as the sorta-intriguing newcomer, the A5 as the two-door style statement, the A7 as the four-door style statement and the A8 as the flagship…well, I guess someone’s in the market for a midsizer, right?
But just because the A6 isn’t exactly blazing a new trail doesn’t mean you should overlook it -- especially in this 420-hp S6 guise. Without resorting to comical vents or intakes or flashy badges, the S6 manages to be a fast, comfortable sedan with some sporty flair. I really won’t call it a sport-sedan, because its motor isn’t loud enough and it won’t shake your teeth out if you put the suspension in “dynamic” mode. But, much like our long-term Audi S7, it’s still a lot of fun to whip this thing down the road.
The inside’s a little less restrained than the interior, or at least the trim is. Black wood alternating with thin strips of aluminum (I think) lends it a sort of legitimate-businessman-in-the-corner-flipping-a-nickel pinstripey vibe but I kind of like it. The trunk is tremendous.
As for delivery of the car’s ample power -- well, there’s still that split-second dual-clutch lag on takeoff, which sport mode can’t really mitigate since it’s a low-rpm problem. You get used to it, as we did on the long-term S7, but it’s something to note and does make me wonder about Audi’s strategy of giving the S models the dual-clutch when the automatic is good enough for the RS 7. Smoothly rocketing down the expressway is a blast, though.
There were some problems with the drive assist technology, and after a weekend of dealing with them, I can’t let it slide. While these systems were occasionally intrusive and annoying on the S8, they didn’t seem to operate consistently at all here. Sometimes, adaptive cruise control worked. And when it did, it worked great! But when it didn’t, which was most of the time, an accursed “Audi brake guard and ACC unavailable” warning popped up on the instrument cluster every 15 freaking seconds, accompanied by a little chime. It got really, really annoying after about two minutes.
I tried every method I could think of to turn these systems off, and even cleaned what I took to be the sensors, but to no avail. Searching online, this seems to be a somewhat common problem in the Audiverse. When you pay $2,800 for a suite of options, it should work, no questions asked. And we’ve heard rumors that the next A8 will have an autonomous drive mode. Yeah, sure. Maybe there’s a straightforward resolution to this, and if so, I’ll re-evaluate my opinion on this tech.
These major flaws aside, this is a well-balanced, mature sedan with a heck of a motor under the hood. No, it’s not very visually assertive for the price -- a little under $82K with that pesky driver assistance package optioned -- but if you’re one for understatement, this is a very good option. Can’t recommend the driver assist package, though.
The 2015 Audi S6 is equipped with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Couple electronic glitches here. One, a warning came on that the “brake guard” wasn’t working. Two, an accessory light keep coming on, whatever that is. Three, the screen between the tach and speedometer kept asking me if I had the car keys with me. It was all weird.
Other than that, yeah, I like it -- a whole lot.
The looks are discreet and I like that -- the car doesn’t scream LOOK AT ME! There’s terrific power here, a firm ride but also a compliant and relaxed one (I use the comfort setting -- I’m old) gorgeous interior, terrific seats -- what’s not to like? The engine hauls this baby around just fine thank you and is smooth and refined. Midrange oomph is impressive and all-wheel drive puts the power down.
Other than the electronic gremlins, there’s a lot to like here. Had I an extra $80K sitting around doing nothing, it would be a really tough call between this and a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. The S6 is a whopping $17,000 cheaper base price to base price, though. That might sway me some…
On the inside, the 2015 Audi S6 is gorgeous with terrific seats and excellent amenities
2015 Audi S6
Options: Driver assistance package including adaptive cruise control, pre sense plus, active lane assist, top view camera system ($2,800); 20-inch wheel package including five-parallel-spoke S-design wheels, summer tires ($1,000); layered aluminum and black wood inlays ($900); Sepang blue pearl effect paint ($550)
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