The redesigned A6 gets a S6 performance variant for 2013. Audi follows its German competitors in brandishing a smaller-displacement twin-turbo V-8, rather than last year's V-10. Still, the new S6 hits 60 mph notably quicker than the old V-10 S6. It competes with the BMW 550i, Mercedes-Benz E550 and Infiniti M56.
A hunkered-down adaptive suspension reduces ride height by 0.4 inch. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, with 20s optional. Overall differences are subtle, however. Changes to the grille and bumper are hard to pick out. Quad tailpipes and S6 badges are the chief giveaway, but many onlookers could confuse the S6 and A6.
The S6 gets unique instruments and diamond-stitched, one-piece sport seats with S6 embossments. Shoppers have a choice of four interior trims. Amid the controls, Audi's drive select program lets drivers customize their settings or choose between three settings for drivetrain, steering and suspension response.
Audi's latest Multi Media Interface is standard; like in the A8, it has a thumb pad for scrawling out addresses. A navigation system with Google Earth overlays is standard, as is a surround-sound Bose stereo. Massaging seats and Bang & Olufsen audio are optional.
Under the Hood
Displacing just 4.0 liters, the S6's twin-turbo V-8 makes 420 horsepower and 406 pounds-feet of torque, enough to hit 60 mph in less than 4.8 seconds. Thanks in part to new cylinder deactivation under relaxed driving situations, the new engine gets 25 percent better fuel efficiency than the old 5.2-liter V-10, Audi says.
The S6's Quattro all-wheel drive gets a sport differential that actively distributes power between the left and right rear wheels. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is an adaptive air suspension.
A bevy of airbags plus antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard. Options include lane departure and blind spot warning systems, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and night vision with pedestrian detection.
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