Audi's Latest Super Sedan is Here
The outgoing S6 was powered by a naturally aspirated, 5.2-liter V-10 engine that produced 435 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, and needed 5.1 seconds to go from 0-60 mph. The 2012 Audi S6‘s powertrain promises to be a big improvement. The new TSFI 4.0-liter V-8 found in the 2012 Audi S6 is rated at 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. While it’s slightly down in horsepower, the bump in torque and Audi‘s S Tronic seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission (six-speed Tiptronic in the outgoing model) help the new S6 achieve a 0-62 time of 4.8 seconds, which is more than likely a conservative number from Audi.
How does the 2012 S6 stack up against its German rivals? The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG arrives in a few months with a new 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V-8-engine rated at 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque (550 hp/590 lb-ft with the optional AMG Performance package). Estimated 0-60 time is 4.2 seconds or 4.1 seconds with the performance package (We squeezed out a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds in a performance package-equipped CLS63, the E63’s mechanical, yet heavier, twin). The all-new 2012 BMW M5 rolls into town early next year packing a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 rated at 555 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque; estimated 0-60 time is 4.4 seconds. On paper, the S6 appears to come up a bit short in the horsepower and 0-60 war, but we’ll have to reserve judgment until we perform our complete barrage of testing and driving impressions, while crossing our fingers for the more potent RS variant.
Just as important (to Audi anyway) is the money saved at the pump. Audi claims the new S6 will achieve a combined 24 mpg, a huge improvement over the 16 mpg combined achieved by the V-10 engine. The S6 features a number of new fuel-sipping tricks, including start/stop technology and “cylinder on demand” — Audi-speak for its new system that deactivates up to four cylinders under light load. Cylinder on demand also includes a Big Brother-like Active Noise Cancellation system, which, according to Audi, records and eliminates intrusive cabin noise by broadcasting an “antiphase sound through the speakers of the sound system.” Additionally, the S6 is lighter, thanks to aluminum material used in 20 percent of the car. Audi says the S6 weighs 4178 pounds, which undercuts the 4279-pound M5 and is a tad more than the 4100-pound E63. It’s a commendable feat when considering the added weight from the S6’s all-wheel-drive system.
The advanced quattro system found in the S6 ups the fan factor with a self-locking center differential and torque vectoring. A sport diff for the rear wheels is optional, as are carbon-fiber ceramic disc brakes. Rounding off the performance bits is a standard air suspension with variable damping.
Last but not least, the S6 will receive the requisite and subtle visual S-model upgrades, including S6 and V8 T badges (this time, around “T” appropriately stands for turbo), S-design rims, S-logo interior bits, and a premium mix of Nappa leather and Alcantara. When can you get your hands on one? The S6 sedan and Avant will roll into European showrooms next spring. No word on when we will see the S6 sedan (the Avant, of course, probably won’t make it here), and the same goes for pricing, but let’s hope Audi continues the MSRP slashing strategy it has employed on the 2012 Audi A6.