Five First Impressions: 2016 Audi S6

BMW is 100 years old. Mercedes-Benz pretty much invented the car. By comparison, the 47-year-old Audi as we know it today, is a new kid on the block.

That’s what makes cars like the 2016 Audi S6 all the more impressive. Like the Audi A4 I recently drove, it’s clearly a member of the German luxury establishment and a convincing way to spend what many would call four years of college tuition.

I’ve been trying out the Audi S6 for a few days and here are some of my first thoughts.

Gray day
Another day, another gray Audi sedan. There’s not much to look at with the A6 or S6, but in this case that’s a good thing. If you want style, there’s the Audi S7, but the S6 is your run-of-the-mill midsize luxury sedan that just happens to conceal unexpected power. And it does it well, aside from the 19-inch wheels and the $1,500 Black Optic pack my test car came with, which from what I can tell adds darker plastic pieces and not much else.

Kicking it old school
Inside, however, things aren’t quite as fresh. Actually, it’s only when you get inside newer Audis such as the A4, Q7 and TT that the -6, -7 and -8 models seem dated. The MMI controller isn’t as intuitive as before, and you suddenly miss the Virtual Cockpit way more than you expected.

Lazy days of summer
The engine makes the S6. This 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 450 horsepower is one of the sweetest ways to propel a car today. Even with the exhaust in quiet mode, there’s a good noise and a lovely little rumble coming from the engine. Fuel economy ratings of 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway are also promising.

A photo posted by Zac Estrada (@zacestrada) on Aug 16, 2016 at 5:49pm PDT

Shift indecision(s)
The performance is somewhat muted by the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission you get on these S models and one that I can’t say I’m a fan of. At low speeds, it’s uncertain and rolls too much when you move from Reverse to Drive. It’s only at speeds above 40 mph (~65 km/h) or so where it works well in providing crisp shifts. And having said that, the steering-wheel mounted paddles suddenly become unnecessary.

Muscular, less affordable
S6s start at nearly $72,000 and mine, with the Black pack, driver assistance setup and fancy differential and steering rack comes in at $81,275. Not bad when compared to the German luxury sedans it rivals, but much more than the Chevy SS I drove a while ago. The Audi is much more civilized, but is it worth it?

For now, what other questions do you have for the S6?

Photos: Keith Moore/

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  • Tumbi Mtika

    Nah. CTS-V instead.

    • rodriguez256

      Unlike the Caddy, I like this car from pretty much any angle. Plus I love Audi interiors. Style and layout.

    • TheBelltower

      Agreed. But the CTS-V costs much more.

  • Finkployd

    Nah twingo gordini instead

  • europeon

    Shell out a few more grands and get the Maserati Ghibli instead.

    • An Existing Person

      The extra money does not substitute the amount of Chrysler parts, as well as the Chrysler reliability associated with that car. At least Audi tries to hide the fact that some of their models are built on VW platforms and share certain parts, making the prices justifiable.

      • europeon

        What are those reliability issues Maserati has with the Ghibli? I haven’t heard of any yet.

        Oh, yeah… the dreaded gearshifter recall that one happened for US, and that has all to do with how smart Americans are, than with the actual car.

        As for the Chrysler parts, I’ve been one of those that pointed out each and every time I got the chance how it’s based on a modified LX platform, but really I see no problem there. Everything works just fine, the visible parts are just a upmarket as the ones used by the Germans and the UConnect is still one of the best infotainment systems out there. And don’t even get me started on how all allmighty Germans use MacPherson suspension setups and crappy engines.

        • Enter Ranting

          Americans are smart enough to reject the Ghibli. After years on the market, that poser is extremely rare on the streets of Los Angeles, a city where exotic cars are everywhere. I sat in a Ghibli at the auto show. It was like sitting in a five-year-old Chrysler mid-size. Enjoy those minivan window switches and Dodge Charger infotainment unit, though.

          • europeon

            I know, right? They’re rejecting it so hard they buy 4 times more units than Europeans.

          • Enter Ranting

            4 x 0 = 0. Or, maybe there are a lot of gullible people here. I mean, Donald Trump…

    • Vassilis

      Is that the one you own?

      • europeon

        Yeah, an S Q4.

        • Vassilis

          Nice! Gorgeous car. What colour?

          • europeon

            Just like all Alfas must be red, there is only one color that suits a Maserati, and that’s blue (with blue calipers and white interior)

          • Vassilis

            Good choice. Blue would also be my colour for the Ghibli.

  • Get it in black, w/o blackpackplasticosmetics; remove all badges; chip tune it to zillion HP; get a nice suit with a subtle tie; drive insanely.

  • Joe Mosely

    Is this car fun to drive? Sounds like the DCT sux and despite the engine this is another boring businessman coupe.

    I would think with the 450HP and 400 or so ft lbs of torque it should at least be fun.

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