New Car: 2013 Audi S6

Car enthusiasts are an impatient lot. No sooner had we first seen Audi’s all-new A6 than we and many “Audisti” worldwide began speculating about the S6 variant. We had a pretty good idea of what it would look like—Audi’s S models tend to be pretty conservative—and what it would have underhood. (We also tortured ourselves dreaming of the sedan’s inevitable accompanist, the not-for-the-U.S. S6 Avant.) Finally, as it unveils the 2013 S6 at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show, Audi has provided all the details, if not fulfilled our wagon dream.

Both S6 models (as well as the S7) are powered by Audi’s new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 4.0-liter V-8, which produces 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, the latter from just 1400 rpm. That’s a little less horsepower and a little more torque than the 435 hp and 398 lb-ft produced by the detuned Lamborghini-sourced 5.2-liter V-10 in the previous S6. It is also a full 100 hp and 173 lb-ft down on the output of the same engine in the S8 that is also being introduced in Frankfurt. The S6’s dual-clutch transmission features seven forward ratios, which the driver can select manually via aluminum paddle shifters. Quattro all-wheel drive will again be standard, this time with an optional torque vectoring differential between the rear wheels.

At a relatively dainty 4177 pounds (4299 for the Avant), the 2013 S6 is roughly 300 pounds lighter than the outgoing car, and the new A6’s architecture achieves a more-optimal front/rear weight distribution to boot. We could never break the five-second mark to 60 mph in the outgoing S6—the best we managed was 5.4 seconds—but Audi says that the new one should be able to do the trick in 4.8 seconds.

In addition to being lighter and achieving max twist at lower revs, the V-8 is said to be a whopping 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the old V-10. This is thanks to cylinder deactivation, smaller individual cylinders, and the fact that, well, that there are two fewer of them. When all eight are lit, Audi boasts of a sonorous, carefully tuned engine note that we can’t wait to hear for ourselves.

We expect that the new S6 will not only be quicker in a straight line, but will be dynamically superior in part due to upgraded brakes and the standard Audi Drive Select system, which allows the customization of various chassis and powertrain settings. The ride height is dropped by 0.4 inch from the A6, but we don’t expect it to be as skateboard-stiff as the previous S6. Just how much smoother it is may depend on which of the seven available 19- or 20-inch wheel designs one chooses—or which ones Audi decides to offer in the U.S.

Thanks to: Car and Driver


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