In luxury parlance, it is an age old trick to take an established sedan, plonk in a powerful engine, tighten the suspension and mate it with a more efficient gearbox to create a “sports sedan”. To what end? Well, it’s supposed to give you the best of both worlds – the space, comfort and roominess of a sedan and the adrenaline rush of a sports car.
The BMW does it with the M5, Mercedes has its AMG range – and Audi has its own S6 avatar of the bread-and-butter A6 sedan. Still sounds like nonsense? We tried to make some sense.
What is different?
At the outset, the S6 is pretty much like any A6 on the road. It is only marginally longer and sits a wee bit higher, but this is almost negligible. It retains much of the characteristic design elements as well, barring the S badging on the front and rear and on the brake caliper. The badge is also carried inside to the seats --- which are alcantara leather --- and the steering wheel. You also get 19” wheels, but that is more a necessity than an option.
Plus, there is a well-disguised rear spoiler and an extra set of exhaust pipes for effect. But the major changes lie under the hood, which houses a big 8-cylinder twin-turbocharged engine that is basically responsible for all the mayhem.
More power + more torque = more grunt
Compared to a standard 3-litre direct injection petrol engine that does duty on the A6, the S6 has over 40% more power at its disposal, and 25% more torque. The result; it does 0-100 kph in 4.6 seconds, a good second less than the A6. All that power is calibrated through an automatic 7-speed gearbox that can adapt to manic and controlled driving dynamics well. Essentially, it won’t flip through while you are doing your daily bit in the city, nor will it laze around when you floor the throttle.
There is also sport adaptive air suspension that allows the car’s ground clearance to be lowered depending upon the speed at which it is being driven, which lowers the centre of gravity and thus enhances stability. But what really puts the S6 apart from the likes of M5 or E class AMG is Audi’s patented quattro all-wheel drive system. While most of its competitors are content with just rear wheel drivertrain, the quattro significantly reduces the chances of understeer or oversteer and keeps the vehicle well planted. So even if you are a quaking-heart novice, you won’t look like one on the road.
Why an S6 over an A6?
For all practical purposes, the A6 has enough in its tank to satisfy all your needs. But the S6 with its more power and composure will come in handy when you want to let your hair down. To put things in perspective, the S6, or even the M5 and E class AMG for that matter, offer more power and acceleration than even a thoroughbred sportscar such as the Porsche Cayman. Yes, it does cost substantially more than even the top-of-the-line A6 cousin. Clearly, the S6 is not for those who only wish to make a statement with their cars, but for those sporadically addicted to burning rubber.
Truth be told, the S6 is not as powerful as the M5 or the E class AMG, which have bigger engines and dash faster to the 100kph mark. So a comparison strictly on those lines does not make much sense. But it is the only 4-litre sports sedan in the country that costs less than R1 crore, and with the all-wheel drive, is more agile than the others. True-blue sports aficionados will still prefer hardcore sports cars such as a Porsche 911 or the recently launched Jaguar F-type. But for those who want the best of both worlds, the S6 offers good value for money.