Most luxury saloons are plenty powerful for most situations, be it crossing states to the holiday destination or driving down to work. Luxuriously appointed and loaded with all the bells and whistles, for most owners it’s all they need. For those who crave for more in terms of performance and driving pleasure, there are a whole host of sports cars that are available in the country.
But there is a class of buyers that wants the best of both the worlds; sporty performance with the practicality and luxury that only a four door saloon can offer. Simply put a sports saloon. Granted, this is a small set, but since they are there, manufacturers are willing to indulge as well. To that effect BMW has the M5 in its India line-up and Mercedes will soon launch the E63 AMG. And that’s exactly why Audi has launched the S6 in India at a price of Rs. 85.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The uninitiated may take the S6 for a regular A6 but there are elements unique to it. For starters there’s the S6 badge on the front grille which now has new twin horizontal chrome bars on it. A similar design chrome treatment is also present on the front air intakes on the bumpers. Move to the sides and the matte aluminium rear view mirrors catch the eye. There are new S line 19 inch wheels and if you look closely you can spot the S6 badge on the brake callipers as well. The front fenders now sport V8 T lettering. At the back the mandatory S6 badge finds a place on the boot lid, which is also home to an easily missed rear spoiler. But giving the car a purposeful look are the quad exhaust pipes jutting out through the part matte aluminium look bumper.
Interiors too have distinguishing detailing in the form of aluminium inserts on the dash on which proudly sits a Quattro emblem. Steering mounted pedals are made of aluminium and so are the throttle and brake pedals. The new sport seats are covered in Alcantara leather and the red S6 badge makes an appearance on the steering wheel.
We drove the car at the Buddh International Circuit recently and found out that the real highlight of the car is its engine. Where the last generation car had a V10 related to the Lamborghini Gallardo, this one has a new 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 which pumps out a muscular 420bhp of power. With an equally prodigious 56 kgm of torque, two more than the R8 V10 in fact, it pulls hard and strong in each of the seven gears and we even saw the needle cross the 220 mark on the back straight.
Audi claims the dash to 100 takes 4.6 seconds, and we don’t doubt that for a moment, but propelling the car at astounding speeds is not the only thing the engine can do. It features Cylinder-On-Demand technology which shuts off four cylinders out of the eight when being driven at legal speeds and this helps cut emissions and save fuel. There’s also Active Noise Cancellation at work, to keep noise levels low, which explains the somewhat muted growl of the engine inside the cabin.
Power is channelled to all four corners via the rear biased Quattro four wheel drive system and adaptive air suspension can also be set for sporty handling. But around the tight corners of the race track its long wheelbase and near five meter length did make their presence felt. That’s not to say it’s a bad handler. In fact it’s quite entertaining to drive; the electromechanical steering returns a lot of feel and the brakes shed speeds effectively too.
The S6 then is nearly everything a sport saloon should be. It’s quick, engaging to drive, not really that hard edged and will be comfy when you take it easy. The fact however is that sport saloons aren’t a big sell in India, but do work as halo products rubbing off on the sales of the regular versions. Those who do buy one won’t be disappointed, we however would like ours with a more aggressive front end and had a raspier exhaust note.