What is it? For 2013, the high-performance S6 joins the A6 sedan range. For this rarefied model, a big part of the appeal comes from the engine, a new 420-hp twin-turbo V8 taking the place of the heavier V10 of the outgoing car.
Despite a focus on performance, Audi claims a 25-percent overall fuel economy improvement thanks to features such as the cylinder-deactivation system, which shuts off four cylinders in steady cruising. Audi calls this “cylinder on demand.”
The torque rating is also an eye-opener, with 406 lb.-ft. available from 1,400 to 5,300 RPM. That should make life in the passing lane a constant state. The power is channeled through a seven-speed automatic transmission and directed to all four wheels. The ride, meanwhile, is controlled with an adaptive air suspension.
Lots of work has gone into sound deadening inside the plush, luxurious cabin, including an active noise-canceling system. Microphones in the headliner listen for untoward noises and counter them with complementary sound from the audio system’s subwoofer and stereo speakers.
The car’s weight is kept in check with the generous use of aluminum and something Audi calls “hybrid aluminum” for the body parts. Deeply contoured sport seats are standard, but regular “comfort” seats are available, as well.
All the high-tech convenience and safety gear offered on the A6 are available on the S6, including a panoramic glass roof, head-up display, parking assist with 360-degree camera view, night vision, adaptive cruise, lane-departure warning and pre-collision warning and collision-avoidance systems.
When will it be available? Spring 2012.