As the Audi A6 enjoys a subtle set of mid-life updates (we’ve driven the revamped A6 Avant Ultra – read the review here), that means a few tweaks in turn for the hot S6 version.
Blink and you’ll miss them: there has been some facelift work on the exterior but it’s largely limited to a meaner-looking set of all-LED headlights and some extra bits of chrome across the mildly rejigged bumpers and grille. As before, you can choose from saloon and Avant (estate) bodywork.
Read on for our full 2015 Audi S6 review.
Anything new apart from the chrome?
Yes. Rather more interestingly, there’s an increase in power. The S6 wasn’t exactly anaemic before, but Audi’s engineers have given its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 a shot in the arm to the tune of 30bhp.
That means a total of 444bhp, which together with 406lb ft of torque is enough to haul the S6’s near-enough two tonnes of bulk from 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds, a two-tenth improvement.
Improvements too on the economy front, if S6 customers worry about such things. Fuel consumption has stretched from 29.4 to 30.7mpg while CO2 output drops by 5% to 214g/km.
Interior equipment was already about as swish as it gets in the S6, so kit upgrades with the facelift are limited to a greater range of temperature-twiddling for the now-four-zone climate control, with improved soundproofing courtesy of ‘acoustic glazing’ for the windscreen and front windows. The MMI multimedia interface has also been upgraded, splitting its graphics between the retractable dash-mounted screen and a sharp digital display between the instruments. It’s not quite the full home cinema effect of the new Audi TT, but it’s an attractive, usable display.
What’s the 2015 Audi S6 like on the move?
Fast. Not absurdly, mind-alteringly quick like the RS6 (which itself will shortly undergo a similar bout of headlight tweakery) but still accelerative enough to give your neck muscles quite a work-out. Addictively, the acceleration doesn’t noticeably tail off as the speed builds; the S6 keeps on pulling like a big jet aircraft on take-off.
Our test car had an enjoyably over-the-top soundtrack as it was fitted with the optional sport exhaust, which had an entertaining repertoire of growly noises and crackly over-run sound effects.
We also drove the Avant version without the party-animal exhaust and it was almost too quiet by comparison. It had a refined, faintly woofly note that’s perfect for when you just want the S6 to be a normal car – something it does extremely well – but subtlety aside, you might want a bit more volume to impress your mates.
Ride and handling
Ride quality on the Audi S6's standard-fit adaptive air suspension is genuinely smooth. It can be firmed up by playing with the settings in Individual mode – a bit of a faff as you have to delve into the S6’s menus and sub-menus to do so. The seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic gearbox gels nicely with the rest of the drivetrain, with butter-smooth changes and an effective manual mode using the (metal not plastic, thankfully) paddles behind the steering wheel.
In slow and medium-speed corners the S6 can’t quite hide its sheer mass – there’s a lot of inertia at work – but it’s as grippy and effective as you’d expect an all-wheel-drive Audi supersaloon to be. Predictably, of course, it’s not the most involving car in the world to drive, but as a slightly blunt instrument to club challenging roads (and challenging weather) into submission, it’s still a lot of fun.
The Audi S6 remains a very likable car. Interior quality is still deeply impressive and that engine is really quite special. It’s not the sharpest handler, granted, but you knew that already.