Audi is preparing to facelift the A6 as it reaches the mid-point of its life-cycle, and this is the hotter, four-wheel drive S6 version, spotted at a test facility near Germany’s Nürburgring.
Is the 2015 Audi S6 going to be faster than before?
Yup. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine that the S6 borrows (in a different state of tune) from the Bentley Continental GT, Audi RS6 and RS7, is set to receive a slight power boost. Following the lead of the recently updated A8 limousine, power will rise from 414bhp to a BMW M3-trumping 429bhp.
The S6 uses a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as standard – the faster RS6 and RS7, plus the Bentley, stick with conventional eight-speed automatics.
Thanks to the power bump, the 2015 S6 stands to build on its predecessor’s strong performance of 0-62mph in 4.7sec, though we expect the top speed to still be electronically restrained to 155mph. Not too shabby for a 1950kg, five-metre-long barge.
How will anyone tell I’ve got the new S6, or A6?
By being a king among Audi geeks, as the changes are mighty subtle. The front bumper and grille is ever so slightly different, with new strakes and horizontal bars. And though the shape of the headlight clusters remains unchanged, there’s a new design of daytime running lights within, and there’ll be the option of new LED matrix technology up front pinched from the A8.
The new headlight tech switches off individual LEDs when the car detects nearby traffic – you avoid dazzling fellow road-users, but maintain the main-beam function for a better-illuminated view ahead. Clever stuff.
Despite a heavy-handed covering of camouflage tape, all that appears to have changed on the S6’s rump is a reshaped ‘diffuser’ section in the centre of the bumper, and the internal design of the lights. The S6’s four tailpipes and ever-so-subtle bootlid lip spoiler survive unchanged. Well done to Audi for resisting the temptation to spoil the S6’s under-the-radar Q-car looks.
When will the facelifted A6 and S6 be in showrooms?
Mid-2015, though you’ll want to be popping down to Beijing Audi if a really revolutionary A6 is what you’re after. Crowning the facelifted A6 range is a plug-in hybrid A6 E-tron, which will go on sale first in China, according to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.
For the S6 saloon you see here, back in Great Britain, expect to pay at least £55,000. There’ll also be an estate-bodied S6 Avant, for around £57,000.