The performance-minded 2011 Audi S6 returns for a final model year, before the sedan is replaced for the next model year.
The S6 carries the standard sedan’s classic roofline arc and “tornado” line that trails along the lower sills, but it sits lower and has side skirts and air dams that amp up the graceful shape. The S6 also adds shiny carbon-fiber trim to the cabin, and it’s not as rich-looking as you might hope—but as with the A6, the S6’s cabin is flawlessly assembled.
The S6 spits out 435 horsepower from a 5.2-liter V-10 derived from Lamborghini’s lineup. It channels the high-revving engine’s power through a six-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. A "sport" driving mode holds gears at redline, so you savor the throaty, muffled roar of the V-10—but you’ll extract a 0-60 time of only about 5.1 seconds, less than a second faster than the A6 3.0T.
The dollar-to-speed ratio may not make sense, but at least the S6’s steering is perfectly weighted and responsive, the brakes powerful and sure, the ride motions beautifully damped. Egg it on near its limits, and as the big tires grip, the suspension takes a set, and your thumbs call up exactly the right gear to power through each corner, whether slow, fast, or ruggedly rough.
When you do that, you'll pay the inevitable price in gas mileage. The EPA rates the S6 at 14/19 mpg.
Over and above the A6's long list of standard equipment--a navigation system is now on every model--the S6 adds sport seats, new instruments, a new sport steering wheel, and heated rear seats.
For more information, turn to our most recent Audi A6 full review.