2016 Audi S6

8.8
2016 Audi S6

The Basics:

The Audi S6 spins the reserved style of the mid-size A6 sedan into something a little more feisty. The S6 may look understated, just a touch more aggressive—but that's certainly not how it performs.

The 2016 Audi A6 builds on an already impressive set of features, abilities, and styling to yield a safe, fun, high-tech luxury sedan.

The S6 has a rich history with enthusiasts, including the envy of the European RS 6 wagon—a model that we don’t get in the United States. But for 2016, the S6 gets a handful of visual and equipment updates, making it an even better version of the luxury sport sedan we’ve come to know and love.

The S6 is a modern sedan with a uniform, elegant look, which is contrary to many premium sedans on the road. Inside, Audi's clean design and quality materials are front and center, with high-tech and elegant touches throughout. The cabin is luxurious, but we've found that in darker shades it can be somewhat cold. 

New appearance items for the 2016 Audi S6 include redesigned headlights, new bumpers, a revised “singleframe” grille with a somewhat more aggressive look, and quad-tipped round exhaust outlets. Outside, the taillights are entirely new for 2016. In the S6, a redesigned head-up display and seat controls now have a better look and finish.

Under the hood of the S6 you’ll find the engine that transforms the A6 from fun and capable to sporty and serious. For the 2016 model year, the S6 gets an upgrade to its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that results in power output of 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, a gain of 30 hp over the previous S6. A 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission is standard equipment, driving all four wheels with quattro all-wheel drive.

Performance in the 2016 S6 is brisk: it'll sprint up to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Handling is good in the S6, although a little detached from the road, with a competent adaptive suspension that's able to control the car's heft while maintaining a comfortable ride. It won’t make you an instant Formula 1 driver, but it will certainly make you—and any speed-loving passengers—smile. Throttle, transmission, and engine response can be customized in the S6 to further suit the driver's mood.

Otherwise, the S6 is a very smart-looking A6—which means it’s an excellent luxury sedan. All of the interior materials—whether plastic, leather, or metal—are high quality and solid feeling. We've found the seating to be comfortable in every position, with plenty of room all the way around for four adults. Taller adults should have more than enough head or leg room in the rear seats as well. The S6's trunk space is ample and split-folding rear seats fold down for larger items, although there isn't as much vertical space as the related hatchback A7 or S7.

Another new feature for the 2016 Audi S6 is the brand’s upgraded Multi-Media Interface (MMI) system, which features dual Nvidia Tegra 30 processors for a combined processing power that’s roughly equal to a late-90s supercomputer. The result? Beautifully rendered, crisp, detailed 3-D maps, better voice recognition, and better smartphone compatibility. A new large touchpad allows for gesture-based input, as well. An instrument-panel screen allows navigation and other data to be relayed ahead of the driver, and the available head-up display is crisper, more colorful, and more useful than ever. A 4G LTE connection is also available, with an integrated wi-fi hotspot function. The whole system just works quicker, better, and smarter than before, placing Audi back at the top of the infotainment game.

On top of the new MMI system, Audi continues to offer some of the segment’s best technology, including driver aids like adaptive cruise control with stop & go traffic assist; blind spot monitoring; lane-keep assist; enhanced night vision; and pre-sense braking assist.

According to the EPA, the S6 manages 18 mpg city, 27 highway, 21 combined. That many not be initially impressive, but considering the S6's potent power and sport sedan credentials, it's fairly fuel efficient.

On the safety front, the 2016 Audi A6, which is structurally identical to the S6, scores a Top Safety Pick+ with the IIHS. Federal testers have given the S6 with a five-star overall rating, including five stars in every crash test. That perfect record puts the Audi S6 at the top of its class when it comes to safety, which is what you'd expect from a high-tech luxury sedan with a long list of complementing standard and active safety features.

Buying Tips:

Be sure to get the most advanced level of the MMI infotainment/navigation system. It's just too brilliant to do without, and well worth the money.

Other Choices:

  • 2016 Mercedes-Benz E Class
  • 2016 BMW 5-Series
  • 2016 Cadillac CTS

Reason Why:

The luxury sport sedan battle at the sharp end of the league is a fierce one; every example is a fantastic car. Any choice between them mostly comes down to personal taste factors, like style, technology, and comfort. The Audi S6 offers a high-tech, fast-paced, but not track-bred take on what a luxury sport sedan should be. Cadillac's CTS, on the other hand, offers a Vsport model which is most analogous to the S6, but with a bit more peformance edge--and a bit less high-end technology--in a similarly attractive package; there's also a super-powerful CTS-V version coming for those with a taste for more outright pace and track-ready ability in their luxury sedans. Likewise, both BMW and Mercedes offer sporty competitors to the S6, and much sportier M and AMG models that exceed the S6's penchant for speed--but while the BMW lags a touch in technology, the Mercedes outpaces even the Audi, at least in terms of driver assistance technology.

The Bottom Line:

The 2016 Audi S6 is a tour de force of technology, power, and style.

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