Audi S6 4.0 TFSI qu S tronic Review: Mid-level Power

Audi S6 4.0 TFSI qu S tronic Review: Mid-level Power

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
25 Feb 2013
What we like:
Sedate styling does not betray the dynamic performance potential underneath.
What we dislike:
Could do with a meatier exhaust note.

The Drive

After doing away with the last generation’s Lamborghini sourced 5.2-litre, the boys at Ingolstadt decided to use something in-house this time. Although losing two cylinders in the generational transition, the new 4.0-litre twin turbo does make up its size with improved efficiency of up to 25%. This it achieves through what Audi calls cylinder on demand.

When cruising along at a constant speed and with revs between 960 – 3,500 rpm, the engine’s management system closes the inlet and outlet valves to half its cylinders. Effectively turning the V8 into a V4 seamlessly. So smooth is the transition between V8 – V4 that it happens without the driver’s knowledge.

With all cylinders firing, the V8 produces 420bhp and 550Nm of torque. Compared to the last Lamborghini sourced 5.2-litre NA engine, this forced induced V8 gains slightly more torque over the last generation (10Nm more). Paired with the quick shifting S-tronic dual clutch transmission, the gearbox manages to keep things smooth despite the added horsepower in automatic mode.

Start up the V8 in the morning and you get rewarded with a V8 bark before it settles down to a dull bassy tone. Despite making all the right sounds, it still feels quiet and detached within the cabin.

If the immediate response of the last S6 were one of the things you liked, you will miss it in this generation. Step on it in ‘Dynamic’ mode and the turbos take all of a second to spool up before all of God’s wrath and might explodes. Torque arrives early at 1400rpm and doesn’t stop shoving till 5,200rpm. When pulling away from the lights, an extremely sensitive foot is needed. The S6 has a tendency to lurch forward at the lights as every ill-disciplined prod would anger the V8.

With the revs in the sweet spot and turbos spooled, the engine’s response is immediate and works in harmony with the S6’s longer wheelbase and less front weight bias. Tossing the S6 into the bends, there’s less girth than one expects of something this large (and heavy).

Steering feel was progressive and well-weighted. Despite testing the S6 in wet weather, the big Audi always felt sure footed even in the tightest bends. A result no doubt assisted by the Quattro system. While six pot front and four pot brakes did do a good job of helming the large sedan, it does struggle a little to rein in the heft under hard braking.

Even though touted as a performance sedan, the S6 benefits greatly from the adaptive air suspension that provides a supple ride in comfort mode. And it allows the S6 to be raised and lowered by up to 50mm for driving over rougher terrain or overzealous speed bumps.


For those looking for a little more oomph than your standard A6, this ‘S’ variant is a perfect blend of regal executive refinement and dynamic performance. With styling that doesn’t betray the snarling V8 beneath, it is a luxury sedan that allows the mid-level executive some mischief on the side.

Credits: Story and Photos by Benjamin G. Kline

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