2013 Audi S6
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Try to squeeze every last drop of performance-ketchup from this aluminum und steel Heinz bottle.
Here's our one-word summary of the 2013 Audi S6:
If you're not into the whole brevity thing, don't worry, we've prepared a longer review, as well:
Oh. My. God. Those were the words most commonly uttered by friends that shared a seat with me in the 2013 Audi S6. People who know a thing or two about cars would look at the S6, with its 4,100-pound curb weight and more technology than a print edition of Wired, and assume that it's a little on the pokey side. Well, those people - my friends included - are dead wrong.
It's fast. Holy hell on a hotplate, it's fast. And it's not just a visceral, butt-dyno kind of fast, either - official numbers put the zero-to-60 time at about four and a half seconds, which is freakish enough as it is - but with the launch control engaged, some outlets are reporting times in the mid-to-high three-second range. That's Lamborghini Gallardo territory. And, unlike the Gallardo, you can actually see out of this car.
Given the S6's high cost of entry - models start at $71K - it's not meant to be just about the speed. It's also endlessly luxurious and packed with the sort of amenities that upper-management suits look for in a car. From the diamond-stitched leather seats, to the quad-zone climate control, to the optional 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, to the trunk that can carry either four golf bags or four unruly children, this is a car that can both coddle you and make you very overconfident behind the wheel.
That overconfidence comes from a variety of factors, all of which are summed up in the 'Car' menu of Audi's MMI infotainment system. You're able to choose from four different setups - Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual. Comfort softens everything up and is great for highway cruising, and Auto balances sportiness and civility on the fly for a slightly spirited experience. Individual allows you to choose settings based on your personal preferences, in case you want the exhaust in Dynamic but the suspension in Comfort.
Dynamic, however, is where that overconfidence truly comes into play. The suspension stiffens up, the S-tronic flappy-paddle gearbox moves to more aggressive shift points, and whole other loads of German hexenwerk goes down, resulting in a car that begs to be beaten on. In conjunction with the 255-millimeter-wide Pirelli Pzero summer tires, you're looking at a big-body bahn-stormer that is nearly impossible to break loose - at least before your passenger breaks loose and demands you slow the hell down.
This car is very nearly perfect. So much so, in fact, that I had to hunt for trifles that I could find fault with. I came up with three. First, the steering column makes a perceptible rubbing noise from time to time. Next, the Pirellis transmit a fair bit of road noise into the otherwise-whisper-quiet cabin, but if you've owned a car with high-performance tires before, you know that's the price you pay for superior traction. Lastly, and perhaps most frustratingly, the MMI dial's spin direction is counter-intuitive. It should be clockwise for down, silly Europeans.
Those are nitpicks, though - unimportant little idiosyncrasies that, over the span of ownership, will be forgotten in favor of everything that makes this car so great. It's seriously wonderful. Whether you're feeling aggressive, sedate, or some funky synthesis of the two, the car can match that.
This car will put a smile on your face every time you drive it - until you land at the gas station. While the gas mileage is great for a V-8, hot-shoeing your way down the road will elicit single-digit mileage figures. But for what that gasoline provides, it seems like the bargain of the century.
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission
Power Output: 420 hp / 405 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 17 city / 27 highway (22 observed)
Base Price: $71,900
As Tested: $87,720 (incl. $895 destination charge)
Optional Features: Pearl effect paint, 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, Innovation package (adaptive cruise control, heads-up display, active lane assist, night vision), LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, 20-inch alloy wheels, carbon fiber trim pieces