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2015 Audi S6 Overview

Full LED exterior lighting is now standard with the S6, with running, headlights and taillights getting the light-emitting diode treatment. Team this with a newly standard head-up display, and there’s little reason for your eyes to ever leave the road.

And that would be a shame, for the S6 offers an attractive package inside and out. Assertive without being aggressive, intriguing without being ostentatious, the S6 blends luxury, performance and quality with strong lines outside and supple leather inside. The standard air suspension and sport rear differential exemplify this perhaps most accurately, with the performance chops to take you around the track but not destroy your back on the way there.

With 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, there are certainly faster cars on the road, even in this segment. The M5 and the E63 AMG both offer much more power if we’re comparing apples to apples, but even the more relaxed versions they’re based on—the 550i and E550—come close to or better the same numbers. But those cars have a harder time matching the efficiency rating of the S6, which delivers an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/27 highway. That’s achieved partially thanks to the 7-speed S tronic automated manual and partially thanks to the cylinder-deactivation system that turns off half the engine at highway speed. Add the standard all-wheel drive (AWD), and it’s edging close to impressive territory, especially with its potential 4.5-second 0-60 time.

And with standard Torsen-based AWD, a torque-vectoring sport differential and adaptive dampers for its full air suspension, it’s not just fast in a straight line. In fact, some reviewers have even called it out as more nimble than the 550i, although no such claims have been made when stacked against the stouter M5. And while the 5 Series still offers a manual transmission option, it’s solely the 7-speed S tronic here, with the steering-wheel paddles doing double duty. Thankfully it’s a hell of an option, providing smooth and swift swaps whether up- or downshifting.

But don’t just concentrate on speed while you’re sitting in those quilted leather heated sport seats. There’s a lot to love in the S6, with a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full leather interior with wood and metal trim, Audi’s MMI and Connect, sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system and keyless ignition and entry. Looking for more comfort than sport? Go for the optional multi-contour comfort seats and crank the Drive Select options back to more relaxed settings. The 14-speaker Bose system should be able to provide all the soothing sounds you require. Add the Driver Assistance Package for adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera system, Audi Pre-Sense Plus with collision mitigation and the lane-departure warning system. Those multi-contour seats come with ventilation and massage as part of the Individual Contour package, which also adds front passenger memory function, rear comfort seats and unique leather. For those in northern climes, heat can be added to the rear seats and the steering wheel with the Cold Weather package.

Some Audi models received the Black Optic package for the first time this year, and here it adds body-color mirrors (which should really be a standalone option), blacked-out grille and gloss window framing, as well as unique 20-inch wheels that do more to harm the ride than improve it. They can be ordered standalone in a different style, but still aren’t recommended.

To be fair, you can find an option in the same segment with more power, more space and a smaller price tag. However, the 4.0-liter V8 is one of the best examples in the industry, not just the segment, and the level of fit and finish inside might just be the best in the class. Have a seat, take a ride, and decide if this is the midsize to help you stray from Mercedes or BMW.


A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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