This is the 2023 Audi S6 and it truly is an endangered species because it’s a sedan, secondly, it’s gas-powered in a world that is being rapidly pushed into EVs and SUVs.
The S6 arrived in the U.S. in 1995, and in every iteration, there were significant upgrades and of course, tech advances. During this time the S6 had numerous powertrains, doubtless the most interesting was the V-10 (donated from Lamborghini) between 2007 and 2011. Next came the twin-turbo V8 from 2014 until 2018. After a brief hiatus, the car returned in 2020, this time powered by a twin-turbo V6 which makes even more power than the previous twin-turbo V8.
I have to say I love fast sedans and this S56 is no exception although it’s not as fast as the BMW M550i, it’s still a solid performance sedan.
The S6 looks sharp and refined. It has the usual Audi hexagonal grille with black inserts, and on either side LED headlamps with cool-looking daytime lighting details. At the back, the styling is neat, conservative, and not too aggressive apart from the menacing set of four exhaust pipes sticking out from underneath the bumper.
The S6 wears summer tires on 21-inch rims that are part of the Design Edition package ($2,500) which includes a Black roof, an Audi Sport-designed interior with red contrast stitching, Dinamica Knee Pads, and a Heated Flat flat-bottomed steering Wheel.
Under The Hood
The twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 with mild-hybrid assist gives this car 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque driven through an excellent 8-speed torque converter automatic. Power goes to all four wheels and is controlled by Audi’s famous quattro AWD system.
Stomp on the gas and S6 will get to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds and has a limited top speed of 155. With a lighter foot expect 26 mpg on the highway.
Pricing and equipment
Prices start at $73,700. This tester has a few options starting with the Prestige Package for $8,800 which includes the extended leather package, a Bang and Olufsen sound system, ambient LED lighting, a head-up display, soft closing doors, and dual pane acoustic glass for the side windows.
It also has matrix design LED headlights and the Design Edition package for $2,500 adds these 21-inch V-spoke wheels wearing Bridgestone summer tires, and to spice up the already upscale cabin a bit more special is red contrast stitching and a heated flat-bottomed steering wheel.
My tester also had the S Sport Package for $4,000 which gives you dynamic all-wheel steering, red brake calipers, a sports exhaust, and a sports rear differential.
The Audi S6 feels really comfortable all the time whether you are in Max Attack mode on the twisty California back roads or simply cruising around town and it doesn’t really matter which mode you’re in, the adaptive suspension keeps everything calm and collected.
Even in Dynamic Mode, it’s never too stiff despite huge 21-inch wheels, it is simply excellent at smoothing over imperfect pavement. Ready for some fun? The S6 is a hoot to fling around, there are gobs of torque available from very low RPMs and it’s supremely balanced albeit with a little body roll.
It’s a big car but the rear-wheel steering helps shrink the size of the S6 when attacking the bends and it virtually eliminates understeer. Needless to say, the quattro all-wheel drive system provides a vice-like grip but I was disappointed in the Bridgestone tires they are a little too soft in the sidewalls when compared to a nice set of Micghelein Piot 4s tires.
The eight-speed automatic snaps-off shifts about as fast as any twin-clutch transmission and the steering although devoid of much feedback is precise and the car goes where you point it. Brakes are firm and reassuring and provide excellent stopping power from higher speeds time after time despite the car weighing in at 4,486 lb.
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit has been around for some time but it still shows other brands how it should be done. There are a total of three screens around the cabin, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch touchscreen display, and an 8.6-inch touchscreen lower down on the console for climate controls. The center touchscreen has a clean layout, it’s easy to navigate with logical and well-laid-out menus and includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
The lower touchscreen for climate control is a good idea in theory but impractical in everyday use especially when driving. You find yourself looking down all the time to change the temperature or reduce the fan speed it’s a distraction that takes your eyes off the road.
The one plus is Aud’s haptic feedback screens feel cool, the clicking sound when you touch a button is quite pleasing but it would be nice to have all the HVAC controls use physical buttons.
The front sports seats are very comfortable and have heating, lumbar support, and a memory function so you can always return to your saved perfect position. Passengers in the back seat have heated seats as well with USB-C power and a quality armrest with two cupholders. One big miss though is the lack of cooled seats which seems weird for a car costing $91,000 and is something that Audi really needs to offer.
Cargo space is limited at 13.7 cubic feet but if you want more then maybe consider the S7 which offers 24 cubic feet, obviously for more money.
There’s a lot to like about the 2023 Audi S6. It’s a solid and relatively affordable performance sedan that can often be overlooked versus its German rivals BMW and Mercedes.
It’s really two cars in one, an excellent canyon carver but also supremely comfortable around town or on a long road trip. Some say it looks too subtle but that just makes it a great sleeper car and if you need to be shouty then get an RS6.
2023 Audi S6 Numbers
BASE PRICE: $73,700
PRICE AS TESTED: $91,165
VEHICLE TYPE: Front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
ENGINE: 3.0 twin-turbocharged and inter-cooled DOHC 24-valve V-6
POWER: 444 hp @ 6,700 rpm
TORQUE: 443 lb-ft @ 1,900 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT 4,486 lb
ZERO to 60 mph: 4.4 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155 mph
TIRES and WHEELS: 21 inch, Bridgestone 255/35R-21
EPA city/highway/combined: 19/26/22 mpg
FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 19.3 gallons
OUR OBSERVED: 18.8 mpg
PROS: Properly quick, great interior, a true sleeper
CONS: Small trunk, no cooled seats