What's New for 2007
The Audi S6 is reborn for 2007. Leading the car's performance-oriented changes versus a regular A6 sedan is a 435-horsepower V10 engine.
Every so often, Audi tosses its four rings into the rarefied arena of super sport sedans. For 2007, this means the return of the Audi S6 nameplate. As with BMW's "M" and Mercedes' "AMG" divisions, Audi's "S" badge indicates a high-performance version of a given car, in this case the A6 midsize luxury sedan.
For cars of this type, what lies under the hood is always the headlining topic of discussion. In the case of the 2007 S6, Audi has shoehorned in a 5.2-liter V10 engine. The engine is similar to the one used by Audi-owned Lamborghini for its Gallardo exotic sports car but has been modified and detuned for its duty in the Audi. The V10's peak output of 435 hp is less, but the powerband is fuller and more fitting for a luxury sport sedan. It's teamed with a six-speed Tiptronic automatic that allows manual shifting via steering-wheel-mounted paddles, with the power sent to the pavement via Audi's "Quattro" all-wheel-drive system.
Of course, the Audi S6's suspension and brakes are beefed up, the wheels are larger (19-inch alloys all around) and the cabin features aggressively bolstered sport seats and tasteful carbon-fiber accents. In terms of sheer design elegance inside and out, not much can touch this Audi.
Considered in isolation, the S6 is a highly desirable machine. There's plenty of power, serious chassis upgrades (including massive 15-inch brakes in front), all-wheel drive, a typical Audi interior (that is to say, beautifully trimmed) and a price tag that's more than $10,000 less than its two countryman rivals.
Erm, wait, did we say rivals? Yes, and there's the rub for the 2007 Audi S6. Germany is also home to the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, and both sedans are able to outgun the S6 in almost every performance category. For example, although the S6's 0-60-mph time of 5.7 seconds and quarter-mile time of 14.0 seconds are certainly quick, those times are dusted by the sub-5-second and sub-13-second efforts of the Bimmer and Benz. And when the road turns curvy, the pudgier and more nose-heavy S6 just doesn't have the crisp turn-in and light-on-its-feet feel of the other two.
Point this out to Audi and its marketers will likely counter that the less expensive S6 isn't meant to truly compete against those cars. The forthcoming ultra-high-performance, no-holds-barred RS6 will be faster than either, they say. That may be true. Still, when one considers this type of purchase, the dollars spent usually matter less than the performance and status gained. Unfortunately for Audi, the M5 and E63 exceed the S6's performance by a considerable margin.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Audi S6 is a high-performance version of Audi's A6 midsize luxury sedan that comes in one loaded trim level. Standard are 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, unique front and rear fascias, bi-xenon adaptive HID headlights, full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control, trip computer, leather seating, auto-dimming mirrors, napa leather seating, heated/power front seats and a 10-speaker audio system with CD changer. Options include a navigation system, keyless starting, adaptive cruise control, rear park assist with camera, satellite radio, rear heated seats and a power rear sunshade.
Powertrains and Performance
A 5.2-liter V10 with 435 hp and 398 pound-feet of torque powers the 2007 Audi S6. It sends its power to all four wheels through a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that allows manual gearchanges via paddles behind the steering wheel. We recorded a 0-60-mph time of 5.7 seconds (compared to Audi's claim of 5.1 seconds) and a quarter-mile run of 14.0 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.
Antilock disc brakes, stability control, a tire-pressure monitor, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard. Rear-seat side airbags are optional, as is a rear park-assist system. In IIHS crash testing, the Audi A6 (on which the S6 is based) scored "Good," the highest possible rating, in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
Trimmed in leather, aluminum and birch wood accents, the S6's cabin upholds Audi's solid reputation as a builder of some of the finest automobile interiors. The S6's front sport seats are heavily bolstered to provide support during aggressive driving on a twisty road. Available luxury features, such as heated rear seats and power sunshades, provide comfort for those in back as well. A split/folding rear seat with a pass-through provides additional cargo capacity should the trunk's 15.9 cubic feet not be enough.
Weighing nearly 4,500 pounds, the 2007 Audi S6 is no lightweight, and this is most noticeable when attacking a twisty road. Although steering is crisp, body roll is well controlled and handling is confidence-inspiring, the S6 just doesn't have the nimble feel of its lighter rivals. Around town, the sport suspension calibration gives a stiff-legged ride, quite out of character for an Audi and again not equal to the more forgiving yet still very capable setups of the competition.