2017 Audi S6 Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2017 Audi S6 is a car that pampers as well as it performs. Its handsome interior is covered in rich leather and trim, displays exemplary fit and finish, and offers sophisticated entertainment and technology. Wonderfully contoured seats keep you as comfortable on long trips as they do stable through hairpin turns. Then there's jaw-dropping acceleration from a 450-horsepower V8 engine that makes the S6 one of the fastest sport sedans we've tested.
For a luxury sedan that's been around for several years now, the S6 still has what it takes to compete. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is a welcome addition to its features list as it allows iPhone and Android users to mirror certain functions through the Audi's multimedia interface.
As luxury sport sedans go, the S6 competes mainly against the V8-powered BMW 550i. But the S6 is more powerful and handles better on twisty tarmac than its German rival. The forthcoming Mercedes-Benz AMG E43 is another close competitor that also packs nearly 400 horsepower, high-end luxury appointments, and a price tag in a similar ballpark (approximately $70,000). The Jaguar XF and Cadillac CTS V-Sport are compelling alternatives as well, but the S6 still stands out among its class as one of the most well-rounded and desirable players.
Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Audi S6 includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side and knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a blind-spot warning system, forward collision mitigation, a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors.
Rear side airbags and a night-vision system are optional, as is a sophisticated Driver Assistance package that includes an active lane departure warning/keeping system, adaptive cruise control and the Audi Pre Sense Plus collision mitigation system, which warns the driver and can automatically activate the brakes and adjust the front seats for maximum protection if a crash appears unavoidable.
In Edmunds brake testing, an S6 with 20-inch wheels and summer tires needed 111 feet to stop from 60 mph, a few feet longer than we expect of a car in this class.
In government crash tests, the Audi S6 received five out of five stars overall, with five stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the similar A6 sedan its highest rating of "Good" in all of its safety tests, including the moderate and small-overlap frontal crash tests, the side-impact crash test and the roof-strength test. The A6's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Audi S6 is a high-performance version of the A6 midsize luxury sedan. It's offered in two trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige.
Standard exterior features for the Premium Plus trim include 19-inch wheels with summer tires, S-specific styling elements, automatic xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension, a sunroof, heated auto-dimming power-folding side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system and keyless ignition and entry.
Inside you'll find a driver information center with a 7-inch display between the gauges, Audi's Drive Select (which offers adjustable settings for steering, suspension and transmission response), diamond-stitched leather upholstery, heated eight-way power front sport seats (with four-way driver power lumbar), a power-adjustable flat-bottomed steering wheel, driver memory settings, four-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and 60/40 split- folding rear seatbacks.
Electronics highlights start with the MMI infotainment system, which includes a console-mounted control knob with a touchpad that can read your fingertip scribbles, a central 8-inch display, a navigation system with Google Earth maps, voice controls (including Siri Eyes Free for iOS devices) and Audi Connect (including enhanced Web-based information services, 4G LTE data connectivity and mobile Wi-Fi capability). Also standard are a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio, a 14-speaker Bose surround sound audio system.
The Prestige trim adds LED headlights, a power trunk lid, a head-up display, LED interior lighting and rear sunshades (manual for the side windows, powered for the rear window). The LED headlights and rear sunshades can also be added as options to the Premium Plus.
Exclusive options for the Prestige trim include a night-vision system and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Most other options, available for either trim, are organized into packages. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control (with stop-and-go functionality), lane keeping assist, a surround-view parking camera system, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking, and automatic high beams.
The Comfort Seating package features upgraded front seats with ventilation and massage functions, front passenger memory settings, and upgraded leather upholstery (sans diamond stitching).
The S6 Sport package provides dynamic steering, a torque-vectoring rear differential and a sport exhaust. The Cold Weather package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. The Black Optic package tacks on exclusive 20-inch wheels, body-color exterior mirrors (instead of the standard silver ones) and gloss-black exterior trim.
Stand-alone options include different 20-inch wheels, rear side airbags, and a selection of inlays and interior trim choices.
The 2017 S6 is powered by a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that pumps out 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is a seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters that works in concert with the standard all-wheel-drive system.
In Edmunds track testing, the S6 scorched the pavement, accelerating from zero to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, a very quick time for any class of car.
Remarkably, the S6 also earns an above-average EPA fuel economy rating of 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/27 mpg highway).
The S6's 450-horsepower output pits it against sedans like the 445-hp BMW 550i. But in our testing, its astounding acceleration shows that it's an able rival to hairier German tuner sedans like the BMW M5 (560 hp) and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S (577 hp), for thousands of dollars less.
Moreover, the engine's refinement is about as good as it gets. The same goes for the automated manual transmission, which is equally content ripping off perfect rev-matched downshifts or just loping around town.
With its quick steering response and tenacious grip, the S6 handles like a proper world-class sports car, yet its standard air suspension keeps the ride quality civilized on all surfaces. There are cars that do certain things better than the S6, but very few can match this Audi's all-around performance.
It only takes a few moments inside the 2017 Audi S6 to realize that it's something special. Highlights include a handsome dashboard layout, top-quality materials and excellent fit and finish. The standard infotainment system integrates the car's entertainment, communication and navigation functions, which are controlled through a dash-mounted pop-up screen and a dial-and-buttons cluster on the center console. The system boasts logical menus, crisp graphics and a touchpad that lets you use finger movements to spell out addresses, search your contacts list and perform swipe commands, among other tasks.
The S6 also features Audi Connect online services, including an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot with 4G LTE connectivity, Google Earth data for the navigation system and simplified Google search functionality for points of interest. The mobile Wi-Fi allows passengers to access Web content on their mobile devices, and proves handy for getting work done on the road when there's no Starbucks in sight. The Google Earth feature is a mixed bag, however; it's a bit harder to read at a glance than a conventional map display.
Whether you keep the standard sport seats or opt for the multi-contour comfort seats, you'll enjoy excellent support on both long trips and spirited back-road runs. The S6's trunk, at 14.1 cubic feet of volume, is a little below average for this segment, but it has a useful rear seatback that folds down in a 60/40 split and includes a pass-through opening for carrying long items like skis.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.