This is the prime focus for the Audi S6 and, while previous S6 fans might be disappointed by the binning of the 5.2-litre V10, the smaller twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 is just as good. Producing 414bhp and a substantial 550Nm, it’s hardly lacking in the performance stakes compared to the previous model. In fact this car is actually quicker than the last car.
The saloon version is capable of covering the 0-62mph mark in 4.6 seconds – down from 5.0 seconds on its predecessor – while the Avant model can cover the same benchmark in 4.7 seconds – 0.4 seconds quicker than the last S6 Avant. While it looks impressive on paper, this pace is even more so in reality, especially considering the car weighs around 1,800kg.
The S6 is fitted with the German company’s excellent seven-speed S Tronic automatic gearbox. The incredibly quick gear changes add to the car’s raw pace and can be quickly put in manual mode using the steering-wheel-mounted paddles.
With the Quattro four-wheel-drive system, the S6 has more than enough grip to deal with the power of the V8 engine. It handles quicker corners well, always feeling planted, but you do get a little body roll. The adaptive air suspension and sports differential, which come as standard on both models and lowers the body, means the handling is sharp and precise.
It’s more composed and refined than its BMW rival but doesn’t offer the kind of excitement and engagement of the Bavarian saloon. Dynamic mode weights up the steering, delays the gearchanges and speeds up the throttle response. It's competent rather than involving and we think the Individual mode is the best choice because it allows the driver to set up the car according to his or her own preferences.