Don’t be fooled by the Audi S6’s sober-suited looks. Beneath its understated four-door body beats the heart of a true supercar.
With the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 as used in the brilliant Bentley Continental GT V8, a grippy four-wheel-drive chassis and hi-tech air-suspension, the new car has all the ingredients to deliver serious driving thrills.
Sporty styling cues may have been kept to a minimum, but the 19-inch alloys, subtle bodykit, silver-finish door mirrors and quad-exit exhausts still manage to give the car plenty of appeal.
Inside, the standard A6’s spacious and beautifully built cabin is treated to a smattering of S logos, a pair of supportive sports seats for the driver and passenger, and an impressive haul of standard kit, including sat-nav, four-zone climate control and leather trim.
The driving experience is dominated by that remarkable V8 engine. With 414bhp and a muscular 550Nm of torque at just 1,450rpm, it blasts the S6 from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds.
Better still, this scorching acceleration is accompanied by a rumbling V8 soundtrack at high revs, while the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox delivers quick and slick shifts.
Clever cylinder deactivation technology helps in achieving respectable CO2 emissions of 225g/km and promised fuel returns of 29.4mpg. On top of that, the S6 has Audi’s neat noise cancellation kit, which uses concealed microphones and the stereo speakers to reduce wind, road and engine noise.
The quattro all-wheel-drive system serves up staggering grip and traction, while the Audi Drive Select set-up allows you to tailor steering, throttle and suspension settings to suit the road conditions or your mood.
As a result, the S6 feels surprisingly agile and composed for such a big car. But the steering could do with more feedback, while even at its softest setting the air-suspension is a little firm.
At £53,995, the Audi undercuts rivals like the BMW 550i – plus it’s every bit as refined, roomy and practical as a normal A6.