The Audi S6 is a performance executive car available since 1994.
Audi S6 Introduction and Naming
The beginning of the Audi S6 came at a somewhat confusing time for the names of vehicles in Audi’s lineup. Starting in 1991, the Audi S4 was a performance vehicle originally built on the Audi 100 C4 platform. But in 1994, Audi had a major shakeup to the monikers used for their vehicle lineup, and changed the name of the Audi 100 to the Audi A6. As a result, the Audi S6 was born in 1994, as a high-performance variant of the Audi A6. It was essentially the same exact vehicle as the already-existing Audi S4, which began production in 1991. While the S-series Audis were relatively new at the time, they have now become ubiquitous with the brands performance heritage. The S6 was the top of the line Audi A6 at the time, although now Audi has introduced an even higher performance RS package.
Engine and Performance
The 1994 Audi S6 featured a turbocharged 2.2L inline-5 cylinder engine which produced 227 horsepower and 240 lb ft of torque. It had a top speed of 146 mph and could go 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in 6.7 seconds. It was paired to a 6-speed manual transmission. The European market had another engine option for the Audi S6, a rather large 4.2L V8 engine with 286 horsepower. This engine option came standard with a 4+1 automatic transmission, but a 6-speed manual was available as an option. All Audi S6s came with the popular quattro four-wheel drive, ventilated disc brakes, and 2-piston floating calipers. In 1997, a special edition Audi S6 Plus was released to the European market, utilizing an enhanced version of the 4.2L V8 engine that could produce 322 horsepower. It also featured upgraded suspension, brakes, and wheels.
Second Generation S6
While Audi introduced the new Audi A6 in 1997, it wasn’t until two years later that the second-generation Audi S6 was released in 1999. It was available as a 4-door sedan and a 5-door Avant wagon. This generation Audi S6 came with an all-aluminum 4.2L 40-valve V8 that produced 335 horsepower and 310 lb ft of torque. It was paired to a 6-speed manual transmission, just as most models of the A6 had in the previous generation. As one would expect from an Audi performance vehicle, the suspension, brakes, and wheels were all upgraded in the S6. The ride was more stiff and the body was lowered 0.39 inches (10 mm). The body panels also featured more aggressive styling and oversized wheel arches. In 2002, Audi released the first RS 6, this time throwing a twin-turbocharged 4.2L V8 engine under the hood to increase horsepower to an astonishing 444. It had a 0 to 62 mph time of just 4.6 seconds, quite impressive for a vehicle of its size.
While the next generation of Audi A6 was released in 2004, it would again take an additional two years until the Audi S6 counterpart came to the market. This generation lineup saw a dramatic change in exterior and interior design. This time, Audi did not hold back at all with the engine used for the Audi S6. Some reports indicate that it was derived from the 5.0L V10 seen in Lamborghinis, but the S6 used a 5.2L FSI V10 that had increased bore to achieve even better low-end torque. This engine produced a whopping 429 horsepower and 398 lb ft of torque and was paired with a 6-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The Torsen-based quattro all-wheel drive system remained standard. It dropped the 0 to 62 mph time to 5.2 seconds and had a top speed of 155 mph, once again impressive for a vehicle weighing around 4,500 pounds.
Fourth and Fifth Generation Audi S6
The fourth-generation S6 was released in 2012, this time powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 engine with 414 horsepower and 406 lb ft of torque. Audi began to reign in the oversized engine, but still managed to squeeze out even more torque. In 2019, the latest generation of the Audi S6 was released, and saw another decrease to the engine displacement. It now has a twin-turbocharged 2.9L V6 engine with a whopping 444 horsepower and 443 lb ft of torque, paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Modern technology allowed for increased performance despite smaller engine size.