The new 2020 Audi S6 is the hopped-up version of the brand’s comfort-focused A6 sedan. In true Audi “S model” style, the S6 exudes sporty features inside and out and houses a powertrain that stays true to the company’s racing roots, but with a technological ace up its sleeve. To add an extra kick and better efficiency, Audi incorporated a mild-hybrid system with an electric compressor, but does it really improve performance?
Let’s get technical
Actually, no, we won’t get too technical with the new S6’s powertrain. But just know that it’s a twin-turbo, 2.9-liter V6 engine – the same one found in the RS5 – that’s mated to a 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain, which utilizes a small 9.6Ah lithium-ion battery and an “Electric Powered Compressor (EPC).”
According to Audi, “the battery provides the electric motor energy to accelerate the turbine located downstream of the engine’s turbochargers to quickly increase pressure, aiding engine responsiveness and torque delivery.”
Basically, the small compressor feeds more air into the engine at low idle speeds and in the lower rpm range to make up for the turbo lag, thus improving acceleration and throttle response.
Does it make a huge difference in power? No, not really. This setup is good for 444 horsepower, and 443 lb-ft of torque, which can scoot the car to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, thanks also to the eight-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive.
For those keeping track, these figures are down on horsepower compared to the previous S6’s V8 setup, however, it makes 37 more lb-ft of torque with far better fuel economy (a 22% increase).
The rest of the car is good, too
On the outside, the 2020 Audi S6 sets itself apart from its A6 stablemate with new front and rear bumpers, a double-slat grille, a quad-tipped exhaust, aluminum mirrors caps, and S badging all around. Twenty-inch wheels are standard, but optional 21-inch wheels are available.
On the inside, the S6 is adorned with leather seating surfaces and sport-bolstered seats. The Alcantara door trim and smattering of carbon fiber appliques denote the car’s S model designation and the Virtual Cockpit displays a more racecar-like tachometer display.
Otherwise, the S6 isn’t that much different than the A6 model as it has the same MyAudi Touch Response dual-touchscreen set up along with the same suite of driver-assist aids and safety equipment.
The more-subtle A6 sedan starts at $54,900, so as you can guess, its super twin-turbo brother carries a heftier price tag, although you might think it’s not too much more. In that case, you would be right and wrong. The S6 is priced higher, but how does $73,900 sound?
That’s almost $20,000 more for a different powertrain setup and slightly better seats. Is it worth it? Honestly, probably not as we find that the Audi A6 would be quick enough and comfortable for the daily drive, while the S6 would be more just for bragging that you have some technical wizardry under the hood.
We’ll admit that putting in a turbine to combat low-end turbo lag and provide acceleration is pretty genius and who wouldn’t want 444 horsepower? However, we don’t think it’s worth the price of a base model Honda Civic just to get it.