KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Audi knows how to bring the pain to the competition by producing a line of high-performance sedans and coupes to rival the best from BMW, Mercedes and Infiniti. The 2009 Audi S6 is a prime example. Not as smooth on the highway as the more mainstream A6 on which it's based, and not as quick through a canyon as a similarly-priced Porsche 911 Carrera, Audi's factory-tuned S6 – like most of Germany's factory-tuned super sedans – is nonetheless a brilliant way to enjoy varying degrees of each with only a single monthly payment. Now if we could just convince Audi to build a wagon model like the S4 Avant.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you like the seemingly incongruent concept of a lot of performance but with more gentlemanly behavior, the 2009 Audi S6 will blow you away with its manners.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're focused solely on flash and fast, the 2009 Audi S6 might not appeal to you as deeply as the BMW M5 or the Mercedes-Benz E63.
What's New for 2009
The 2009 Audi S6 receives some minor cosmetic upgrades to its front fascia and rear end, as well as updated wheels. New standard equipment includes a DVD-based navigation unit and rear park assist.
Compared to the harder-edged BMW M5 and the neck-snapping Mercedes-Benz E63, the Audi S6 almost feels laid-back at times. Not for a lack of horsepower or agility, mind you, but because of the sheer effortlessness with which it goes about the business of being fast. The resulting confidence makes the 2009 Audi S6 a particularly satisfying partner on public roads. The steering and brake systems are tuned appropriately, and you can feel the quattro all-wheel drive system making its contribution to balanced handling. Highway ride comfort takes a slight degradation from the suspension's sport tuning, but even for a long coast-to-coast excursion the S6 would be among our top choices.
LED Daytime Running Lights
Bright white LED daytime running lights – in rows of five set low on either side – give the S6 one of the most distinctive faces on the road.
We like its smooth power delivery, unique sounds and the simple fact that a V10 is much more of a conversation starter than a V8.
Supportive on both the highway and in the corners, the Audi S6's well-bolstered front seats perfectly exemplify the car's balanced persona. Like most Audi passenger cabins, the feeling of quality is palpable and the sense of impeccable style is encompassing. The standard wood trim is attractive, but the carbon fiber available as an upgrade is exceptional. Audi's MMI central control system is among the more intuitive of these systems on the market today.
Visually, the 2009 Audi S6 is distinguished from the A6 by a collection of subtle but aggressive styling elements. A bolder front end is highlighted by a uniquely-styled grille and very distinctive LED daytime running lights. From the side, the S6 is identifiable by its unique 19-inch wheels, aluminum-look exterior mirrors and V10 badges. A tastefully integrated rear spoiler and four oval exhaust tips bring up the rear.
Notable Standard Equipment
The S6's standard equipment list includes a Bose sound system, Audi's MMI central control system, leather seating, heated front seats, wood trim, sunroof, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a DVD-based navigation system, reverse parking sensors and camera, keyless unlock and start and adaptive high intensity discharge headlights. Standard safety equipment includes a full complement of front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.
Notable Optional Equipment
Optional features on the S6 include rear heated seats, rear side airbags, black Milano leather upgrade, Audi Side Assist lane change assistant and smaller 18-inch wheels.
Under the Hood
Like its S8 big brother, the mid-size S6 features a slightly larger, direct-injected version of the V10 engine found in the cars' corporate cousin, the Lamborghini Gallardo. Combined with a six-speed Tiptronic transmission, the 2008 Audi S6 will reach 60 mph in 5.1 seconds on its way to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph. Other mechanical highlights include a 40/60 rear-biased quattro all-wheel drive system, along with more aggressive suspension tuning, bigger brakes and a more direct steering ratio than the A6.
435 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
398 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3000-4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19
The 2009 Audi S6's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) begins around $78,000 and climbs sharply to nearly $80,000 when fully loaded. Because of limited supply, we expect our Fair Purchase Prices to reflect real-world transaction prices equal to sticker price. BMW M5 pricing ranges from just under $90,000 to over $100,000, with the Mercedes-Benz E63 slightly above that range. As for resale value, we expect the S6 to perform on par with the BMW, and a few percentage points higher than the Mercedes over time.