Mid-sized A6 sedan and its twin-turbocharged sporty S6 sibling are joined by an ultra-torquey long-range turbo-diesel missile.
Base engine is Audi’s workhorse turbo-four-cylinder that now produces 220 horsepower; 3.0-liter V6 with 310 horsepower and twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with 420 horsepower in reborn S6 carry over; all-new 3.0-liter turbo-diesel has 240 horses and almost twice as much torque.
Perhaps to balance all the gas-sucking performance introduced last year with the S6, Audi has decided to balance the scales slightly for 2014. How? By using a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6. Amazingly, 240 horsepower is more than decent because of the 428 pound-feet of torque that comes along with it. That’s more torque than even the S6 delivers… and the TDI delivers with zero-to-60 mph times of 5.5 seconds while delivering outstanding fuel economy of 24 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. It uses the same eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive system as most other A6 models and will promise to be a popular selection when country-crossing trips are planned. The highlight of the reborn S6 has to be the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with 420 horsepower that launches the car to 60 mph in only 4.5 seconds. Part of that startling number has to do with the seven-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive that’s bolstered by a sportier rear differential that helps the S6 handle better in the curves. Distinguishing features include a deeper grille with larger air intakes, unique 19-inch wheels that frame black brake calipers and quad exhaust pipes out back. Regular A6s haven’t changed much for 2014, although the base turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine now produces 220 horsepower (up from 211). The four-cylinder is standard in front-wheel-drive A6s connected to a continuously variable transmission, but can also be had with Quattro all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission that’s shared with the carryover 310-horsepower supercharged V6. Interior styling changes from the previous design include a stunning wrap-around-style dashboard that deserves to be displayed in a modern-art museum. Along with a veritable cornucopia of base content, there’s available genuine wood trim, premium 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system and a dash-mounted pop-up driver information/navigation screen to spruce up the cabin to an even greater degree, but will add thousands to the A6′s base price.
Base price (incl. destination): $44,100
Type: Four-door sedan
Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (220)
Optional engines (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC V6, supercharged (310); 3.0-liter DOHC V6, turbo-diesel (240); 4.0-liter DOHC V8, twin-turbocharged (420)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Continuously variable; eight-speed automatic (opt., std. on V6); seven-speed automated manual (S6)
MPG (city/hwy): 25/33 (2.0)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; head-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; rear-seat side-impact airbags (opt.)
Weight (lb.): 3,725