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Car Tech Video: 2013 Audi S6
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Car Tech Video: 2013 Audi S6

6:16 /

The 2013 Audi S6 is a unique combination of style, speed, and technology that rivals most luxury carmakers.

-The Audi 6 is kind of a bread-and-butter car. It's neither the high-end nor the low-end, but on this one, it's the fast-end. Let's take a run on the 2013 Audi S6 and check the tech. An S6 takes a standard A6 and adds a whole lot of very real performance improvements. A much harder, bigger engine on the hood that we'll visit in a minute, a sports air suspension that's adaptive around all four corners, and as you can see, a lot of different body cues. Spot one of these guys by the curling lower lip in front, the bar across the grill instead of a full-depth cowcatcher, and the satin finish mirrors. But, to my eye, Audi's S cars are a lot less overt than the M cars of the AMGs. There's less machismo. It's kind of an Audi thing. Okay, now, when you have an S car, you've got kind of a gluttonous engine. I mean, who does big V8s anymore? Around midsize V8s. 4 liter, direct injection, twin-turbo V8 under the hood of this S6. The numbers are nice. 420 horsepower, 406 foot-pounds of torque, 0 to 60 for this 4400-pound car, not exactly as felt happens in a trim, 4.5 seconds while still delivering pretty good 17/27 MPG, drivetrain, one choice. You're going to have a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual, what they call a DCT going out to quattro all-wheel drive. Exactly identical to the Audi S7. The cabin tech in this S6 is virtually identical to that in the S7. We recently took a detailed look at it. Let's revisit that for a moment. Audi's navigation system is one of the best out there. I like the way it presents almost everything. In terms of operating, still the same MMI interface, four zones here, map to four buttons down here around the controller. Notice on this car, we've got the Google Earth services built-in, so it's got Google Earth satellite imagery. Once you get out to, let say, this level here, a three-quarter mile view, along with that Google Earth imagery, you've got local search to find destinations and all that's done through this little SIM card connection right here. You don't need to pair your smartphone to this guy to get connected. Now, let's talk media system on this car. Lots of choices. They start back here under the sneaky door. Alongside the SIM, you've got two SD card slots. I don't find that tremendously interesting. More interesting, your bluetooth streaming for which, on my android phone, I'm getting good meta tag information. That's quite a win on Android. Now, the one that's great out here, that would be your Audi media interface that lives here in the console. The reason it's not connected is because, as you can see here, we've got the old style 30-pin dock connector. Now, getting away from infotainment, the cabin tech really takes off with driver assistance tech in this car. First of all, we have adaptive cruise control which is where you set the speed and the follow distance, but on top of that, it's got stop and go technology. If you get into stop and go traffic, the car will come to a stop. And then when traffic starts again, it will automatically resume after the radar in the front sees that happen. And the camera up here behind the mirror scans for pedestrians. First, lane assist technology on this car is active. It's the same camera which can read not just lines, but colors of lines; detects that you're drifting and your signal is not on in that direction. It uses the electrohydraulic steering rack to steer you back and also give you a stick shake on the wheel if you set it that way. That same camera also looks out there for speed limit signs and can read them and puts those on the interface of the car to let you know what the speed limit is here. Now, I'm really sad our car does not have the night vision with pedestrian detection and head-up display. That is something I wanna check out in the real world on these Audis. And finally, we have parking assist technology. We've seen this in a lot of other cars that cost a lot less than this one, for example, but it will get you into a parallel parking spot as long as it is at least 31 inches longer than the car. Now, driving this S7 is like driving any Audi. In one respect, it's dead ass smooth. How do they do it? The S cars have an adaptive air suspension unlike the standard 7 or 6, for example. So, we've got a car that can change personalities dramatically, especially with this Audi Drive Select. Those modes we see on the screen there are dramatically different. It's not one of those placebos where you kind of see a difference and kind of don't. Here, it's like you bought three cars. When you're cutting it up on a nice little country road like this and getting into it, of course, quattro basically makes you look like a hero, not to mention all the usual adaptive controls. And the power on this car just never stops. That 420 horsepower and deceptively low 406 foot-pounds of torque are actually way more than you need. This thing is like a locomotive. Oh, by the way, this car has cylinder deactivation, which I don't think we had in our S7. I don't recall that. It will shut down cylinders two, three, five, and eight when it's loafing at cruising speeds. I never detected it. It is so perfectly smooth. It's wonderful. Now, all this said, you think it's the perfect car, right? But when I've compared BMWs and Audis, even the hot versions, head to head, I often come away feeling that the BMW has a clear edge as a street fighter. If that's your priority, I feel like this car is more of a sporting car than it is one to be absolutely hammered like a [unk] track car. I feel like it comes apart a little bit at the real ragged edge. [unk]. I absolutely love the combination of the power, smooth delivery, the really useful technology, and the understated lines and elegance. Okay, let's price our little sporty friend with the identity crisis. You're gonna start off around $72,700. Let's call it almost $73,000 for an S6 delivered. If you wanna get CNET style in a hurry, get the innovation package for around $5,500, that's gonna roll in the night vision detection, the head-up display, adaptive cruise, the stop and go technology. You're gonna get surround cameras, blind-spot detection, that active lane departure, and a lot more. Do it all with all those options, you're at about $86,000 for a car that is in the mid-ground, but I tell you what, you'll love driving it everyday.

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