Sports Cars

2020 Audi S6, S7 switch to diesel in Europe, will still slurp gas in the US

US buyers will make do with a 2.9-liter gas V6.

Audi

Whether you're a fan of 'em or not, diesel engines aren't dead yet. In fact, Audi's just shoehorned one such oil-burner into two sporty sedans (okay, one's a hatchback, but still).

Audi on Thursday unveiled the latest generation of S6 and S7. Just as with the A6 and A7 that preceded them, the cars are essentially twins, sporting the same powertrain and equipment. The main differentiator is out back -- if you prefer something staid and traditional, the S6 will likely be your choice, but if you care a bit more about fashion, the S7 should be the more appealing choice. The S6 is also available in an Avant wagon trim, if you really want to be the coolest guy on the block (I might be biased).

Perhaps the most interesting part of the new S6 and S7 is the introduction of a diesel engine in Europe. The other side of the pond will have access to a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 that puts out 349 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. It's not just a regular diesel engine, either -- it comes mated to an electric turbocharger and a 48-volt mild hybrid system.

Avants make everything better. Don't @ me.

Audi

The mild hybrid system allows the car's stop-start system to kick in around 14 miles per hour, further saving fuel. The electric turbocharger, on the other hand, helps out the traditional exhaust-driven turbocharger by spinning up quickly to eliminate turbo lag and improve responsiveness.

Since the US doesn't exactly love diesels, though, we get something else. The US-spec S6 and S7 will receive a 2.9-liter turbo V6 mated to the same electric compressor and 48-volt mild hybrid system. Net output here is a more balanced 430 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard in both the US and Europe, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission.

If that's not enough, the new S6 and S7 mark the first time that Audi will offer four-wheel steering in these vehicles. An adaptive front steering system is connected to separate rear-axle steering that can reduce the turning radius and improve high-speed agility. Adaptive dampers are standard, with a more comfortable air suspension offered as optional equipment. 15.7-inch steel front brakes are standard (rears measure 14.6 inches), but buyers can drop some coin on a carbon-ceramic upgrade if they want.

As with previous iterations, the S6 and S7 carry a sportier appearance than their A6 and A7 siblings. The bumpers are more aggressive, there are dark chrome and aluminum accents in various corners, with the S7 receiving some additional trim strips and air inlets. 20-inch wheels are standard, but 21s are available. Inside, there's a set of leather sport seats with embossed S logos, available in black, gray or red. There are unique S gauges in the cluster, illuminated S logos on the doorsills and stainless-steel pedal covers.

On the tech side of things, there's nothing we haven't seen in other new Audi models, including the A6 and A7. The infotainment system is one of our favorites of all time -- MMI Touch Response uses two screens to give occupants access to everything from regular infotainment duties to the climate control. Audi didn't specify, but a number of safety systems are likely standard, including automatic emergency braking.

The 2020 S6 and S7 will launch in Europe this summer, but it's unclear when the US models will hit showrooms. In Germany, the S6 sedan will start at 76,500 euros (about $86,000), while the Avant wagon brings the price up to an even 79,000 euros (about $89,000). The S7 is more expensive than the others at 82,750 euros (about $93,000) to start. It's important to note that US prices are generally lower than the converted euro prices, but Audi has not yet announced pricing for US models.