As the fine people at Audi will tell you, the company takes its name from a twist on the name of its founding father, August Horch: “Horch chose a Latin translation of his name for the new company. So "horch!" – or "hark" – became "audi!". It was a brilliant idea that came from the son of one of August Horch's business partners.” Later still, Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer, four previously independent firms, were combined to form Audi AG— each one symbolized by the four rings that identify the marque. Although his name has been cleverly disguised within the brand DNA, Horch is hardly forgotten, Audi designs cars that are clearly meant to be, er, harkened with.
The cabin of this sports salon beats many of its luxury counterparts, with a nice mixture of stitched, (optional) carbon-fibre trim, supple leather and comfortably contoured seats. The front seats offer optional ventilation and massage function, for those long hot days of toiling, er, in an air-conditioned office no doubt of you’re buying this car.
There’s also Audi’s intuitive MMI infotainment system and (since you do have to leave said office once in a while) climate control is standard. MMI is configured with navigation plus with MMI touch running off of a power-retractable eight-inch running lightening quick Tegra 30 graphics chip from Audi’s tech partner Nvidia. You can also add an Audi connect module for LTE data transfer and access to Audi’s new media streaming apps. If that’s not enough display real estate, there’s also an available head- up display for sundry info.
The S6 affords a robust suite of driver assistance programs too, including adaptive cruise control with full stop & go function, Audi side assist, which uses radar to look out for you behind the car during lane changes, while working in conjunction with Audi active lane assist, which helps keep you between the lines when you’re zoning out on the long dry hustle to Abu Dhabi. Audi has updated the night vision assistant for the 2016 model year, and collision pre sense is now included standard.
The car is not a radical departure over the previous model year— but then why mess with a great combination of power and style for the consummate V8 lover looking for the utility of a saloon? Cosmetically, the S6 shares upgrades with the Avant, adding slightly thicker and now twin crossbars on the grille, while the air inlets, bumper, and headlights are reformed for what I like to describe as, a modicum of drama.
Looking quite deliberately, one can see that the S6 enjoys matte black brake calipers, an aluminum-like rear diffuser, pared down LED headlights, while riding 20mm lower than the standard A6, atop Audi’s excellent adaptive air suspension. Additionally, overall changes to the A6 are reflected (and appreciated) here too, with more protruding side skirts, 20” twin-spoke alloy wheels, and just generally more of what Office Space writer/director Mike Judge might call “flare.”
This whip feels exceedingly smooth, even when the 4.0-litre V8 turbo and 7-speed transmission combine to deliver the car’s 444bhp and 550Nm of torque to the tarmac in earnest, shuttling up to the 100kph mark in 4.4 seconds, topping out at a healthy 250kph. Despite its unnatural aspiration, the big V8 eschews perceptible lag, running through the gears with the pep and alacrity of a Dubai taxi driver on, er, his or her (mustn’t neglect the pink taxis) last day of work.
The S6 has ample grip, hanging in on the turns to the extent that sanity and your tolerance for G-force is about all that seems to limit its, er, limits out on the road. I didn’t get a chance to try the car on the track, but I reckon that would be quite enjoyable too.
If you lack an Autobahn, you may find yourself feeling constrained by any real place to put the S6 through its paces, so I suggest a visit to Yas or the Autodrome if you can swing it (and the car), of course that’s just my gut talking. The ride is on the stiff side, which helps give the handling its incredibly honed feel— just watch out for those sleeping policemen.
Out on the road I found the S6 both comfortable and sporty, with plenty of power on tap whenever I needed it. It’s also a great looking car that anyone would be proud to be seen in. Lighter and trimmer than the S7, the S6 gobbles up corners and loves to be hurled into tight corners with the various nanny bits defeated— assuming you’ve got the skills and stomach for it. Meanwhile, you could drive this thing to Yemen and barely need to stretch your legs, as it offers a great deal of comfort to match its superlative performance. August Horch began a tradition of spare-no-expense automotive engineering and, while there’s quite a bit of tech that comes optional on this car, the basic package is one serious driver’s car, and that’s reason to toast Herr Horch’s legacy.