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Audi S6 an unexpectedly vicious beast


WHEN Audi builds a fast car, it attaches the letter S in front of the model description on the boot lid – S3, S4, S5, etc. When it builds a monster of a car, it puts the letter R in front of the S - RS3, RS4, RS5 and the upcoming RS7.

That way it’s easier for the public to differentiate between a fast, leisurely cruise mobile like the S5 and a fire-breathing monster like the RS5.

I think they messed up with the S6. Because it only had one letter and one number in its nomenclature, I was expecting a relaxing luxury barge with a decent turn of speed. Nothing exceptional, just that warm feeling you get from a car that accelerates briskly instead of furiously.

The first thing I did was bury my foot in the carpet to see what the new 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 with 309kW and 550Nm of torque was capable of. 
To me, it immediately felt faster than the RS5, a car that should, in fact, give it a proper hiding in a straight line. I got out and checked the rear, but no, I hadn’t misread the nomenclature. The monster before me was nothing more than a mere S6.

This left me wondering about two things: is the S6 actually the performance-saloon bargain of the year and just how scary is this car going to be once Audi actually pastes an R on the back? Very, I think.

A bit of research proved that the S6 is indeed a bargain. A similarly powerful BMW 550i M Sport will cost you R108 000 more, while a Mercedes-Benz E500 will set you back an extra R78 000. Both these cars also don’t have the added dash of exclusivity and kudos that come as standard on the Audi.

And don’t think Audi has skimped on interior features to keep the price down. The S6 comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation, 19-inch alloy wheels, alcantara/leather sports seats, air suspension and a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel. For once on a German car, there’s no need to delve into the extensive and expensive options list.

Interior quality is also very good, which makes it a lovely place to spend time in. I also like the LCD screen which pops out of its own little hidden compartment in the dashboard. I know it’s nothing more than a gimmick, but it made me feel special and superior whenever it slid up out of the dash. It’s more or less the same story with the rest of the interior. It’s so exquisite that it makes you feel superior to every other road user.

But at its core, the S6 is supposed to be a sportscar that you can live with every day. Thanks to the above and a first-rate air-suspension system, you can pootle along in serene comfort as you would in any other Audi.

You will inevitably get to a point where the need to floor it becomes too much. I did, and it was a glorious occasion. I’ve always loved fast Audis, because they allow average drivers like me to tap into our inner hooligans without fear of ending up in a huge ball of fire. Thanks to the patented Quattro all-wheel-drive system, everyone can have proper fun in a fast Audi.

The S6 is a fantastic car that I grew to love during the time I spent with it. I like the Q-car styling and the fact that it feels like a gentleman racer’s company car - sedate and comfy most of the time, but a monster when you want it to be.

At R834 600 it’s a bargain, but let’s not exclude the Chrysler 300C SRT8 from the equation. That’s also a monster of a thing and at R200 000 less than the S6, it’s also worth a look.

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