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Article: Audi S6 Evolution | All AUDI S6 Models by Year (1994-Present) - Specs, Pictures & History

Audi S6 Evolution | All AUDI S6 Models by Year (1994-Present) - Specs, Pictures & History

Audi S6 Evolution | All AUDI S6 Models by Year (1994-Present) - Specs, Pictures & History

In the competitive landscape of high-performance luxury cars in the mid-1990s, Audi made a decisive entry with the introduction of the S6 (C4). This move was a strategic response to the dominating presence of BMW’s M Series and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG models, which had set a high bar in terms of luxury, performance, and technological prowess.

The S6 emerged as Audi's contender in this elite segment, offering a harmonious blend of elegance, power, and functionality. With its advanced quattro all-wheel-drive system, the S6 was not just another high-performance sedan; it was a statement of Audi's unique engineering and design philosophy. Aimed at consumers seeking a car that merged everyday practicality with sports car agility, the S6 set itself apart from its rivals with an understated yet commanding presence.

This pioneering model laid the groundwork for Audi's future in the performance car segment, challenging the norms and setting new standards. The Audi S6's inception was more than just a challenge to its German counterparts; it was a testament to Audi's commitment to innovation, luxury, and performance, marking the beginning of a new era in the automotive world. 

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1st Gen: AUDI S6 (C4) 1994-1997

Audi S6 1st gen

In the mid-90s, Audi initiated a significant rebranding of their classic 80, 100, and 200 series, transitioning them into the now-familiar A4, A6, and A8 models. It was in this era of change, in 1994, that Audi introduced the S6 as the pinnacle of performance in the newly established A6 range.

Audi launched their S6 model, an embodiment of both power and luxury. Under the hood, it featured a robust engine lineup, starting with an inline-five engine reminiscent of the Audi S1 rally car, later upgraded to a naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V8.

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This powertrain delivered impressive performance, marrying strength with smooth handling. Inside, the S6 boasted a refined interior, including sport seats clad in premium leather, electronic climate control, an advanced on-board computer, and a high-fidelity sound system, ensuring both comfort and a high-tech driving experience.

Audi's S6 was not only a powerhouse in terms of performance but also offered versatility in its form. It was available in both sedan and station wagon options, catering to a wide range of preferences, from the sleek and stylish to the practical and spacious.

As for the transmission, the European market enjoyed the thrill of a 6-speed manual gearbox, offering an engaging driving experience. In contrast, the U.S. market was equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, balancing performance with ease of use. This range of options underscored Audi's commitment to providing a tailored driving experience for different markets and driver preferences.

Specification

Details

Engine Type

2.2L Turbo 4AT AWD (230 HP)

Cylinders

V8

Displacement

4172 cm3

Power

280 HP @ 5800 RPM (206 KW / 276 BHP)

Torque

295 lb-ft @ 4400 RPM (400 Nm)

Fuel System

Multipoint Injection

Fuel

Gasoline

Fuel Capacity

21.1 gallons (79.9 L)

Top Speed

147 mph (237 km/h)

Acceleration (0-62 Mph)

8.1 s

Drive Type

All Wheel Drive

Gearbox

4-Speed Automatic

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2nd Gen: AUDI S6 (C5) 1999 - 2004

2nd gen Audi S6

As the 1990s were ending, Audi wasn't just satisfied with the success of its first-generation S6, which was built on the C4 platform and carried forward the heritage of the Audi 100. The car industry was changing quickly, and Audi understood that they needed to keep innovating. With competitors like BMW and Mercedes-Benz advancing in the sports car market and building on their past experiences, Audi saw the importance of fully committing to their second-generation S6. They aimed not just to keep up with others but to set new standards and boldly change the idea of what an Audi sports sedan could be in this new time.

2nd gen Audi S6

Capturing Audi's vision, the second-generation S6 marked a big change from the first model. Jeremy Clarkson, known for his unique way of reviewing cars, really emphasized how much the S6 had evolved. He was especially amazed by its twin-turbo 4.2-liter V8 engine, which produces a staggering 450 brake horsepower. But the change wasn't just about power. The car also had a bolder, more eye-catching design, with a unique front grille and wide wheel arches, clearly showing off its high performance.

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The S6 was more than just a well-engineered car. It reflected the spirit of the time, appealing to both rock stars and those who love luxury. The mix of subtle luxury and powerful performance matched the lifestyles of many rock icons who saw fast Audis as symbols of their achievements. Clarkson likened the car's power to famous buildings and classic songs like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Bohemian Rhapsody," highlighting the S6's status not just as a car, but as a symbol of culture.

Even with its stiff suspension and firm ride, Clarkson couldn't deny the appeal of the S6. He compared it favorably to rivals like the BMW M5 and Jaguar S-Type R, and even thought it could compete with Mercedes. This version of the S6 was more than just an upgrade; it was a bold statement from Audi. It combined excellent craftsmanship, cutting-edge technology, and a design that was both beautiful and functional. In short, the second-generation Audi S6 showed Audi's dedication to quality, innovation, and a deep understanding of luxury and performance in today's world.

Specification

Details

Engine Type

4.2L V8 Quattro 6MT (340 HP)

Cylinders

V8

Displacement

4172 cm3

Power

340 HP @ 7000 RPM (250 KW / 335 BHP)

Torque

310 lb-ft @ 3400 RPM (420 Nm)

Fuel System

Electronic Injection

Fuel

Gasoline

Fuel Capacity

21.7 gallons (82.1 L)

Top Speed

155.3 mph (250 km/h)

Acceleration (0-62 Mph)

5.7 s

Drive Type

All Wheel Drive

Gearbox

6-speed Manual



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3rd Gen: Audi S6 (C6 & C6.5) 2005-2011

2005 S6 V10

Starting in 2003, something remarkable happened in the world of German luxury cars. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi all went a bit crazy in a friendly competition to create the fastest and sportiest vehicles. Let's dive into this exciting era.

Mercedes-Benz made headlines by introducing the world's fastest sedan, the E55, which packed a supercharged V8 engine. Meanwhile, BMW took a different approach with their E60 M5, opting for a naturally aspirated engine that sounded like a Formula 1 car.

2005 S6 V10

Audi, on the other hand, made a fascinating move. They had recently acquired Lamborghini, and while it didn't make sense to put a diesel engine in a Lamborghini, it made perfect sense to drop a Lamborghini V10 engine into a regular A6 and call it the S6. But it wasn't just about the engine; the S6 received upgrades inside and out, including sportier seats and distinctive exterior features with quad exhaust tips.

This period marked an intense competition among these German automakers, each striving to create the ultimate sports sedan. It was during this time as well that Audi fitted a naturally aspirated V8 on a coupe, and thats how the S5 was born.

2005 S6 V10

To handle all that power, Audi paired it with a specially designed 6-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox. While it wasn't a fancy double-clutch system, it was optimized for high performance.

The Audi S6 wasn't your typical sedan; it featured Audi's famous quattro all-wheel-drive system with an electronic Torsen center differential. Plus, there was a limited-slip differential in the rear to ensure that power was distributed effectively to all four wheels, giving you outstanding traction and control.

Now, let's talk about performance. Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW had an informal agreement to limit their cars to a top speed of 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour) for safety reasons. Even with this limitation, the S6's power and handling capabilities provided an exhilarating driving experience that thrilled enthusiasts worldwide.

ENGINE SPECS 5.2L V10 QUATTRO 6AT (435 HP)
Cylinders V10
Displacement 5204 cm³
Power 320 kW @ 6800 RPM
435 HP @ 6800 RPM
429 BHP @ 6800 RPM
Torque 398 lb-ft @ 3000 RPM
540 Nm @ 3000 RPM
Fuel System Direct Injection
Fuel Gasoline
Fuel capacity 21.1 gallons (79.9 L)
PERFORMANCE SPECS
Top Speed 155 mph (249 km/h)
Acceleration 0-62 Mph 5.2 seconds
TRANSMISSION SPECS
Drive Type All Wheel Drive
Gearbox 6-speed automatic

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4th Gen: Audi S6 (C7 & C7.5) 2012-2019

As the relentless pursuit of crafting the sportiest cars continues, the competition among German automotive giants remains fierce. However, as time has passed, a significant shift has occurred. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi have all come to realize that consumers are now placing a greater emphasis on luxury and refinement rather than just pure performance.

Audi, known for its precision engineering but also for potentially high maintenance costs due to its pursuit of maximum performance, has moved forward with its C7 lineup. In our opinion, the C7 S6 stands out as the best S6 model money can buy. It not only boasts improved reliability compared to its predecessors but also features a luxurious interior and a striking exterior design.

The C7 Audi S6, produced from 2012 to 2019, is a remarkable blend of power, luxury, and modern technology. Under the hood, it packs a robust 4.0-liter TFSI V8 engine that delivers an impressive 450 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a responsive 7-speed automated manual transmission for quick gear shifts. Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system ensures excellent traction and stability, even in challenging driving conditions.

Related: Audi S4 Evolution

The S6 features a sport-tuned air suspension that allows drivers to customize the ride quality. It rides on 19-inch wheels and comes equipped with adaptive xenon headlights featuring distinctive LED running lights for better visibility. The inclusion of a sport differential enhances its cornering capabilities. Additional amenities include a sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, and luxurious diamond-stitched leather seats with heating and power adjustments.

The driver enjoys memory settings, a user-friendly 6-inch display, a rearview camera, and a comprehensive infotainment system with navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. Optional packages and standalone features, such as 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, rear side airbags, and a premium 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, provide further customization options. The C7 Audi S6 is more than just a sports sedan; it's a perfect blend of performance and comfort.

Spec

Details

Cylinders

V8

Displacement

3993 cm³

Power

331 kW @ 5800-6400 RPM / 450 HP @ 5800-6400 RPM / 444 BHP @ 5800-6400 RPM

Torque

406 lb-ft @ 1400-5700 RPM / 550 Nm @ 1400-5700 RPM

Fuel System

Turbocharged Direct Injection

Fuel

Gasoline

Fuel capacity

19.8 gallons (75.0 L)

Top Speed

155 mph (249 km/h)

Acceleration 0-62 Mph (0-100 kph)

4.4 seconds

Drive Type

All Wheel Drive

Gearbox

7-speed automatic (S TRONIC)

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5th Gen: AUDI S6 (C8) 2019 - Present

In the latest generation of the Audi S6, known as the C8, Audi has introduced a unique twist by offering a diesel version for Europe and a gasoline version for the U.S. market. This decision may seem unusual, but it has resulted in a car that's quite impressive.

The S6 is spacious inside and boasts a bold exterior design. It's designed to excel on the autobahn, the German highway, where it can comfortably cruise at speeds of up to 155 MPH (250 kph) with adaptive cruise control engaged.

Under the hood of the European version, you'll find a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine equipped with both an electric supercharger and a turbocharger. This setup provides ample torque starting from as low as 2,500 rpm, peaking at 3,100 rpm. While this might seem like a modest torque range for a gasoline engine, it's more than sufficient for a diesel.

The engine produces a consistent 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of torque, enabling the S6 to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) in just 5 seconds. The electric supercharger, which spins at around 70,000 rpm, effectively eliminates turbo-lag for instant power delivery.

To further enhance performance and handling, Audi has equipped the S6 with the Quattro all-wheel-drive system, all-wheel steering, electronic adaptive suspension, and an optional sport differential for the rear axle.

For markets outside Europe, the S6 offers a twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine generating 450 HP and 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) of torque. This version also features the electric supercharger (EPC) for an exhilarating driving experience.

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