Audi cars have classic and somewhat reserved styling, but don't let that fool you; they have bonafide performance credentials. Just look at the 2021 Audi S6, a stylish, souped up executive sedan motivated by a rambunctious V6 gas engine that develops 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. The svelte sedan can sprint to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, all the while remaining composed. But this alone is not enough to make it stand out when you consider that it goes up against beasts like the BMW M550 and Mercedes-AMG E 53. Still, good looks, a potent powertrain, a comfortable cabin, and a decent helping of features, safety and otherwise, are definitely enough to keep the 2021 S6 in the running as one of the best luxury sedans on the US market.
There aren't many changes to the fifth-generation S6 sedan, and the ones that have been made are minor. For the 2021 model year, you'll now get 21-inch wheels with summer tires as standard as well as Virtual Cockpit Plus and carbon trim for the interior. The Executive Package for the Premium Plus now comes with adaptive cruise control and active lane assist.
See trim levels and configurations:
Despite its reserved demeanor, the S6 sedan has a lot of power hidden beneath its hood. A 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder engine grants it up to 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque to play with. As with almost any high-end vehicle from the brand, quattro all-wheel drive is standard, with outputs to the wheels regulated via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Unlike the M550i it does battle with, the S6 is not going to totally wreck your fuel bill each month, but it isn't quite as quick either. It can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, while the BMW beats it to the punch by 0.8 seconds. Still, there's no turbo lag to speak of, thanks to the mild-hybrid assistance, and the auto 'box is responsive, doing its job effortlessly. The S6 pulls strong when you push the loud pedal and sings a delightful song when you do, courtesy of the Porsche-derived V6.
Audi has earned its spot among the German giants by blending luxury, practicality, and performance. It's a recipe that most other automakers bungle, if they're even brave enough to try. But to be so good at so many things, you do have to accept that you won't be the best at everything. The S6 is not as quick or as engaging as the M550i from BMW, nor is it as plushly appointed as the E 53 from Mercedes. It also makes some sacrifices in terms of practicality, as evidenced by its cramped trunk. On the plus side, it's a very safe vehicle. The NHTSA has not put the 2021 Audi S6 to review, but the A6 on which it's based earned a perfect five-star overall safety rating.
The interior is well-appointed and comes with loads of standard features. In fact, Audi gives you more for your money by not asking you to pay extra for the things that Mercedes and BMW does. The rear seats are spacious and comfortable enough for adults, and the infotainment suite is comprehensive, if a little complicated to operate. Overall, the 2021 Audi S6 is a great 4-door executive sport sedan that should be shortlisted alongside its countrymen when you go shopping for something special.
Luxury brands are not cheap, and the price of the 2021 Audi S6 sedan starts at a hefty $74,400. However, you don't settle for second best when shopping for a luxury performance vehicle, so the Prestige trim is the way to go. It adds LED headlights for a slightly snazzier exterior appearance and a high-tech head-up display to keep you apprised of all the vitals while you are pushing the S6 to its limits. If spirited driving is your main goal, we'd add the S Sport package and S Sport suspension. If you want to lean more into the luxury cruiser side of things, the Luxury package and premium Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system are both musts. In both cases, you are looking at around $90k for the final product, or closer to $100k if you want the best of both worlds.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Audi S6: