The 2013 S6 uses a new twin-turbocharged, direct-injection 4.0-liter V8 engine called TFSI that makes 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. That's a slight power drop from the 435 hp on the previous powerplant, a 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10, but an increase in torque over the previous 398 lb-ft. Paired with a 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission, Audi says the S6 will beat the outgoing model in the 0-62 mph run at 4.8 seconds, compared with 5.1 seconds on the previous generation. The top speed on the 2013 Audi S6 will be electronically limited at 155 mph.
While performance numbers are respectable (albeit not mind-numbing), the S6's real achievement is efficiency. In addition to the revised powertrain, the S6 uses a start-stop feature and cylinder-on-demand technology, which allows the car to operate on four cylinders during highway driving to save fuel. (Hand-in-hand with the cylinder deactivation function is an Active Noise Cancellation system, which sends an anti-phase sound into the cabin to cancel any engine noise when the engine is operating on half of its cylinders.)
The new S6 is lighter than before, thanks to a proliferation of aluminum that comprises 20 percent of the car.
The result of all this, according to Audi's estimations, is improved gas mileage of up to 25 percent. And while official numbers aren't out, Audi says they expect the S6 to achieve an EPA rating of 24 mpg Combined, compared with 16 mpg Combined on the old model.
The S6 comes with Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system, as well as a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension. Standard features include 19-inch aluminum wheels, steel vented disc brakes, xenon headlights, sport seats, a head-up display, park assist with 360-degree camera, Audi's MMI interface, Bluetooth connectivity and the usual S aero and trim enhancements. Options include 20-inch wheels, carbon ceramic disc brakes (which shave 11 pounds off the 4,178-pound curb weight), speed adjustable steering and Audi's sport differential, which actively distributes power between the rear wheels. The MMI Navigation Plus package gets you an eight-inch LCD display, hard-drive based entertainment system, WLAN capability and a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. Buyers can also choose from two different seat options.
Key rivals to the 2013 Audi S6 include the redesigned BMW M5, with a twin-turbo V8 that packs more horses and torque, as well as a faster 0-60 mph time, and the Mercedes Benz E63 AMG, which serves up more power but isn't quite as quick.
The 2013 Audi S6 is scheduled to go on sale in late spring/early summer of 2012, shortly after the European launch. Pricing has not been announced. We're guessing the new S6 will be priced similarly to its predecessor, possibly around $76,000.