WORLD PREMIERE: 2020 Audi S6 — America gets twin-turbo V6 power

When the all-new 2020 Audi S6 was first revealed in Europe, it wasn’t met with a ton of optimism. That’s because it replaced its predecessor’s twin-turbocharged V8 with a 3.0 liter turbocharged diesel V6. The latter isn’t exactly a recipe for thrills. However, in North America, the Audi S6 ditches the diesel engine for a more appropriate twin-turbocharged V6 gasoline engine.

The American-spec Audi S6 isn’t much different than the European-spec car, in terms of styling, equipment and interior quality, but it does get the better engine of the two. So rather than the Euro-spec 3.0 liter TDI V6, which makes 349 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, the US-spec car gets a 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V6. It’s a similar engine to the Audi RS5 but with a twist.

Audi S6
Euro-Spec Audi S6

So the new US-spec Audi S6 makes 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. While those numbers are identical to the RS5’s, the S6 gets a piece of unique tech to give it additional performance.

Because the S6 gets a 48-volt electrical system, like most new Audi models, it also gets an Electrically-Powered Compressor (EPC) just like the Audi SQ7. In fact, it’s the first American-spec Audi to come with an EPC, as it was previously only offered on diesel models not sold here.

The EPC is essentially an electric turbocharger, which can deliver boost at zero-rpm by being able to spin at 70,000 rpm and deliver peak boost in just 250 milliseconds. That helps to give the new S6 a broader torque range and eliminate turbo-lag. So while it doesn’t actually increase power much, if at all, it helps to deliver its power earlier, without lag.

According to Audi, the new S6 can get from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. That makes it only about half a second behind the RS5 Coupe, despite weighing quite a bit more. More importantly, it’s actually a tenth faster than the claimed time of the previous V8-powered S6. So with slightly less power but more torque, and less weight, this new S6 manages to be the fastest yet.

That engine is paired with a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic, as usual, which sends power to all four wheels via Quattro as standard. Under normal circumstances, the power is split 60/40, front-to-rear axles. However, up to 70 percent of the torque can be send to the front axle and up to 85 percent can be sent to the rear axle, as needed depending on circumstances. There’s also an available sports rear differential which helps to split power more accurately between the rear wheels.

Also optional is all-wheel steering, which is available via the ‘S’ sport package. This uses the rear wheels to turn slightly opposite of the front wheels at low speed and with the front wheels at high speed. At low speed, this reduces the car’s turning circle and helps improve agility. At high-speed, it increases stability. That package also comes with a sport exhaust and red brake calipers.

Adding to its standard equipment is a set of 20-inch wheels (21-inch wheels are optional), summer performance tires, Valcona leather and a heated steering wheel.

In the US, prices start at $73,900 for the Audi S6 Premium Plus and $77,800 for the Prestige model. No word on when it will be available to order but the Audi S6 will go on sale as a 2020 model here in the ‘States. So probably not until later this year at the earliest.

We’re very excited to see this US-spec Audi S6 pack a powerful gasoline engine, rather than the relatively boring diesel engine in Europe. It might not be a V8 anymore but at least it’s fast and exciting.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.