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TEN

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Jul 30, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

AUDI BUILDS A TEN By Brian Kennedy Rest assured that if you buy the Audi S6, with its 5.2-litre V10, the people who matter will understand what you've got and appreciate your ability to make sophisticated automotive choices. As I drive the car, I notice sidelong glances from all the right folks - a young man on a sport bike coming at full speed the other way down a canyon road takes a hand off the bars and gives me a thumbs-up; various people driving convertible Infiniti and Nissan sports cars strain their necks to look; and more than one driver of another German luxury car watches as I drive by. My wife Gaby and I and my dad go to an open house in a good neighborhood on Sunday, the realtor is standing at the door waiting for us as we go in, "our" car having announced not just our arrival, but also our means.

This positive reaction on many fronts could have something to do with the fact that the quad exhausts scream wherever I go, even at low speeds, because I'm using the six-speed tranny on sport manual ("S") mode - which keeps torque at the ready in the way it's available on the much-coveted "Hemi" cars of yesteryear (which are now selling at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars). "Muscle car" in fact, is not a bad description of the Audi S6. It's certainly more capable, nasty, and danged fun than any (other) contemporary luxury car you can name. Say it like this - you can drive this thing like a scalded cat all day long and never get tired of the rush of power at throttle tip-in. You can also, naturally, drive the car in six-speed "D" mode, more conventionally. In that vein, it will feel a little bit mushy and imprecise in power delivery. Or maybe that's just what luxury feels like. In any event, it's no disappointment, and with just an inching forward of your right toe - wham! - those horses come alive and launch you past whatever's in your way. And when you need handling, quattro seamlessly grabs the tarmac and thrusts you in your hoped-for direction. You don't ever realize which wheels are being driven (feels like the back ones, to me). Stopping is equally brisk, with the ability to throw yourself and your passengers against the seatbelts at will.

Of course, the price of entry for all of this power and prowess excludes all but a few. The car stickers in the low $70s, but with a few add-ons (in the case of our tester, "Phantom black pearl effects" "Carbon fiber inlays" and the "Tech Package") plus gas guzzler charges and destination, comes in at just over $79 - thousand dollars. How many are in that demographic? It doesn't matter, much; Audi should be congratulated for having the gumption to make this car available. It's the kind of machine which, years from now, will be a legend. Okay, so it's not at everyone's price point. But let's say you just signed an NHL contract, or won a lawsuit. To you, this car might seem cheap, especially when you look at what you get: an engine originally made for a Lambo, 435 horsepower, quattro, 19" wheels with 265/35R19 tires, and loads of electronic goodies that do everything from fold in your mirrors to show you what's behind you when you back up. In the week I had the car, in fact, I played and played and played, driving about 1000 miles and spending a lot of driveway time flipping buttons and pushing switches, and I never found out all this car can do in terms of electronic features.

But let's say you didn't just sign an NHL contract. In other words, you're not young, rich, aggressive, and/or crazy. You're just someone with a chunk of money to spend, and you're looking for an image car. "V10" the badge on the front fender of this thing says. It doesn't need to get any more complicated than that. Or let's say you're a person with a chunk of inheritance to dispose of, and you're looking for a car to thrill you. Did you read that last paragraph? V10 my friend. Period. In other words, there's no reason not to buy this car. No one whose means allow it, no matter what his/her interests or personality, is the wrong buyer for the S6. About the only thing I don't like are the front seats. Sure, they have 12-way power and really nice nappa leather (whatever that is - it's smooth as silk), but they feature a weirdly pointed integrated headrest, making them look like they belong in another vehicle.

That aside, there's just nothing about this car that isn't well put together, and no reason you'd even look at anything else if you had this kind of car budget. No reason at all. Why do you buy a car like this, anyway? Because you can. Because it does everything a luxury sports sedan is expected to do: go, stop, turn, scream and wail on command, and dazzle you with electronic capabilities just short of a fighter jet. And precisely because it's not a BMW or a Mercedes, and you're good with that.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT Arguably the best damn muscle car that $72,000 can buy (or $79,000, as tested). For more information about Audi products, go to audiusa.com. Brian Kennedy's book Growing Up Hockey comes out this summer. Check out growinguphockey.com for information.

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2007 Audi S6 Sedan quattro AT6 Price: $72,000 base; $79,070 as tested Engine type: 5.2 liter dual overhead cam FSI direct injection V10 EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 15/21 Horsepower: 435 @ 6800 rpm Torque: 397 lb.-ft @ 3000-4000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine / all-wheel drive (Asymmetrical/dynamic quattro) Transmission type: 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic and Dynamic Shift Program and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters Suspension: Front: S6-tuned four-link, anti-roll bar, twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers Rear: S6-tuned trapezoidal link, twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers, fully independent Wheels and tires: 19-inch alloy wheels; 265/35R-19 high performance summer tires Brakes: Front 15.2-inch HD vented discs, rear 13-inch vented discs, vacuum assist, calipers, Electronic Stabilization Program, Electronic Differential Lock on manual transmission equipped S6s, anti-lock braking system (ABS) Overall length: 193.5" Overall width: 79.2" Overall height: 57.0" Curb weight (lbs.): 4486 Top Speed, mph: 155 mph (electronically limited) 0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds Quarter mile: 13.4 seconds

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