Beauty-brawn synergy

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 07, 2013 05:48 hrs

Picture a luxury sedan - comfortably tucked in the rear is the owner in an Armani suit who is loath to get his hands dirty on the steering wheel. Doesn't it seem a whole lot of waste to have these cars fitted out with all the latest technologies - for safety and comfort - only to have the chauffeurs enjoy the pleasure of driving them? Perhaps this is because luxury sedans are ... what, boring? Now think if a car manufacturer upped the ante and combined practicality with raw sporting power. No, we kid you not, this breed does exist - and it is a breed that excites owner-drivers. We are talking of the Audi S6, Germany's answer to American muscle cars. The only difference is that the S6 is more luxurious and easy to live with than the savage Ford Mustang or Dodge Challenger.

Same with a difference
One look at the S6 and you may ask what the fuss is all about as the car still looks like a successful uncleji's car. Many will harp about the gorgeous LED lights and the imposing Bavarian beard grill but then tell us something new. We agree the extra garnishing of chrome on the front nose and fog lamps adds some sportiness to the muscular car. The same can be said about the double twin exhaust pipes and the aluminium rear bumper finish. But we are still waiting to be impressed.

And then you see the 19-inch alloy wheels with the S6 badge on the brake callipers peeping out. They are stunning. Having grabbed our attention, the S6 slowly starts to impress us. The cocktail of perfectly stitched leather upholstery and brushed aluminium trim on dash board almost screams "Bentley". And yet you have your second thoughts - you look at the S6's aluminium brake and accelerator pedals, new sport seats and the red S6 badge on the steering wheel and you ask yourself why should the S6 be costlier when there is hardly anything there to distinguish it from its sibling, the A6?

The power-hungry beast within
Its cosmetics may not be unique, but the S6 definitely has not only one of the most advanced V8 engines but is also the fastest sedan in the world. Now this should make people stand up and respect the S6 as it has 414 BHP power to play with - which only shows in the car reaching 100 kmph form standstill in a whirlwind 4.6 seconds. Just to give you an idea how fast this is, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 breaches the 100 kmph mark in 3.9 seconds.

But it's not all about straight-line speeds. Throw this super sport sedan around a corner and within no time the tail will stick out to let you do a Tokyo Drift without a sweat. Sure there is a slight under-steer feel but then this is where the actual fun kicks in. After all who wants a geeky, predictable, well-mannered machine? The pace of the S6 is best tried in a spacious vacant lot with the traction control on. The brilliance of the car's chassis can be felt when it tames sharp turns. The responsive steering wheel makes manoeuvring the S6 an exercise in precision. The secret behind this is the alert seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. The real frisson comes in the manual mode when the gearbox does your bidding as the needle stays put at the red line as long as you want it to. This is not something many luxury sedans permit you to do, but we aren't complaining.

The excitement does not just stop there. You can customise the S6's performance according to your mood. If you want go into Sebastian Vettel mode, then the dynamic setting ensures the steering wheel is more responsive for tight cornering even as the adaptive air suspensions tighten up like a race car. But if you are in a mellow mood, then the comfort mode bears you along in a cushy fashion.

Killer package
The Audi S6 is like the Incredible Hulk straining within the imprisonment of an expensive suit. It loves high speed and handles like a charm but at the same time it has all the qualities of a luxury vehicle. The V8 engine is a veritable powerhouse, but also a smart machine - its Cylinder-On-Demand technology shuts off cylinders when not needed, thus helping save fuel.

This low-slung car does not stand out as a very special Audi as it should, but then it's German, and Germans want performance, not bling, to speak for itself. Also, the S6 is the most affordable sedan in this segment, because most other super-speed luxury sedans carry a price tag of over Rs 1 crore.

Engine: 3,993cc, V8
Power: 414bhp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 1,400rpm
0-100kmph: 4.6seconds
Price: Rs 85.99 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi)

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