How an Audi S6 changed my view on German carsI never once had a German car on my wall. I never opted to pick one in a game, and I never had a toy Porsche 911. They’ve just never ‘done it’ for me.
One thing I’ve tried to keep in mind since Double Clutch started was to keep an open mind. I thought I’ve always been pretty good at that, not really using preconceived notions to cloud my opinion and give each car an honest shake down. It was with that open mind that I will still say to this day that one of the best cars I’ve driven so far was the Suzuki Kizashi Sport; but that’s another article for another day.
Today I’m sitting down, completely dumbfounded and trying to make sense out of what had just taken place. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of German cars, especially the all-wheel-drive variety. I’ve found the power steering assist to be on the overly-helpful side, the lack of wheel feedback to be boring and the simple fact that German cars as a whole just doesn’t appeal to me.
I don’t want to write that they lack the passion of the Italians, or the styling of the British; everyone seems to put that and I think it’s a cop-out. My opinion is that Italian passion is more of transference than an actual feeling. What people feel when they sit behind the wheel of a Ferrari or a Lamborghini is the sense of what was on their wall as a kid, that Hot Wheels model you played with, that car you used all the time in Outrun or Need for Speed. You’re feeling your passion for the car, and not some crazy notion of a factory builder extending part of their soul into the car.
I never once had a German car on my wall. I never opted to pick one in a game, and I never had a toy Porsche 911. They’ve just never ‘done it’ for me. Double Clutch this year has reviewed an Audi TT-RS, an S4 and S5, amongst others. Until this day, I had yet to have an inclination to jump in and go for a boot. When the S6 was picked up, I was told by my colleague that it was essential that I at least give it a fair chance. Just a little bit of time to challenge my ignorance and preconceived notions on what Audi is capable of.
I loved it. The first step was achieved in less than 4 seconds; the 0-60 test. 3.7 seconds from what I’ve been told, nearly achieved on numerous occasions throughout the time I had the car. It took a little time to tweak the car, get that driving position just right, configure the audio settings and adjust to the placement of all the buttons (and there are a lot of those). Once all of that was out of the way though, I was floored.
I didn’t have to worry about anything; all the panels were perfectly aligned, no interior pieces sticking out, every button was solid and perfectly lit. There wasn’t a single complaint I was able to come up with. I even picked up that the passenger-side light is an LED that’s slightly angled so it doesn’t scatter light to the driver. The heads-up display projects the speed you’re travelling at, which is cool in itself; but then I clued in that it’s projected to the distance of where the hood ends.
All those little touches add up to leave a big impact. Almost as big of an impact as the powertrain, most notably the double-clutch transmission. But dismissing the engine to just focus on the DCT would be a travesty, one that I’m going to commit. The engine is smooth, there’s no issue with a lack of refinement. It’s perfectly balanced and great.
That 7-speed S-tronic transmission is a game-changer. I would even venture as far as to say it’s the future of the automotive industry. It’s smooth in the parking lot, driving around town, as well as in traffic. Open it up and it becomes just that much better. That overly power-assisted feel of the wheel is completely gone with this S6; it has a near perfect weight. It still feels a little dead however, and the all-wheel-drive doesn’t throw you completely back into your seat with vicious acceleration. Still, I can live with that. I’m not 18 anymore, I get sore from sitting for an extended period of time, I hate rush hour traffic, I love listening to music while driving and I typically like the idea of a working climate control system.
I like comfort when needed; the best car audio system I’ve ever heard, speed on command, and seemingly limitless power at my fingertips. All of this in a car that will best almost every exotic created in the past? Sure I might not have wanted an Audi growing up, but I do now. I know I’ll never look at German cars the same way again, especially after making this my personal car of the year by quite a wide margin.