My spirits lifted considerably when I walked out to our parking structure on Friday evening and saw my ride for the weekend, this handsome black A6 with a gorgeous two-tone interior. The good vibes continued as soon as I had an opportunity to really dip into the all-new, supercharged V-6. This is a honey of an engine with, as others have noted, very linear power delivery and a distinct lack of supercharger whine. Not for one moment over the weekend did I wish I had a V-8 or a turbocharged, rather than supercharged, six.
The rest of the A6's dynamics, alas, are not quite up to the powertrain. This is a luxury sedan, after all, not a sport-luxury sedan, so in this car it's all about going fast on the freeway. On back roads, body roll and a lack of steering feel get in the way of any shenanigans.
The supercharged V-6, of course, was developed primarily for the upcoming S4 sport sedan, replacing its long-serving V-8. (It's really just a footnote to the A6 and is a way to finish out the current model.) "We decided on the supercharged V-6 because of packaging," I was told by Wolfgang Hatz, the VW Group's gregarious head of powertrain development. "The second reason is for the pickup [acceleration]. Put the pedal down - it's not bad, I have to say," he declared with a wicked grin. "Perhaps in the future we will also have a turbo" [one assumes he meant for the S4].
We drive the S4 later this year, and it goes on sale here this fall. In it, the supercharged V-6 will be mated to a seven-speed S Tronic (dual-clutch) transmission. Audi of America says that the S4 will be priced to compete with the twin-turbo BMW 335i, which starts at just over $40K.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor