We’ve done many A6 comparisons, such as the Audi A4 vs A6 or the Audi A6 vs A7, but we haven’t gone over the Audi A6 vs S6. Therefore, in this article, we will be going over the few differences and many similarities between the models. We will be touching on price, size, performance, reliability, common problems, and more for both models. The A6 is positioned between the Audi A5 and A7, while the S6 is positioned between the S5 and S7.
Audi A6 vs S6 – The Basics
The Audi A6 was first introduced in 1995 and is still being produced today. Originally called the Audi 100, the A6 was spun off in 1995. The A6 is one of Audi’s longest-running sedans they have offered. It is classified as an executive sedan. Since its inception, there have only been 2 body types: a 4-door sedan and a 5-door Avant, or often referred to as the allroad. The first three generations (C4, C5, and C6) were built on the Volkswagen Group’s C platform. While the last two generations, (C7 and C8), have been built on the MLB & MLB Evo platform.
The Audi S6 was first introduced in 1995 and is still being produced today. The S6 stemmed from the original Audi S4 and is the high-performance variant of the A6. Positioned between the A6 and, our favorite Audi of all time, the RS 6, the S6 provides a middle ground in performance and price. Since its inception, it has also offered two body types: a 4-door sedan and a 5-door Avant. All generations were built on the Volkswagen Group’s C platform.
Audi A6 Generations
- C4 A6 (1995-1997)
- C5 A6 (1998-2004)
- C6 A6 (2005-2011)
- C7 A6 (2012-2018)
- C8 A6 (2019-Present)
Audi S6 Generations
- C4 S6 (1995-1997)
- C5 S6 (1999-2003)
- C6 S6 (2006-2011)
- C7 S6 (2012-2019)
- C8 S6 (2020-Present)
Audi A6 vs S6 Price
In this section, we will be covering the new 2022, as of this writing, model prices and used prices for the A6 and S6. Price is going to be one of the few differences between the two models, and for good reason.
New Audi A6 and Audi S6 Prices
There are 2 different engines the A6 offers: a 45 TFSI, and a 55 TFSI. The 45 TFSI is only offered in the Premium and Premium Plus trims, while the 55 TFSI can be found in all the trims. A Premium A6 45 TFSI quattro® starts at $55,900, and a Premium Plus A6 45 TFSI quattro® starts at $59,800. A Premium A6 55 TFSI quattro® starts at $59,800, a Premium Plus A6 55 TFSI quattro® starts at $63,700, and, lastly, a Prestige A6 55 TFSI quattro® starts at $69,500. We want to make sure to include the A6 allroad prices since we will be comparing its size below. A Premium Plus 55 TFSI Audi A6 allroad starts at $66,900, and a Prestige A6 allroad starts at $72,400.
Unlike the Audi A6, the S6 only offers a more powerful engine, but only in two trims: Premium Plus and Prestige. It features a 2.9T TFSI engine. A Premium Plus S6 starts at $74,800, and a Prestige S6 starts at $81,500. If you are wanting to get the most out of Audi’s performance, the RS 6 Avant starts at $116,500.
If you are curious about the trim differences with Audi’s, here is an article we wrote about the different Audi trims.
Used Audi A6 & S6 Price’s
When it comes to used Audi A6s vs S6s, pricing is pretty much consistent with new prices. Since the S6 is the high-performance variant of the A6, it tends to be more expensive. Since both models have been around for nearly two decades, we will be basing prices on the C6, C7, and C8 generations for both models. A used A6 price ranges from $4,995 – $74,988* with an average price overall of $39,995, depending on model year and mileage. A used S6s price ranges from $11,995 – $88,705* with an average price overall of $50,350, depending on model year and mileage. So, is the Audi S6 really worth the extra money?
*At the time of writing this article, we believe we are in a market where used vehicles are inflated, so consider that when seeing the used prices above.
General A6 & S6 Topics
A6 vs S6 Size
Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 Audi A6, 2022 Audi A6 allroad, and the 2022 Audi S6. There aren’t very many differences when it comes to size between these three.
Audi A6 vs S6
As seen in the table, there aren’t many differences. The reason we wanted to include the allroad is because of the extra cargo space. Therefore, if you are someone that is in need of extra cargo space, the allroad is a viable option. Other than that, all 3 models a very similar when it comes to size.
Audi A6 vs S6 Performance
For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 A6 and 2022 S6 performance specs. Here is where the real difference shines through, performance.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
As stated above, the A6 has two available engines: a 45 TFSI (2.0T TFSI) and a 55 TFSI (3.0T TFSI). Quattro®, Audi’s AWD system, and a 7-speed dual-clutch S Tronic automatic transmission come standard on both A6 engines. The S Tronic transmission is regarded to be smoother than the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that is on S6. The 45 TFSI quattro® engine puts out 261hp and 273 lb-ft of torque and posts a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds with a top speed of 130mph. The 55 TFSI quattro® engine puts out 335hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and posts a 0-60 time of 5.1 seconds with a top speed of 130mph. The A6 allroad features the same 55 TFSI engine.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, the 45 TFSI and 55 TFSI differ. The 45 TFSI gets 23mpg in the city and 32mpg on the highway for a combined 26mpg on a 19.3gal fuel tank. Lastly, the 55 TFSI engine gets 21mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway for a combined 24mpg on a 19.3gal fuel tank.
The S6 currently only has one engine option: a twin-turbo 2.9TFSI V6 engine. This impressive engine puts out 444hp and 442 lb-ft of torque and posts a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 155mph. Audi’s AWD system, Quattro®, and an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission come standard on the 2.9T engine. It gets 18mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway for a combined 22mpg on a 19.3gal fuel tank.
Is the Audi A6 reliable? The A6s overall reliability is actually above-average according to RepairPal. They rated it 3.5 out of 5, which is above the average 2.5 out of 5 luxury full-size car reliability rating. This puts the A6 8th out of 30 in all luxury full-size vehicles. Model years we advise avoiding are 2000, 2003-2006, 2011, 2013-2016, and 2019 A6s. The average annual maintenance cost for an A6 is roughly $913, which is below the average $976 cost for all other luxury full-size vehicles.
Common problems seen in A6s are as followed: CV boot/joint failure, faulty torque converter, ABS control module failure, instrument cluster failure, premature water pump or thermostat failure, and common oil leaks. When maintained properly, A6s can last up to 150,000, while others can even last up to 300,000 miles. Once an A6 surpasses 100,000 miles, preventative maintenance is crucial for longevity purposes.
Is the Audi S6 reliable? Unfortunately, there isn’t much information to go on when it comes to the S6s reliability. However, after scrolling through forums for hours, we have determined that the S6 is rather reliable. Avoid the 2013 S6 model year if at all possible. It is regarded as the least reliable S6 to date. Common problems seen in S6s are as followed: premature bushing deterioration, premature thermostat failure, carbon buildup, defective CV boots and joints, faulty torque converter, and common air and oil leaks. If maintained properly, we’ve seen S6s last up to 150,000. Like the A6, once the 100,000-mile mark is cleared, preventative maintenance is crucial for longevity purposes.
A6 vs S6 – Which is Better?
Given that there aren’t very many differences, this portion will be pretty straightforward. When it comes to which model is better, we feel this question can be rather subjective. In our personal opinion, the S6 is better, but that is because we like the more powerful engine. However, some consumers are more budget conscious and don’t care about performance, which then the A6 would be better. So it all comes down to consumer preference and needs. If you are wanting a more powerful engine and a sportier aesthetic, go with the S6. If you are wanting a cheaper sedan that gets better gas mileage, go with the A6. Lastly, if you are wanting a sedan with more cargo space, the A6 allroad is also a viable option. All of these models will have similar interiors and safety features. All of them have 5-star safety ratings as well.
There isn’t going to be a better tell than getting behind the wheel and seeing them in person. So, schedule a test drive with your local Audi dealer to get some first-hand experience.
Audi A6 vs S6 Conclusion
To wrap this article up, we know purchasing a vehicle, especially a luxury vehicle, can be a daunting task. So we hope the information provided above assists anyone in their purchasing journey. In short, the Audi A6 is cheaper, gets better gas mileage, and has an allroad option. The S6 has a more powerful engine and is more sporty. If you have any first-hand experience with either and don’t mind sharing your experience in the comments below, please do. This will help our research and the research for future readers in their purchasing decisions.