What is it?
The easy way to view the arrival of the new Audi S6 is as a new and enticingly warmed-over executive four-door, a decent progression from its predecessors but nothing more controversial than that.
The new S6 – like its close relatives being launched at the same time, the S6 Avant estate, S7 Sportback and SQ5 soft-roader – gets its extra performance from a brand new 48V mild-hybrid powerplant whose heart is a new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine. And diesels, as we know, are in sales decline in the UK following Dieselgate and publicity over the danger to human health caused by exposure to untreated diesel exhaust constituents, principally NOx.
Thus the far more intriguing story is about Audi launching a new generation of S6 models that depend on a form of motive power already discredited in some vocal quarters. There won’t be an S6 petrol alternative offered here. The new cars may well deserve customers but, to succeed, they’ll need to buck a strong market trend.
Audi naturally deploys good arguments to back its move: it cites the low CO2 output of diesels compared with petrols and the fact that the latest exhaust treatment paraphernalia makes 2019 diesel exhausts cleaner than the EU requires (and capable of passing the looming Euro 7 standards). Of course, their impressive fuel economy and generous touring range help many drivers, too.