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First Look: 2012 Audi S6, S7, and S8


The outgoing AUDI S6 was powered by a naturally aspirated, 5.2-liter V-10 engine that produced 435 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, and needed 5.1 seconds to go from 0-60 mph. The 2012 Audi S6's powertrain promises to be a big improvement. The new TSFI 4.0-liter V-8 found in the 2012 Audi S6 is rated at 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. While it's slightly down in horsepower, the bump in torque and Audi's S Tronic seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission (six-speed Tiptronic in the outgoing model) help the new AUDI S6 achieve a 0-62 time of 4.8 seconds, which is more than likely a conservative number from Audi. So how does the 2012 AUDI S6 stack up against its German rivals? The 2012 Mercedes Benz E63 AMG arrives in a few months with a new 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V-8-engine rated at 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque (550 hp/590 lb-ft with the optional AMG Performance package). Estimated 0-60 time is 4.2 seconds or 4.1 seconds with the performance package. The all-new 2012 Bmw M5 rolls into town early next year packing a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 rated at 555 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque; claimed 0-60 time is 4.4 seconds. On paper, the AUDI S6 appears to come up a bit short in the horsepower and 0-60 war, but we'll have to reserve judgment until we perform our complete barrage of testing and driving impressions.

 Just as important is the money saved at the pump. Audi claims the new AUDI S6 will achieve a combined 24 mpg, a huge improvement over the 16 mpg combined achieved by the V-10 engine. The AUDI S6 features a number of new fuel-sipping tricks, including start/stop technology and "cylinder on demand" -- Audi-speak for its new system that deactivates up to four cylinders under light load. Cylinder on demand also includes a Big Brother-like Active Noise Cancellation system, which, according to Audi, records and eliminates intrusive cabin noise by broadcasting an "antiphase sound through the speakers of the sound system." Additionally, the AUDI S6 is lighter, thanks to aluminum material used in 20 percent of the car. Audi says the AUDI S6 weighs 4178 pounds, which undercuts the 4279-pound M5 and is a tad more than the 4100-pound E63. It's a commendable feat when considering the added weight from the S6's all-wheel-drive system.

 Audi's AUDI QUATTRO never fails to shine around corners and twisties, and the S6's ups the fun factor with an advanced system that includes a self-locking center differential and torque vectoring. A sport diff for the rear wheels is optional, as are carbon-fiber ceramic disc brakes. Rounding off the performance bits is a standard air suspension with variable damping.

 Last but not least, the AUDI S6 will receive the requisite and subtle visual S-model upgrades, including AUDI S6 and V8 T badges (this time, around "T" appropriately stands for turbo), S-design rims, S-logo interior bits, and a premium mix of Nappa leather and Alcantara. When can you get your hands on one? The AUDI S6 sedan and Avant will roll into European showrooms next spring. No word on when we will see the AUDI S6 sedan (the Avant, of course, probably won't make it here), and the same goes for pricing, but let's hope Audi continues the MSRP slashing strategy it has employed on the 2012 Audi A6.

2012 Audi S7

 Since the new 2012 Audi A7 arrived on our shores, we've been a fan of its sleek sheetmetal and driving dynamics. However, we can't help but feel irked that the Euro-spec A7 could be had with Audi's dual-clutch transmission, torque-vectoring Quattro, and air suspension, while us Americans were left with standard bits like the fuel-sipping, eight-speed gearbox. The 2012 S7 bound for our shores remedies those concerns and then some. Not only will it come standard with the aforementioned goodies, but power will come from Audi's new TSFI, twin-turbo V-8-engine rated at 420 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Audi says the S7 should scoot to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds, a few ticks faster than the 5.3 seconds we achieved in the A7 during our testing.

And like its platform-mate the S6, the S7 will get start/stop technology and Audi's cylinder on demand system. Its body construction employs generous use of aluminum material to help keep curb weight and fuel consumption low; Audi says the S7 should consume a combined 24 mpg. Additional performance options include a sport differential that actively distributes power between the rear wheels, and carbon-fiber ceramic disc brakes.

 The S7 sportback is svelte and sexy, and Audi is Smart to keep exterior adornments to a minimum. The biggest hints are found at the rear, where quad exhaust pipes flank a diffuser and a spoiler that extends skyward at highway speeds or at the push of a button. S and V8 T badges are tacked throughout the body, while S-design wheels are mounted at the corners. S7 customers will also have their choice among nine exclusive exterior paint colors including Estoril Blue and Prism Silver.

Inside, the S7 will surround passengers with S sport seats, Nappa leather mixed with grippy Alcantara, embossed S logos, and a choice of aluminum, carbon, or wood trim pieces. The same high-tech tidbits found in the A7 can also be had in the S7 such as Audi's MMI interface and the advanced Bluetooth system with Internet connectivity.NextPage>>

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