Audi fans will be flocking to the get the first glimpses of the German company’s suave new S6 sedan and S7 five-door coupe (the high-performance versions of its popular A6 and A7 executive cars), when they make their North American debuts at the L.A. Auto Show.
These latest S models reflect Audi’s current engine downsizing strategy, maximizing sporty performance while minimizing fuel consumption thanks to a newly developed 420-horsepower twin-turbo four-liter V-8 engine (replacing the 5.2-liter V-10 monster found in earlier incarnations).
Though the new powerplant launches the S6 sedan from standstill to 62 mph in just 4.8 seconds (4.9 seconds for the S6 Avant wagon and S7) and can hit an electronically governed top speed of 155 mph, fuel consumption has been reduced by as much as 25% (when compared with the outgoing V-10). The new S6 and S7 models deliver an impressive average fuel consumption of more than 24 mpg.
Cutting-edge technologies have aided Audi in achieving these remarkable numbers, especially the company’s new “cylinder on demand” system, which deactivates four cylinders under partial load. When running on just four cylinders, Audi’s computer-controlled Active Noise Cancellation system kicks in, emitting an antiphase sound through car speakers to cancel out the extra noise.
Also crucial to fuel efficiency is the S models’ unusually lightweight bodies. By using 20% aluminum, Audi has shaved roughly 15% off the weight of comparable all-steel models.
Billed by Audi as peppy-yet-practical “sports cars for everyday use,” the S6 and S7, due to hit U.S. dealerships this spring, prove that full-blooded performance needn’t be such a guilty pleasure after all.