By on March 1, 2017

s62

Three months ago, I introduced you to my friend Edward, who was agonizing over the potential lease of a new BMW M3. Or a 440i. Or a 430i. It was all up for grabs. I suggested an alternative: the iconic pairing of Accord and Corvette, familiar to TTAC readers from my own garage. Horses for courses, I always say. But Edward was of a different mind. He didn’t want to wait until the weekends or the sunset evenings after work to enjoy himself. A few days ago, he brought his new car by to show off — and what a car it is.


s61

If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: Real buyers don’t respect the imaginary lines of class and category and task that the automotive Aspies of the Internet draw around various groups of cars like Orthodox Jews using a skein of yarn to skirt the Sabbath. The gang at “Oppositelock” would laugh at the idea of somebody cross-shopping a BMW M3 and an Audi S6. After all, one of them is a (optionally) stick-shifted track terror. The other is a big barge with an over-pressurized V8 and delusions of AMG grandeur. Why, you might as well say that you’re interested in buying both a Fiesta ST and a track-prepped Corvette in the same twelve months!

20170215_160405

Since Edward inhabits the real world and hasn’t seen his mother’s basement in years, however, he is perfectly free to look at any car that he God-dammed pleases, and he’s free to adjust his budget if he sees something that catches his eye. The truth of the matter is that he’s wanted an S6 for years. Most “car guys” think Edward’s old Audi S4 is too big, too bulky, too elephantine in fast transitions and too confused about its purpose in life. But those are exactly the qualities that Edward liked in the car. He didn’t worry about the Audi’s weight and power deficits to the BMW M3. Instead, he cherished the milled-from-billet way it went down the road and the heavy distance of the primary controls. He didn’t want less of that. He wanted more.

20170215_160337

It’s also worth noting that BMW continues in its long-established practice of under-subsidizing the lease programs on M-cars compared to their common-and-garden brethren. The M3 shouldn’t cost twice as much money to lease as a 340i, or three times as much as a 320i. But it does. Which opens the door for Audi, and other manufacturers, to address that deficiency with attractive programs on vehicles with sporting intent.

The situation that confronted Edward was this: for the lease cost of a loaded M3, he could also lease a loaded S6. I think he made the right choice. Hell, it’s probably the choice I would make, given the same options. No, you don’t get a clutch pedal in the big Audi — but you do get hyperspeed thrust from an exotic powertrain, impeccable aesthetics both inside and out, not to mention an extra helping of rear-seat room for Edward’s two children.

I cannot say this was a fiscally responsible decision, but just look at the thing. Wouldn’t you like to drive something like that to work? Wouldn’t you like to be surrounded by the quilted leather and the carbon-fiber trim that nestles into its aluminum housings like a CNC-machined Russian doll? Wouldn’t you like knowing that at any moment you can floor the throttle and immediately dispense with anything short of a Z06 Vette? I’d like to do all of those things.

As fate would have it, this wasn’t the only big black forced-induction sedan to visit my driveway this week. Another friend decided to chop in his Durango R/T for a sedan that … well, let’s just say that certain New-York-based former members of the TTAC community would definitely approve. So watch this space for that story as well. In the meantime, if you see Edward out on the road, don’t hesitate to remind him he’d have been better off with an Accord and a Corvette. And don’t be surprised if his response is an amused laugh and a Ronin-style full-throttle departure.

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92 Comments on “Ask Jack Epilogue: The Joy of S6...”


  • avatar
    kkop

    “Since Edward inhabits the real world and hasn’t seen his mother’s basement in years, however..”

    Burn!
    Made my day, tks!

    • 0 avatar
      Ihateusernames

      I know, doesn’t he love his mother? He should visit and help her clean up down there. She isn’t as nostalgic about his baseball card collection as he thinks she is.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, I’m glad the guy followed my advice!

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/11/ask-jack-m3-not-m3/#comment-8563610

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    “Wouldn’t you like to drive something like that to work?”

    Personally I’d prefer to save the money and drive something else, but like you said horses for courses.

    Good point about people in the real world seriously considering/comparing vastly different cars. Most people I know seem to set a budget of $X and then look at everything under the sun that they can get for $X+25%.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Quilted leather.

    The Brougham is strong in this one.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    How much longer do we have to endure the tacked-on iPad-on-the-dash look?
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      I like it!

      I literally recreated that look in the B7 Audi I sold yesterday. I have a Lenovo Yoga Tablet android that has a standpad. Velcro it on the dashboard, and it became the Spotify player in the car. Worked like a charm and at 8 inches screen and appropriately positioned, it looked neither too small or too big.

    • 0 avatar
      5280thinair

      While it initially looks goofy, the display tacked onto the dash actually works really well. When I was test driving cars in recent months, I quickly found I preferred that set up versus any of the cars that had the display built into the dash.

    • 0 avatar
      tinbad

      It actually retracts (when off or with a button)!
      I actually prefer it to the tacked-on screens in the new A4.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I love it where, as here, it retracts.

      I hate it in, e.g., recent smaller Mercedes, where it sits there in your face even when you’ve turned it off.

    • 0 avatar
      whitworth

      I’m sure functionally it’s in the perfect place, but I agree that aesthetically it seems like it’s just an iPad with a suction cup on the dash.

    • 0 avatar
      fishiftstick

      I don’t mind the aesthetics, and it’s a great ergonomic solution. It places the display closer to the driver’s field of vision, while making room in the dash for physical buttons.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    My brother-in-law bought a well-appointed A6 as soon as he could afford one. It’s a very nice car to look at, sit in, and drive. I’m sure the S6 is even better.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Who puts the ice scraper on the floor in the driver’s footwell? The sand that’s collecting in the brush can’t be good.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Did the dealer throw in the radar detector stuck on the windshield at no extra charge? He should have.

  • avatar

    “It’s also worth noting that BMW continues in its long-established practice of under-subsidizing the lease programs on M-cars compared to their common-and-garden brethren. The M3 shouldn’t cost twice as much money to lease as a 340i, or three times as much as a 320i. But it does. Which opens the door for Audi, and other manufacturers, to address that deficiency with attractive programs on vehicles with sporting intent.”

    This.

    The delta between the monthly payment for my S4 vs an M3 was about $400 per month, and even larger if you factor in the pre-paid maintenance and snow tires that were thrown in gratis. That’s enough to buy me a brand new Leica MP and three primes or a Rolex Daytona.

    Or, ya know, put it in a Vanguard ETF and buy my next car in cash, keep it for 15 years blah blah blah

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      Who in his right mind would give up an S6 for lame Vanguard ETFs? The TD E-Series family of index funds are a much better choice!

      • 0 avatar
        Malforus

        I am interested in why…. I mean the Vanguard funds auto-convert to Admiral once you hit 10k.
        The E-series seems to have around .45% while Vanguard has .16% and admiral has 0.05%

        Or are you talking about the actively managed offerings.

        Or was it sarcasm which I missed until just now, that you were saying the more expensive option is better because its more expensive. So now you can tell it was stream of consciousness reply.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “…and even larger if you factor in the pre-paid maintenance…”

      Isn’t four years of maintenance included with any new BMW?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Good to see you around Derek.

      • 0 avatar

        and those only done so the CPO buyer doesn’t come back with a legitimate complaint. According to the reddit “just rolled into the shop”, where they see this, a car with no oil lasts 40k. If the owner tops it off but never changes it,, about 60k, but it is terminal sludge after that.

    • 0 avatar
      JRobUSC

      I don’t understand. You act as if you’re taken aback by the fact that a BMW M would cost more to lease than an Audi S. It’s supposed to, since M’s line up with Audi RS models, not S models. How did the M3 lease stack up against the RS4 lease? Nevermind, Audi refuses to bring it here. How about M4 to RS5? BMW’s version of your S4 is the 340, and I bet the leases would’ve been much more comparable there too. The S4 is a great car but it’s no M3, and isn’t supposed to be.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Surprised no mention of Lexus. We know why no mention of Acura.

    A CTS Vsport can be had $55,000 just a few hours east of CMH. Especially since S6 can see close to $80K.

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.motortrend.com/cars/cadillac/cts-v/2016/comparison-audi-s6-4-0t-quattro-vs-cadillac-cts-v-sport-vs-lexus-gs-f/amp/

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Reading about the issues rich people have to deal with is always interesting .
    .
    I’m interested in hearing hot this S6 does in snow, ice and heavy rains .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    tinbad

    Excellent choice (full disclosure: I have the exact same car but MY16). It’s a great family hauler that can easily keep up with a lot of ‘sportier’ cars in the twisties. Looking at the black exhaust tips he went with the sports package (which is a must!). Enjoy!

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      LOVE the S6, one of the few cars that excites me within the realm of relative affordability. Hey, one can live on KD and bologna for 4 years….right?

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    The myth and legend of the M cars has faded for me for a while now. I also think your friend made the better choice especially with regard to back seat room.

    I’m curious if your friend considered the Lexus GS F? I see it as just as glorious a kick in the pants from sweet sounding N/A V8 and Lexus reliability to boot.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      He wanted AWD in this app.

      I dig the RC-F for sure. Haven’t driven the GS-F.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Logical in Ohio. I worked with single, early 40’s guy who when he moved to the Boston area bought a 911 and a Lexus Rx for winter. He sold both during a six months stint in London and then was asking what to get when he returned. I suggested something like this S6. What did he buy? An M3. Then of course he found he couldn’t drive it to work several days each winter, and it was a bastard on our potholed roads.

        At some point, fast on the road is fast on the road, and any losses in trackability are more than made up for by comfort, space and practicality. For most people that point occurs with a V6 Accord or Camry honestly.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          This is why my S2000 is going to hang around as long as it wants, and see maybe 3-4000 miles with 3-5 track days a year for the rest of my ownership. It is fun when I drive it, but not worth it every day.

          I’m ok in my Mazda 3 right now, but will be moving up to the quietest midsizer I can buy next fall when my wife’s CUV is paid off. I don’t even need the V6, I’d rather have the mileage since I commute 45 miles each way in DC traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      Like the GS-F as well, wish it had AWD though.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I wouldn’t do it, but I respect it. Especially in Ohio. An M3/4 is gonna be useless anywhere with frost heaves and snow for several months out of the year, plus there is something in a relaxing daily driver.

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    I don’t blame him. I would buy the car *I* want, too.

    “But it doesn’t compare to…”

    “But ______ car is so much more…”

    Shut up. I know all that and I don’t care. Clearly I’m buying it for me, not to please anyone else.

    A teacher of mine in the 8th grade went out looking for a new vehicle (mid 1990s).

    She said the Mazda Millenia was beautiful. I had showed her in a brochure of it I had for some reason (lol I had hundreds, and on a side note, where did Mazda find all those roads covered in leaves to drive its cars through?), she said really liked the new LH Chrysler cars and found the 1996 Taurus interesting as well (another teacher had bought one of the first in town, fully loaded LX sedan). So many choices, she said. And, so, weekend over, we got the news that Monday: She bought a brand new, fully loaded…

    Chevy Astro.

    More power to her, and Edward.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’d rather have even an A6 3.0T than a M3, if what the reviews say is true (I haven’t driven either in their current forms). The M3 has an ugly interior and is described as a car that rides too hard for normal street use. My car’s not going to see the track and I have no investment in making everyone think I’m going to the track.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      If you don’t care about warranty, a chip tune on either a 3.0T Audi or a x35i or x40i powered Bimmer will give you equal or greater straight line speed to an M3 as well.

      To me it’s the same argument as a regular WRX vs the STI – unless you are tracking it or need to prove to everyone else you can afford the higher trim, the regular WRX is a better buy. The same is true of a 340i vs an M3.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Great looking car. This is the one I think about, were I to need a sedan, and made a lot more money. Always with the glossy black paint, but I’d hope for a less dour interior. Does Audi sell cars with brown leather in the US? I never see them.

    I’m glad it wasn’t the S7/A7. I really hate the look of that car. The S6 is much classier, and cheaper to boot!

  • avatar

    “Orthodox Jews using a skein of yarn to skirt the Sabbath”

    While the use of an “eruv” may appear to skirt the rules and be a legal fiction in fact it’s an application of the rules. Jewish law prohibits Jews from carrying things outside of private domains on the Sabbath.

    Encircling an area with an eruv effectively combines private and public domains into a single domain, at least as it relates to carrying on the Sabbath.

    The rules for constructing an eruv involve more than just a piece of string and there are restrictions, and despite the fact that they are in accordance with halacha, Jewish law, it is considered a leniency and I know plenty of orthodox Jews who won’t rely on an eruv.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Dunno. Having that much power on tap on the *street* could be like having a hard nine in the passenger seat but her dad in the back.
    How will those rubber bands get by on Ohio roads?

    How ’bout a Continental for lazy daily and a Mazda2 for occasional VW Fox style shenanigans?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Problem with the multi vehicle approach is unless you really use them all or just enjoy having a garage full of toys you usually wind up driving the one that best suits your needs 100% of the time. Plus maybe it’s just me but I don’t get on the roads unless I have to. So the thought of paying for a vehicle I can only use when I have nowhere to go seems asinine

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Multi-vehicle ownership gets expensive fast because of registration and insurance. With the insurance in particular, I wish the companies would charge for the number of miles driven by each driver in the household rather than per vehicle. I didn’t start driving any more and didn’t increase the probability of an accident when I bought my third car, but my total policy rate went up by about a third.

        Of course when we’re talking about someone who can afford a new S6, a few bucks for insurance and tabs is probably doable.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          Multi-vehicle ownership is not as bad as it seems financially, at least in my case.

          Adding a daily to the stable when I just had the S2000 and my wife’s car made my insurance go up $30/month. Add in registration every 2 years at $130 and that averages out to $425 a year for an extra vehicle or less than $40/month for an extra fun vehicle assuming you don’t have a payment on it.

          I put around 3000 miles a year on the S2000 driving to work once a week in the spring-fall, date nights and weekend driving, plus a few track days a year. It’s worth it to me for that. Plus the reduced mileage means I can get really good tires and not have to worry about it too much because I’m replacing them every 3 years rather than once a year.

          As speedlaw said, the 100% uptime is another bonus. When I had a track-induced failure, I was easily able to let that car sit until I had parts/time to fix it. Likewise, I have no problem dropping a car off for maintenance because I always have something to get around in while it’s in the shop. Finally, I can be that helpful family member who is able to loan my commuter out if someone else’s car is out of commission. It has been a godsend for my mom and sister-in-law on more than one occasion.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          And personal property tax if it is applied! While I’ll miss the GT500 in combination with the GT350 the tax bill would have been almost 3k a year. Well for a few years anyways as the depreciation curve on those cars is nearly a flat line.

          Well in the eyes of the tax assessor anyways.

      • 0 avatar

        or, if you do 30k per year, the thought of another car is like having another girlfriend. If I had, say, an older Vette, I could use it for runs upstate no problem, while not subjecting it to NYC “roads”. This predicates you have parking room, easy in “the burbs” or country, not in a built up area.

        Ideally, I’d have my truck for NYC drives and towing, my sedan for “normal DD”, and a toy to be named later for sunny days and drives other than toward NYC. The toy should be manual only, as the sedan and truck are auto box…likewise the toy can have low profiles because it will never see NYC potholes.

        The other advantage to having multiples is that you no longer have to have 100% uptime on any one car. If you buy a nice S6 and it needs blinker fluid, you have to get a loaner, etc and things like getting to work can be an issue. If you can have more than one, the crisis recedes.

    • 0 avatar
      skygreenleopard

      You’d rather switch between a Lincoln and a Mazda2 than have an S6. A fucking Mazda2.

      Jesus.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Had my eyes on the S6 for a while now, and drove one a few weeks ago. Far more subdued than the M3, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing to 40 year old me. As a daily driver, the S6 would be a perfect sleeper car with enough gadgets, oomph and handle to keep me entertained.

  • avatar
    stuki

    The biggest problem for the S6 is the existence of the regular wheelbase S8 on the same lot. Or, if (particularly lease) money is a major concern, even the 4.0 A8.

    Driven back to back, the difference between those is almost as striking, and at least to my delicate sensibilities more consequential, as that between an Accord V6 and a Bentley Flying Spur.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    “…I think he made the right choice….”

    So do I.

    “…you do get hyperspeed thrust from an exotic powertrain, impeccable aesthetics both inside and out, not to mention an extra helping of rear-seat room…Wouldn’t you like to drive something like that to work? Wouldn’t you like to be surrounded by the quilted leather and the carbon-fiber trim that nestles into its aluminum housings like a CNC-machined Russian doll? Wouldn’t you like knowing that at any moment you can floor the throttle and immediately dispense with anything short of a Z06 Vette? I’d like to do all of those things.”

    Me, too, so that’s what I drive…

    (bought CPO – left the depreciation to the original owner!)

  • avatar
    MeJ

    “…Since Edward inhabits the real world and hasn’t seen his mother’s basement in years, however, he is perfectly free to look at any car that he God-dammed pleases…”

    This quote will roll around in my head for the day and keep me happy for the rest of the week!

  • avatar
    sreauso

    Nice car but I’m only really envious of the extendable thigh cushions that Audi puts in the sport package cars as well as S and RS models. I drive two newer ford products and my legs extend several inches off the bottom seat cushion and I’m only 6ft tall (with long legs). No support makes for tiring drives.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Great commuter choice for, say, Magdeburg to Potsdam.

    For around here, pass the keys to an a used Impala anytime with the balance going on a down payment on a cabin by the lake, a used CB1100 and trips to Thailand for the next decade.

    A toast to a new life parking far away at grocery stores. Another toast to the first couple of rock chips. A sacrifice to the priests of the aluminum alloy church of bent rims of late days. A nod to tirerack selection of ultra-lows. An ode to street parking fear during late dinner dates downtown. A final bow to tradesmen cutting you off at rush our. Amen for the guy in the Sentra commuter in front of you for the past 15 minutes on the freeway crawl.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Nice car, but HELLCAT TRUMPS ALL!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Since he doesn’t track day, why didn’t he just buy a pickup?

  • avatar
    200Series

    I drive a 2016 S6; I considered an M3/M5, GS-F, C63 AMG, E63 AMG (sedan and wagon), and Panamera S, and no, a Cadillac was not even remotely considered, lol. I have 3 kids and wanted a performance sedan that held five comfortably for short trips, and I could use year round in New England. Quattro + air suspension (increase clearance in snow) make it a great year-round performer. The ride is sublime, and the power/sound (factory sport exhaust) are intoxicating. The only complaints are road/steering feel is numb, and unless you leave the DSG in Sport, the throttle response is lazy. Great car.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Buy or lease?

    • 0 avatar
      Chris from Cali

      I had a 2014 S6 (also factory ordered), Prestige, Glacier/Black, black optic, etc. Fantastic car. Easily the best car I’ve owned as a daily driver. No compromises – it was fast, looked great, rode well, etc. The only reason I sold it was that I was certain to lose my license living in Northern VA.

      Of course, now I live in CO, where it would be absolutely perfect (i.e it’s not over-policed here!). I would buy one again in a minute (waiting to see if an RS4 or RS6 comes first).

  • avatar
    DearS

    It hurts to see people put money into such an expensive and unneeded car, if it was reliable I’d feel a little bit better because less money would be sunk during the life of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      ZCD2.7T

      Consumer Reports lists Audi as the number 1 overall brand, considering road test scores, reliability and customer satisfaction.

      True Delta shows Audi overall as at least average in reliability in the past 5+ years.

      Audi has come a long way in the past 10+ years.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Eh, no different than any other expensive hobby like traveling or having kids.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Jack,

    Whatever on the S6. Ha!

    But PLEASE write extensively on the blown Durango, as my wife and I are seriously considering the new SRT version because it looks fun (I’m over 50 and have never owned a V8) and it would pull her small horse trailer.

    Thanks!

  • avatar
    rjg

    I love the s6 is well. Would be my super sedan of choice. Totally agree on the silliness of the internet obsession with “you can’t compare x and y because blah, blah, blah”.

    I’m also in the 1 car to do it all camp. I’d rather enjoy something every day than taking out a sports car once a month. Currently thinking of getting some form of v8 Charger to scratch that itch. Rented an RT and had a lot of fun.

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