- The Washington Times - Friday, December 7, 2001

If you want a luxury wagon that has everything, look no further than the 2002 Audi S6. This vehicle has it all including an upscale price tag.

Let's get right to the bad news: $61,875.

The good news: regardless of your mood or desires, this car will satisfy you. Feel like rumbling in a sports car? Want to drive a lap in a seat of luxury? If your thing is safety features, look no further. Power, comfort, safety the Audi S6 Avant Quattro AT5 has it all.

The letter "S" stands for sporty, and sporty cars require power. The S6 answers that demand with a 4.2-liter V-8 engine that produces a whopping 340 horsepower with 310 foot-pounds of torque. And the torque kicks in at full tilt at only 3,400 rpm. In other words, this car will blow most muscle cars away.

Can the S6 handle the speed? You bet. Quattro is Audi's middle name, which means this car will hug the ground in all kinds of weather. Better yet, the power is linked to a fun-packed five-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic. Move the shifter from the automatic mode into Tiptronic and touch the shifter lever to upshift or downshift, or use additional shifting controls located on the steering wheel. This is accomplished faster than using a straight manual transmission, yet it offers all the power input that makes a manual transmission desirable.

If aggressive driving gets out of hand, the S6 has an electronic stabilization program that constantly monitors stability of the vehicle and intervenes should there be any signs of skidding on the large 17-inch performance tires.

Audi engineers said the new S6 has an all-aluminum sport suspension and it sits nearly an inch lower than the suspension with stiffer stabilizing bars compared to the A6. It uses a system that automatically distributes power between the front and rear wheels as needed. These high-tech features are not found on ordinary cars.

Other advanced features: dual threshold next-generation front air bags, seat-mounted front side air bags and Sideguard curtain air bags. The car has automatic pretensioners on the three-point belts, plus a protective headrest for all seat positions.

But when your mood alters from pretending you're Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt Jr., simply drop the shifter into automatic, lay back and enjoy the ride in luxurious comfort. The fuel economy isn't all that great, but it has a 21-gallon fuel tank, so you can drive up to 440 miles.

My Avant had 36 cubic feet of luggage area plus a 60/40 rear seat, handy when transporting extralong parcels. Incidentally, the word Avant is what Audi uses to describe a station wagon.

For comfort and convenience, 12-way power front seats should please you. Even the rear seats can be heated. Will one-touch up-and-down power windows tickle your fancy? Does your passenger need more warmth than you? Dual climate control is the answer. Another feature I've never seen before is a computer clock that starts up automatically with the trip odometer.

At night, the headlamps brighten the road up to 1,300 feet ahead with xenon high and low beams. The instrumentation, however, is in bright red, which is a bit overwhelming.

Another pleasing feature is the way the Bose sound system has been fine-tuned to perfection. It features six in-dash CDs, plus 200 watts of power. Yet the most enjoyable source of S6 power definitely comes from the engine.

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