The Audi S6 and S7 have gone diesel in Europe

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Goodbye V8. Semi-hot A6 & A7 get big, V6 diesel with electric supercharger in Europe

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Times have changed at Audi, and not necessarily in the way you’d think. See, once upon a time the S6 and S7 had V8 engines. Hell, the S6 even had a nat-asp V10 for a bit. In these more environmentally-aware times, you’d expect Audi to downsize.

A turbocharged petrol V6 seems like the obvious choice, and indeed that’s what the new S6 and 7 will come with in the USA, Asia and the Middle East. It’s the 2.9-litre V6 you get in the S4 and S5.

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But in Europe? Diesel. Specifically, the 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel from the SQ5, complete with an electric compressor for instant torque and a 48v mild-hybrid system, giving engine-off coasting and super-smooth stop/start.

You’re looking at 344bhp and 700Nm. Less powerful, but torquier than the cars they replace. The S6 sedan does 0-100km/h in 5 seconds, while both the S6 Avant and S7 take a tenth of a second longer. All three of them are limited to 250km/h, because Germany, and should return about 7l/100km.

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The gearbox is a conventional 8spd auto, driving all four wheels with a 40/60 front/rear power split. However up to 85 per cent of drive can be sent rearwards, should conditions necessitate. A ‘Sport Differential’ for vectoring torque across the rear axle is optional, as is four-wheel steering (from the SQ7), a hefty set of ceramic brakes and adaptive air suspension.

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As for looks – the differences between the S6/7 and regular ones are slight. And that’s just how we like it. The biggest giveaway you’re not just driving a 2.0-litre TDI is the set of quad exhausts. No doubt there will be some noise augmentation going on to make them seem worthwhile. Us? We'd get the Avant. Because Audi...

STORY Tom Harrison

Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.