Audi has further sharpened its flagship sedan with the introduction of the S8 plus, the company’s answer to the bahn-storming Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG.
Packing a tweaked 4.0-litre TFSI V8 engine with a whopping 445kW of power and 700Nm of torque, the Audi S8 plus is capable of blasting from rest to 100km/h in a Porsche slicing 3.8 seconds, 0.3 seconds quicker than the “standard” S8.
The ballistic 0-100km/h acceleration makes the S8 plus the fastest of any of the range-topping German premium limos, racking a 0.2-second advantage over the 430kW/750Nm 5.5-litre Biturbo V8 S 63 AMG.
With the help of performance arm quattro GmbH, Audi has managed to liberate another 63kW and 50Nm from the 4.0 TFSI V8, which produces 382kW and 650Nm in the regular S8. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h, but keen owners can order a special sports package which will remove the restrictor and see the S8 plus crack 305km/h, a domain of elite supercars only a few years ago.
An eight-speed automatic distributes the brute power to a quattro all-wheel-drive system with a sport differential. Chassis highlights include the adaptive air suspension sport and dynamic steering, both of which chassis experts tuned specifically for the S8 plus. In Germany, the car comes with 21?inch wheels that were specially designed for the S8 plus and size 275/35 tyres.
The increase in top speed to 305 km/h is part of the dynamic package. In addition to carbon-fibre reinforced ceramic brakes with anthracite-grey brake calipers and the Audi ceramic logo, the package also includes a quattro-tuned sport exhaust system, which gives the S8 plus “an unmistakably sporty V8 sound characteristic”.
Matching the extra punch is subtle design details such as the boot lid lip spoiler, which can be body colour coded or made from carbon-fibre. The flaps in the side air inlets and the blade on the front apron are made of carbon-fibre. The mirror housings in body colour are optionally available in gloss black or carbon. The Singleframe grille and double bars are in gloss black, while the honeycomb structure of the side air inlets and radiator screen are in matt black.
Distinctive design characteristics of the S8 plus also include darkened tail lights and a gloss black diffuser insert, which has an additional carbon surround. The dual-branch sport exhaust system branches into two oval gloss black tailpipes on the left and right. If this is all too much for you, the standard S8 styling package can also be specified.
Inside, red contrasting stitching is used throughout the black full-leather interior. The sport seats also feature red contrasting stitching and piping, while the headlining and rear parcel shelf are designed in black Alcantara.
A contrasting red thread is woven into the upper inlay, while brushed aluminium trims adorn the lower inlay. Black piano paint trims the gear selector lever of the tiptronic and the center console.
Set to premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, the Audi S8 plus is headed for Australia but won’t arrive until middle of next year. Pricing will be announced closer to local launch but we can expect the sticker price to be somewhere between the standard S8’s $281,000 (plus on-roads) and Mercedes S 63 AMG’s $387,300.