Audi has taken a very big wrap off its new S8 sports sedan two years after the regular A8 made its debut. Like the A8, the S8 is not only big on tech but also has the muscles to match.
Lurking under the long bonnet is Ingolstadt’s 4.0-litre biturbo V8 TFSI engine that generates 426kW of power and a massive 800Nm of torque. Intriguingly, Audi made no mention of the S8’s zero to 100km/h sprint time, although the low fours can be expected. Meanwhile, top speed is inevitably limited to 250km/h.
Being a large luxury sedan, smoothness is a key focus, with the eight cylinders lined with iron to reduce friction, while the exhaust system is said to deliver a distinctive sound thanks to automatically actuated flaps.
Like all A8’s, the S8 is equipped with Audi’s mild hybrid (MHEV) tech comprising a 48-volt belt alternator starter (BAS) fed by a lithium-ion battery. Together, they enable the S8 to coast with the engine off and Audi says the system is responsible for up 0.8L/100km reduction in real world fuel consumption.
The S8 features the marque’s predictive active suspension, which is claimed to greatly reduce pitch or roll during acceleration or braking. It works via a front-facing camera that reads the road surface ahead and primes the suspension to absorb the shocks. Like the Lexus LS, the active suspension can also raise the car by 50mm when the door handle is actuated to ease entry and exit.
That’s not all, there is a new Comfort + mode that, as the name suggests, improves ride quality by leaning into corners by as much as three degrees to reduce lateral forces acting on the passengers. This is reduced to roughly 2.5 degrees in Dynamic mode for better handling. For comparison, the standard suspension has a maximum roll angle of five degrees in Dynamic mode.
To aid agility, the S8 is equipped with all-wheel steering that allows independent steering angle adjustment for both the driven axles, while a sport differential helps brake the inner rear wheel to reduce oversteer and send most of the power to the outer front wheel during an understeer situation.
Those wanting greater stopping power can tick the optional carbon-fibre ceramic discs package, which comes with 420mm rotor up front and 370mm rotor at the rear. They are up to 9.6kg lighter than the standard brakes and are internally ventilated and clasp by 10-piston calipers.
On the styling front, the S8 features a more aggressive front bumper, twin exhaust exits, 21-inch wheels, as well as aluminium exterior finishes to the air curtains and side mirror caps. There are nine paint finishes to choose from along with an optional black styling package. HD matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light and OLED taillights are also on offer.
Inside, the cockpit is largely carried over except for a model-specific upper inlay made of Carbon Vector with special three-dimensional depth effect. The digital instruments and infotainment screens also gets S-specific graphics. The sound system also features active noise cancellation technology to reduce cabin noise.
The tech fest continues with 38 driver assistance system that are divided into the City and Tour packages, including adaptive cruise assist, traffic jam assist, lane tracking and predictive efficiency assist.
The 2020 Audi S8 is expected to arrive locally early next year.