The Audi S8, which will be launched on the market in early summer 2012, is the new head of the sporty Audi S model family - a large luxury sedan of outstanding power. Its newly developed 4.0 TFSI develops 382 kW (520 hp), but consumes just 10.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (23.06 US mpg). This is due in large part to the cylinder on demand system, which deactivates four of the eight cylinders in many driving situations.
The 4.0 TFSI brings Audi's downsizing strategy to the high-performance class. Twin turbocharging gives the V8, which displaces 3,993 cc, outstanding power. 650 Nm (479.42 lb-ft) of torque is continuously available between 1,700 and 5,500 rpm, and peak power (382 kW/520 hp) is developed at 5,800 rpm. The innovative cylinder head concept, with the intake side on the outside and the exhaust side on the inside, provides for short gas paths with minimal flow losses for very spontaneous engine response. The two twin-scroll turbochargers ensure prodigious amounts of torque at low revs.
The 4.0 TFSI accelerates the S8 from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.2 seconds. The governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph) is just a formality. Compared to the engine in the previous model, the normally aspirated 5.2-liter V10, the twin-turbo V8 develops 51 kW (70 hp) or around 15 percent more power, yet consumes 3.0 liters less fuel per 100 kilometers (23 percent). With an average fuel consumption of 10.2 liters per 100 km (23.06 US mpg), the Audi S8 is significantly more fuel efficient than its competitors.
This top result can be attributed to numerous features, including a start-stop system. Playing a particularly large role in the S8's high efficiency, however, is the new cylinder on demand technology. The system deactivates four of the eight cylinders at low load, reducing fuel consumption at moderate highway speeds by up to ten percent. When the V8 switches into V4 mode, the active noise control (ANC) system is activated, which uses targeted cancellation sound to eliminate unwanted sounds. In addition, active engine mounts dampen vibrations.
The eight-speed tiptronic in the S8 also unites sportiness and efficiency. It keeps revs low whenever possible, but downshifts quickly and comfortably when requested by the driver. The tiptronic delivers the power to a quattro drivetrain with a self-locking center differential with the sport differential at the rear axle. During dynamic driving, the lion's share of the power flows to the outside wheel to literally push the large sedan into the corner.
Brimming with technology: the chassis
The new Audi S8 also pulls out all the stops when it comes to the chassis. The S8 comes standard with a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension. The variable-rate air suspension, which can give the body one of three ride heights, harmonizes perfectly with the dynamic steering, also standard, that adapts its steering ratio and boost to the vehicle's speed.
The Audi drive select dynamics system encompasses these two systems as well as engine management, the eight-speed tiptronic and the sport differential. The driver can vary the characteristic of these chassis components between the comfort, auto, dynamic, individual and efficiency modes.
The wheels of the new S8 measure 9 J x 20 and are shod with 265/40-series tires. Audi offers optional wheels measuring up to 21 inches in diameter. The matt black brake calipers on the front axle sport the S8 badge. Carbon fiber-ceramic discs are available as a high-end alternative. Each disc saves around three kilograms (6.61 lb) of weight, and their calipers are anthracite gray.
A particular advantage of the 5.15-meter (16.90 ft) S8 is its comparatively low weight of 1,975 kilograms (4354.13 lb). The luxury sedan's ASF (Audi Space Frame) body is made almost entirely of aluminum. Only the B-pillars are made of ultra high-strength steel. The body weighs just 231 kilograms (509.27 lb); a conventional steel construction would be around 100 kilograms (220.46 lb) heavier.
Fine exterior design details signal the special position that the S8 occupies in the Audi range. The exterior color Prism Silver is reserved exclusively for the sports model.
The spacious interior is also upgraded with special accents. The multi-way, power-adjustable deluxe sport seats have been designed exclusively for the S8 and are optionally available with ventilation and massage functions.
The S8 offers a wide choice of interior colors, inlays and seat coverings, including particularly fine Valonea leather. The leather package, a DVD changer, the convenience key with sensor-controlled tailgate release and ambient lighting round out the list of standard interior equipment. The S8 is also equipped with the innovative LED headlights and double glazing.
Beyond the standard equipment, Audi makes all of the high-end options from the A8 series available. The driver assistance systems are closely networked with one another and the navigation system. These comprise the adaptive cruise control with stop&go function, Audi side assist, Audi lane assist, the speed limit display, the night vision assistant with highlighting of detected pedestrians and the new parking system with 360° camera. Supplementing these technologies is the safety system Audi pre sense, which is available in a number of versions. The S8 also comes standard with a break recommendation display and the sensor-controlled tailgate release introduced with the Audi A6 Avant.
Standard: MMI navigation plus and the Bluetooth online car phone
The standard MMI navigation plus represents the state of the art in infotainment systems. It includes the groundbreaking MMI touch input system, a hard drive with 20 GB of freely usable space and a high-resolution 8-inch display. The high-end system integrates the Bluetooth online car phone, which brings tailored Internet services under the heading of Audi connect to the car and features WLAN connectivity for mobile devices. The Bose surround system is standard, with the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System available as an option.
The Audi S8 will be rolling into showrooms in early summer 2012. Prices will start at 111,900 euros.
The Audi S8: At a glance
Newly developed twin-turbo V8 producing 382 kW (520 hp) and 650 Nm (479.42 lb-ft) of torque
New "cylinder on demand" system for improved efficiency at part load and start-stop system
Innovative cylinder head layout, two twin-scroll turbochargers
0 - 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.2 seconds
Average consumption just 10.2 liters per 100 km (23.06 US mpg)
Eight-speed tiptronic for fast and comfortable gear changes
quattro permanent all-wheel drive, including sport differential
Adaptive air suspension tautly tuned for sporty driving
Audi drive select and dynamic steering standard
20-inch aluminum wheels standard, 21-inch wheels optionally available
Large wheel brakes, with lightweight carbon fiber-ceramic discs optionally available
ASF aluminum body weighing just 231 kilograms (509.27 lb)
Sporty, elegant design with highlights that are typical of Audi S models
Two exclusive colors
Deluxe sport seats, leather package and ambient lighting standard
LED headlights and double glazing standard
MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and eight-inch monitor standard
Bluetooth online car phone with attractive services from Audi connect plus Bose surround system standard
Standard: break recommendation and sensor-controlled tailgate release
Numerous high-end assistance systems available as options, including the newly developed parking system with 360° camera