Unlike the recently revealed S6 and S7, which now make use of diesel engines, the S8 retains the large-capacity petrol V8 shared with Porsche and Bentley. It puts out 563bhp and 590lb ft of torque, although the firm has yet to release performance details beyond a 155mph limited top speed.
Audi’s 48V mild-hybrid system is also brought in, featuring a starter alternator and small lithium ion battery to allow coasting and extended stop-start use, boosting efficiency in addition to cylinder deactivation.
Another new system is so-called ‘predictive active suspension’. It adds electromechanical actuators to the adaptive air suspension system that can lift or push down each wheel separately, claimed to greatly reduce pitch and roll while allowing comfort levels on a par with the standard A8. To enhance refinement, an active noise cancellation system helps to mask wind and road noise.
Rear-wheel steering also features alongside Audi’s sport differential, which transfers torque between the rear wheels during fast cornering and comes as standard. Ventilated carbon-ceramic brakes can be optioned, with up to 21in alloy wheels available to customers.
Styling-wise, the S8 features unique detailing on the bumpers, sills and mirror housings and new twin exhaust pipes, while a black styling pack is also available.
The A8’s standard ‘comfort customised contour seats’ get a sporty makeover with pneumatically adjustable side bolsters. Active noise cancellation uses the speaker system to mitigate road and wind noise for a more comfortable ride, and the S8 retains all the driver assistance systems found in the A8 for stop-start adaptive cruise control. Car-to-X connected technology can also display traffic light countdown timers in supported cities.
Audi has yet to confirm UK pricing, which is expected to approach £100,000 before options.