First spy pictures of upcoming model suggest it’s due for reveal later this year

Audi is working on an S8 version of its flagship saloon that will be powered by the 535bhp V8 engine of the Panamera Turbo.

Caught testing at the Nürburgring, the A8 performance variant will use the latest turbocharged 4.0 TFSI engine to produce 22bhp more than its predecessor. It may not reach the 603bhp firepower on offer from the similarly luxurious Mercedes-AMG S63, but expect straight-line performance to be class-leading.

The previous version of the plush four-door already had the straight-line performance to worry hardened sports cars, hitting 62mph in 4.1sec. The new car could therefore slip beneath the four-second barrier.

Such an improvement would be made possible thanks to the car’s power boost but also its lighter structure. The new A8’s structure is 58% aluminium, but it also has steel, magnesium and carbonfibre, which forms the basis of the rear bulkhead.

This helps save up to 95kg in the A8's structure, so a similar reduction in the S8 could help edge its kerbweight further below the two-tonne mark – no featherweight, but respectable for a car of this size (it’s 1945mm wide) and specification.

Like its forebears, the S8 will retain a conservative design that only hints at its performance enhancements with subtle extras. The photographed test car’s biggest giveaway to its true identity is its larger brake discs. But the final car is likely to get 21in wheels and tinted tail-lights as well.

The S8’s tech list will largely resemble that of its regular sibling, which gets four-wheel steering to improve agility, fully active suspension that’s controlled by 48V electrical architecture and Level 3 autonomous driving technology that can take control of the steering, throttle and brakes.

Expect the high-tech cabin to gain sporting touches, such as bolstered seats with Alcantara fabric, but to retain a luxury feel above all else.

The previous version of the car cost from £83,925, but the new car is likely to push that figure up. It’s due to go on sale next year.

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Our Verdict

Audi A8

The new Audi A8 is sophisticated, undemanding and full of technology, but is that enough to knock the excellent Mercedes-Benz S-Class off its perch?

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Comments
9

27 April 2018

 A big old Bus of a Car, don’t see many of them and thus not many give them a second look, I’d associate them as being Limousines for ferrying important People around not as Family Transport.

Peter Cavellini.

27 April 2018

to steal a mystery briefcase from some unsavoury types. S8 i find more appealing than an S class AMG. But its all academic unless I win the lottery.

27 April 2018

Pretty sure at the launch of the A8 Audi stated it weighed more than the previous model overall; due to the extra technology including the mild hybrid system, and as it is no longer full aluminium. 

27 April 2018

Important people like Jean Reno and Robert de Nero especially. 

27 April 2018

A big heavy vehicle that is reluctant to change direction with class leading staight line speed..great plus you don't have to drive it if don't want to in a few places around the globe.

27 April 2018
I am utterly sick of VAG and their hateful homogenization of everything.

Changing your shoes does not make you a different person.

28 April 2018

When it's this big and this expensive, I don't want blistering 0-60 times.  I want waft.  I want my body comforted, not my ego.

28 April 2018

....how an owner of S8 launch control launches his S8 from each red light and hits that 4.1 sec. Hehe, what a joke. 0-60 for such stately cars is only relevant in the minds of journalists. 

No manual - no fun

29 April 2018

Straight out of Silence of the Lambs!

 

YUK!

Steam cars are due a revival.

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