The next Audi S8, the company’s flagship super-saloon, will come with a torquier version of the Lamborghini Gallardo’s V10.
Unveiled at this week’s Tokyo Motor show, the S8 has a 450bhp 42-valve quad-cam engine, which is very similar to the unit used in the Gallardo, and was developed by Lamborghini in cooperation with Audi.
The V10 been tuned for a smoother power delivery and more torque - 398lb ft against the Lamborghini’s 376lb ft, produced at 3500rpm instead of 4500rpm, and 90 per cent is available from 2300rpm. This is mostly due to the addition of parent company Volkswagen’s FSI fuel-injection system, which ups the compression ratio and improves fuel economy. The Audi version also has a bigger bore (up from 82.5mm to 84.5mm) to give a 5204cc capacity.
As with the previous S8, Audi’s quattro permanent four-wheel drive system is standard, but the front/rear split has been changed to 40:60. The system is capable of diverting 85 per cent of the power to the rear wheels and up to 65 per cent to the front wheels. The gearbox is a six-speed Tiptronic auto with a lower final drive ratio than that found in the standard A8 for better acceleration in sixth gear. Audi is claiming a 0-62mph time of 5.1sec and the top speed is limited to 250km/h.
Underneath the S8 uses the A8’s optional air suspension, lowered by 20mm with firmer springs and dampers, and different rubber bushes. There are four different modes – automatic, comfort, dynamic and lift – selected via the MMI operating system, and the ride height is automatically varied according to the speed. Steering has been retuned for a ‘more direct feel’, according to Audi.
Brakes are the carbon ceramic discs that are currently an option on the W12 A8, 385mm at the front and 335mm at the back, sitting behind 20-inch wheels and 265/35 20 tyres. External styling tweaks include alloy-look mirror housings, door handles with alloy strips and four tailpipes.
The S8 will go on sale in the middle of next year, with prices starting at around £50,000.