The new head of the Audi S model range is the Audi S8 saloon, offering the combination of high levels of comfort with high levels of performance.
Discontinued in 2010 with its Lamborghini-sourced V10, the 2012 model trades displacement for turbochargers, with a new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 making an impressive 520-hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, an improvement of 70-hp and 80 lb-ft.
This makes the fuel consumption of the sonorous and smooth twin-turbo V8 all the more amazing: It averages just 10.2 liters per 100 km (23.06 US mpg), much less than its competitors according to the Germans.
The standard, S-specific wheels measure 20×9″ and are shod with 265/40-series tires. Audi will offer five additional wheels as options, four of which have a 21″ diameter. The four internally ventilated disc brakes measure 400 millimeters in diameter up front and 365 millimeters at the rear.
The S8 features an adaptive air suspension with variable damping, which varies ride height of the body between three levels. The steering is equally reactive, adapting its steering ratio and boost to the driving speed to provide tighter cornering.
The equipment list of the 2012 Audi S8 includes start / stop technology, the new ‘cylinder on demand’ tech, Active Noise Cancellation, the acclaimed quattro AWD system, and a self-locking center differential. ANC consists of four microphones integrated into the headlining that constantly record the noise within the cabin. It is then analysed for what Audi describes as “intrusive elements” and, when required, an anti-phase sound is played through the speakers to cancel it out.
Exterior differences with respect to the normal Audi A8 models are easily visible for a trained eye. The single-frame grille is platinum gray and its eight double bars are covered in chrome. An aluminum-look blade makes the bumper appear sharper, and there are high-gloss black slats and aluminum-look ribs in the side air intakes.
After debuting at Frankfurt auto show, the S8 will launch in spring 2012, with pricing and a more specific launch date coming closer to that time.