Top Gear says the new S8 has a confused identity image

Top Gear Magazine writes that the new 2012 Audi S8 has a confused identity because it has too much lux and too little sport. However, the magazine notes that its engine is great.

The upcoming S8 is powered by a new 3993cc V8, with the two twin-scroll turbochargers the exhaust outlets, and the intercoolers, all located within the 90deg vee.

Compared to the engine in the previous model, the normally aspirated 5.2litre V10, the new engine develops around 15 per cent more power and yet consumes 3.0litres less fuel per 100km – making it significantly more fuel efficient than its competitors.

This engine will soon power the new Bentley Continental GT, and this engine will probably be tweaked a bit for the next Audi RS6. It will underpin anything large and fast from the VW Group, period (with the exception of those die-hards at Porsche).

The 4.0 TFSI employs all the technologies from Audi’s modular efficiency platform. They range from the start-stop system to a wide variety of measures aimed at reducing friction. But the most interesting technology in the new 4.0 TFSI, however, is the cylinder on demand system.

It is activated at low to moderate engine loads, with the upper limit between 25 and 35 percent of peak torque, or 160 and 250 Nm (118.01 and 184.39 lb-ft), depending on engine speed. Coolant temperature must be at least 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), third gear or higher must have been selected and the engine must be running at more than idle speed, namely between 960 and 3,500 rpm.

If these preconditions are satisfied, the system closes the intake and exhaust valves of cylinders 2, 3, 5 and 8 on both banks. The V8 continues to run as a V4 with a regular firing order (1 – 4 – 6 –7), but with only two cylinders instead of four being ignited on each revolution of the crankshaft. Efficiency in the active cylinders is increased because the operating points are displaced toward higher loads.

But there are some problems according to TopGear. The car always seems to be a beat behind your inputs. Hit the brakes and the car pauses a fraction before responding, same when you try to change gear manually in the eight speed auto or turn the steering.

It’s best to delve into the Drive Select menu to set your own preferences for the Individual mode; if the S8 is in Dynamic the steering is too artificially heavy, and if you leave it in Auto it suddenly weights up mid-corner. So yes it’s clear. This is a heavy sedan designed not for tracks, but for fast road work.

Final verdict: It’s in a weird position, a niche within a niche; cars like the XJ and S63 do engage the driver more.

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