Other Audi S-cars, like the S4 and presumably the upcoming S6, share body enhancements with their S-line counterparts. However, with no S-line in the A8 range, the S8 gets a bespoke front bumper, one reportedly requested by American Audi dealers who thought the standard A8 bumper to be too tame for such a beast.
The Audi S8 is equipped with a new V10 engine that capitalizes on the expertise of the super sports car Lamborghini Gallardo. The 10-cylinder power unit develops 450 bhp of power and 540 Nm of torque from a swept volume of 5.2 litres. The torque value is achieved at as low an engine speed as 3,500 rpm. As on the Le Mans winning R8, the most successful racing car in the world, FSI petrol direct injection assures superior power output in the Audi S8. This luxury saloon sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds, and is electronically governed at 250 km/h.
The driveline and chassis of the S8 have been modified to reflect the engine’s power. A quattro drivetrain of the latest generation with asymmetric/dynamic torque distribution diverts the engine’s power to all four wheels. The firmer settings of the adaptive air suspension sport and modifications to the steering ensure that the power and dynamism of the drivetrain are translated with precision into locomotion.
In outfitting the S8 with the V10, Audi is introducing an engine technology that has long been demonstrating its performance potential in the world of Formula 1 racing. The Italian super sports car brand Lamborghini, a subsidiary of Audi, likewise regards the ten-cylinder engine as synonymous with dynamic power. This engine concept has a much more sporty emphasis than a comparable twelve-cylinder power unit. Ten-cylinder engines are more compact and lighter; thanks to the smaller number of components, they have lower moving masses and less internal friction.
The 450 bhp V10 is the second generation of Audi V-engines, all with a 90-degree included angle and a spacing of 90 millimetres between cylinder centres. Key areas of the Audi version have been reengineered compared with the engine in the Lamborghini Gallardo. The bore has been increased from 82.5 to 84.5 mm; the stroke is 92.8 mm and the displacement 5204 cm3. A so-called bedplate structure – an intermediate frame – reinforces the extremely compact crankcase, which is made from cast aluminium.
The V10 in the new Audi S8 uses FSI petrol direct injection. This permits a high compression ratio of 12.5:1 and a correspondingly more effective combustion process based on a lambda value of 1. The common rail injection system delivers the fuel directly to the combustion chambers in precisely metered amounts, at a pressure of up to 100 bar.
The powerful ten-cylinder engine is designed for impressive torque as well as engine power. It generates 450 bhp at 7,000 rpm, but musters up 540 Nm of torque at just 3,500 rpm. 90 percent of the torque is available from as low as 2,300 rpm
It will be appearing on the market in the mid of 2006, with a price tag of EUR 97,600.