Audi’s top-of-the-line luxury model, the A8, is getting a sports variant in the form of the newly-released 2012 S8. Together with the new S6 and the new S7 Sportback, the S8 encompasses Audi’s new S family, one that preaches sporty performance while also adding some subtle tweaks to the car’s overall look.
Changes to the design of the car aren’t all that extensive and you probably won’t even notice them if you don’t look hard enough. But where the car looks pretty similar to its A8 counterparts, the powertrain found under the hood of the new S8 is vastly different.
Gone is the 450-horsepower 5.2-liter V10 engine and in its place, Audi has fitted the S8 with their new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces an amazing 520 horsepower and 479 lb/ft of torque. What makes this all the more impressive is that despite the 70-horsepower increase on the new S8, the fuel consumption rating was improved to 17.8 mpg.
UPDATE 09/07/12: A new commercial of the Audi S8 has just been released called "Suspect". Check it out by clicking on the photo above!
Find out more about the 2012 Audi S8 after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
Like most of the new S family, the Audi S8 doesn’t come with a whole lot of aesthetic changes. Among the subtle modifications for the top-of-the-line Audi S8 are a new grille, a new front apron with a lip spoiler, a revised rear bumper that houses a diffuser and quad tail pipes, and a set of 20" alloy wheels wrapped around 265/40-series tires. Inside, the new S8 gets new sport seats, a new sport steering wheel, and a unique sporty trim.
The 2013 Audi S8 is powered by a new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged TFSI V8 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Power is then channeled to all four wheels courtesy of the company’s new quattro all-wheel drive system with an output that reaches 520 horsepower and 479 lb/ft of torque at 1,700 to 5,500 rpm. The resulting figures translate to a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds while cutting down on fuel consumption by 23 percent, hitting a palatable 17.8 mpg.
Other features of the new V8 engine include a new cylinder deactivation system that cuts down one bank, turning the engine into a four-cylinder. There’s also a new direct-injection technology, energy recuperation, and start-stop systems.
Suspension and Brakes
The new S8 gets a specially tuned adaptive air suspension with variable damping, greatly improving the car’s handling capabilities. The car also comes with four internally ventilated disc brakes that measure 400mm in diameter in the front and 365mm at the rear. Just like the S7 Sportback, the S8 comes with an optional set of carbon ceramic disks that customers can choose as an upgrade.
Pricing for the new S8 has yet to be announced, but you can expect it to be significantly more expensive than the range of prices offered for the A8: $78,050 for the 4.2-liter NWB quattro all the way up to $84,000 for the A8L 4.2 LWB quattro.
With a refreshed look stemming from the just-released Audi A8, the sporty S8 gets the nod in our book over its competitors, some of which include the Mercedes S63 AMG and the Jaguar XJ.
The advantage carrying the S8 over its competition is the fact that it offers a more powerful engine that rivals that of the AMG-powered S63 while also carrying a new and refurnished sporty design.
The only question here is how much the Audi S8 is going to cost. You’re more than likely to score a Jaguar XJ for a cheaper price so that’s what it has going for it.
As far as the Mercedes S-Class is concerned, there’s no question that it needs a shake-up. Fortunately, the people from Mercedes are already hard at work in doing just that, with the new model expected to be unveiled soon.
For now though, the Audi S8 is looking like it can offer a whole lot more compared to the offerings of other brands.
More powerful engine
Offers blend of sporty and luxury in one package
No price yet
Aesthetic changes were minimal