As BMW and Mercedes keep changing their lineups in the hopes of dragging in new customers from one another, Audi is remaining fairly quite. In the last few years, it has chosen to simply upgrade its lineup instead of completely changing things, and rightfully so, as the German luxury car builder has grown leaps and bounds in recent years.
Its latest tweak comes by way of the revised S8 that is set to hit showrooms in the 2015 model year.
The S8 is and always has been the precise definition of a sleeper car, as its relatively unimposing look, rounded body and large exterior give it the look of a cushy luxury sedan. However, that throaty, turbocharged V-8 under its hood has a completely different agenda than its luxurious exterior and interior.
The S8 is one of those rare breeds that allow you to talk million-dollar business deals one second and smoke a Porsche 911 to 60 mph the next. There’s really nothing else like it this side of the $150k mark. Sure, you can make claims that the Jag XJ Supersport — if you still want one after Dick Van Dykes went all "Fisker Karma" on him — or the S63 AMG are worthy competitors, but we doubt either exudes the class of the S8 as it pins your head against the headrest.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 S8
The exterior of the revised S8 underwent a very mild facelift for 2015. It is so minor that you wouldn’t really know it was any different, unless the 2014 model was right next to it, so we did just that (above).
With the side-by-side images at your disposal, you can now see just what Audi has done to refine the S8 even further. The trademark Sin gleframe grille with its more angular top corners and the headlights finally losing the waveform design — thank you!!!! — are the two most obvious changes. Look closely, and you’ll see even more up front, as the front apron features a more defined chin and the air intakes on each side of the apron are significantly larger. The final front-end change for 2015 is an extra set of creases in the hood that give the S8 the visual "snarl" that last year’s soft hood lacked.
The revised headlights feature standard LED technology in the German market, which will likely carry into the U.S., but optional Matrix LED technology is also available as an option. This system uses 25 individual LEDs for the high beam and each diode can be dimmed individually. These headlights feature an intelligent cornering system that illuminates the road as it curves, as well as revised daytime running lights and dynamic turn signals. You can see a nice shot of these new lights in each sequence above.
Around back, the revisions continue, and the most obvious change is the new, wider trunk lid that allows for easier loading and gives the A8 broader-looking shoulders from the rear. The taillights are also a flatter design and look more aggressive than last year’s model. Finally, a new chrome strip strikes through the center of the trunk lid and through the taillights, and the rear under-bumper insert.
The overall dimensions of the 2015 S8 carry over from the 2014 model year.
Gallery Audi S8
Audi didn’t dive too deeply into the interior features on the 2015 S8, but from the looks of things, this will carry over from last year. We examined the differences between the 2014 S8 and this new model, but no differences really popped out at us.
Carrying over is not a bad thing for the S8, as the 2014 rendition featured a cabin that was unmatched in the market, plus standard equipment that Bimmer and Mercedes wouldn’t even think about adding without charging a fee, like standard leather seating and a premium audio system.
One item that looks to be an addition for the 2015 S8 is the black/Vermont brown design selection with Carbon twill copper inlays. From the looks of the images, this is what the press car features. It is evident by the twill accents on the door panels and the overall upscale look of the cabin.
The A8 lineup features a slew of new upholstery, inlays and colors, plus new woods — fine-grain poplar and fine-grain ash — but Audi is unclear whether these will carry into the S8 line.
Audi has revealed some of the optional features for the A8, but the S8 is not outline just yet.
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
Drivetrain features are still coming in, but Audi did reveal the basics for 2015, leaving only small details for speculation. The S8 carries the same 4.0-liter TFSI V-8 engine that the 2014 model had. This powerplant pumps out 520 horsepower — same as 2014 — and hooks up to the quattro AWD system through what we assume is the same eight-speed automated manual transmission from last year.
This is enough to rocket this sedan to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.2 seconds — 60 mph likely comes in the same 3.9 seconds as the 2014 model — and up to a top speed of 155 mph. The average (combined) fuel consumption is set at 23.29 mpg on the European cycle, while CO2 emissions come in at just 235 grams per 100 km. These phenomenal numbers come courtesy of Audi ’s Cylinder on Demand (COD) system, which knocks the V-8 system down to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder when you do not need the power. Additionally, the COD helps keep the cabin noise to a minimum, along with Audi’s Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), at cruising speeds.
Suspension and braking details will come at a later date.
|Engine||4.0-Liter TFSI Turbocharged V-8|
|Output||520 Horsepower @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque||481 Pound-Feet @ 5,500 RPM|
|Emissions||235 g CO2 per 100 KM|
|Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined||TBA / TBA / 23|
|Acceleration (0-60 MPH)||3.9 Sec, Est|
|Top Speed||155 MPH (Limited)|
The Panamera received a healthy revision in 2014 and this will carry over into 2015. At one point, the Panamera was kind of the black sheep of the Porsche family, but it has grown on us and it gives the 911-focused lineup a breath of fresh air. With 520 horsepower on tap from its turbocharged V-8 engine, the Panamera Turbo can hit 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds on its way up to a top speed of 188 mph. The downside of the Panamera Turbo is that it is super expensive: the 2014 model is $141,300.
Gallery Porsche Panamera
Finally, the S63 AMG gets all four wheels powered by its 5.5-liter V-8 that puts down 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque and it took an all-new generation to do so. This is enough to get the big sedan to 60 mph in the same 3.99 seconds as the Porsche and the S8, but it trumps the S8 with a 186 mph top speed. Like the Panamera Turbo, the S63 AMG 4MATIC, as the 2013 model with two-wheel drive hit an outlandish $140k.
Gallery Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4MATIC
The entire A8 lineup was in bad need of an overhaul, along with the S8, and this is just what the doctor ordered. Eliminating the waveform headlights was plenty to make us celebrate, but the extra little tweaks here and there, like the hood, grille and trunk were just the icing on the cake. Audi found the perfect balance of sport and luxury for the A8, and we think this will lead to nothing but good things moving forward.
Composure redefined – the Audi A8
- Audi is honing the character of its flagship model
- More powerful engines, new assistance systems and innovative Matrix LED headlight technology
- Fuel consumption reductions across the board
Systematic lightweight construction, excellent comfort and a broad portfolio of high-end technologies: Audi has given its flagship, the A8, a wide-sweeping update. The engines are even more powerful and efficient, while new assistance systems and the innovative Matrix LED headlights provide for an added level of composure.
The new A8 places Audi among the innovation leaders in the luxury segment. One great strength of the big sedan is its lightweight construction. The Audi A8 3.0 TFSI with the normal wheelbase has a curb weight of just 1,830 kilograms (4,034.46 lb) – best-in-class for models with all-wheel drive. The body is made almost entirely of aluminum; an Audi Space Frame (ASF) design, it weighs just 231 kilograms (509.27 lb).
Length (5.14 meters [16.86 ft]), wheelbase (2.99 meters [9.81 ft]), width
(1.95 meters [6.40 ft]) and height (1.46 meters [4.79 ft]) remain unchanged, making the Audi A8 the sportiest sedan in the segment. The A8 L gains an additional 13 centimeters (5.12 in) in both length and wheelbase. Both body variants feature a new trunk layout for easier loading. Additional noise damping measures reduce the already low interior noise level even further.
The dynamic design of the big sedan has become even more expressive. The engine hood, the Singleframe grille and the front bumper are even more sculptured; the lower edge of the headlight units is straight. In the German market, LED headlights are standard in all models with a V8 engine. Audi also offers optional headlights featuring Matrix LED technology, which sets new benchmarks with respect to design and technology. With these headlights, the high-beam comprises 25 individual light-emitting diodes per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation.
This enables the headlight system to react extremely precisely to other vehicles while always brightly illuminating the road. Additional features of the new headlights are the intelligent cornering light, new-look daytime running lights and dynamic turn signals. The lighting system in the A8 uses predictive route data from the navigation system to adjust the distribution of light in response to the current driving situation. In combination with the optional Navigation plus with MMI touch, the system recognizes route data contained in the navigation system, such as curves and road classifications.
The LED lamps at the rear of the new Audi A8 have also become flatter. In all models except the S8, the redesigned bumper houses two rhomboid tailpipes. New chrome strips and high-gloss black window frames round out the differentiating design details. There is a choice of twelve colors, including five new ones. Wheels are available in sizes up to 21 inches.
The engines: more power and efficiency
Audi offer the A8 on the German market with two gasoline and two diesel engines. These are the supercharged 3.0 TFSI with 228 kW (310 hp), the V8 twin-turbo 4.0 TFSI with 320 kW (435 hp), the highly efficient 3.0 TDI clean diesel with 190 kW (258 hp) and the extremely high-torque 4.2 TDI clean diesel, which produces 283 kW (385 hp) and 850 Nm (626.93 lb-ft).
Performance has increased with most engines. When paired with quattro all-wheel drive, the 4.0 TFSI now accelerates the A8 from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.5 seconds. Under partial load, the Audi cylinder on demand (COD) system deactivates four of the eight cylinders. The most efficient engine is the 3.0 TDI clean diesel, which consumes just 5.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (39.87 US mpg), which corresponds to 155 grams CO2 per kilometer (249.45 g/mile) All engines satisfy the Euro 6 standard. Friction-reducing measures reduce consumption by as much as 10 percent.
These variants are joined by three additional models. The top-of-the-line model is the luxuriously equipped Audi A8 L W12 quattro. Its gasoline engine is particularly short and lightweight thanks to its W layout. Displacing 6.3 liters, it produces 368 kW (500 hp). It also boasts best-in-class fuel consumption of 11.7 liters per 100 kilometers (20.10 US mpg), corresponding to 270 grams CO2 per kilometer (434.52 g/mile). It also has a COD system that was designed specifically for it. At low load, it deactivates the fuel injection and ignition for six cylinders. The available Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) ensures excellent acoustic comfort.
With 380 kW (520 hp), the S8 is Audi’s big sports sedan. Paired with quattro all-wheel drive, its sonorous 4.0 TFSI accelerates the S8 from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.2 seconds. Average fuel consumption for the S8 is just 10.1 liters per 100 kilometers (23.29 US mpg), corresponding to 235 grams CO2 per kilometer (378.20 g/mile). The COD system plays a key role here, too. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a technology that is also used in the A8 4.0 TFSI quattro, the A8 L W12 quattro and the A8 hybrid, uses precise antiphase noise to compensate for intrusive noise in the cabin while operating on four cylinders while active engine mounts dampen vibration. The chassis and many body details reflect the sporty positioning of the S8.
The Audi A8 hybrid combines a 2.0 TFSI and electric motor to produce a system output of 180 kW (245 hp) and system torque of 480 Nm (354.03 lb-ft). The engine’s power flows to the front wheels via a modified tiptronic. The lithium-ion battery in the rear enables purely electric driving at up to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) with a range of roughly three kilometers (1.86 miles). The A8 hybrid consumes on average just 6.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (147 grams CO2 per kilometer [37.34 US mpg/236.57 g/mile]).
The new A8 comes standard with a fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic. The electronically controlled automatic transmission is paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Audi also offers an optional sport differential for the rear axle, which distributes the power between the rear wheels as needed. The sport differential is standard in the S8 and the A8 4.2 TDI clean diesel quattro.
The sedan owes its sporty character in large part to the sophisticated chassis. The Audi drive select system, which varies the function of various technology modules, is standard. It also controls the adaptive air suspension with adaptive damping. Audi offers the air suspension with a sporty setup upon request. The power steering uses an efficient electromechanical drive. Dynamic steering, which varies boost as a function of the speed driven, is available as an option. Carbon fiber ceramic brake discs are available for V8 models and the A8 L W12 quattro.
Another option is for 9 J x 20 aluminum-technology wheels which are based on forged support wheels. A special process joins the support wheel to a ten-spoke design element of high-strength polymer.
Hand-built character: The interior of the Audi A8
The interior of the Audi flagship dazzles with its elegant lines and generous spaciousness. Options for the front seats include ventilation and massage. Electrically adjustable, individual rear seats are available as an option for the A8 and the A8 L. The A8 L is also available with a continuous, leather-covered center console. The first-class solution here is the relaxation seat with power footrest. A large number of additional features are also available, from four-zone automatic air conditioning and power-assisted closing to a cooler.
All components in the new A8 have been carefully chosen and processed with the utmost precision. Each of the lovingly executed details documents the hand-built character of the interior. A new range of choices for seat coverings, inlays and colors is available in many areas. New additions include the woods Fine grain poplar brown-silver and Fine grain ash brown-gold natural as well as the leather Unikat, which is particularly natural-looking, soft and breathable.
The Audi design selection offers a preselection of exclusive materials and colors for the interior, including sycamore gray/marble gray. The design selection black/vermont brown with Carbon twill copper inlays is available for the Audi S8. The Audi exclusive range offers additional individualization options for particularly discerning customers.
As is typical for Audi, the new A8 features exemplarily clear controls despite the abundance of functions. Taking center stage is the MMI control element on the tunnel’s center console. MMI navigation plus also includes a touchpad. The driver draws characters on the pad (MMI touch) to control numerous navigation and multimedia functions.
For more composed driving: the assistance systems
Driving is even more composed with the optional assistance systems. The adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go function is coupled with an expanded version of the standard Audi pre sense basic safety system. The same applies to Audi side assist. New in the A8 are Audi active lane assist, which makes slight steering adjustments when necessary, and the park assist system with 360° display, which handles steering when parking. The head-up display, which is also new, projects important data in the driver’s field of vision on the windshield. The night vision assistant can now also recognize larger animals in addition to pedestrians.
Audi connect including car phone is available as a supplement to MMI navigation plus. It uses an integrated UMTS module to connect the new A8 to the Internet. Passengers can surf and e-mail freely via a WLAN hotspot. For the driver, the system delivers the tailored online services from Audi connect to the car, such as online traffic information, Google Earth, Google Street View and online news. The multimedia highlight is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System. The Rear Seat Entertainment system includes two displays, Bluetooth headphones and a DVD player.
The new Audi A8 is scheduled to arrive at German dealerships in November. Despite the upgraded trim level (standard LED headlights in all V8 models) and the powerful engines, prices are changing only slightly. Prices in Germany for the new Audi model start at 74,500 euros.