To say that the current 2015 Audi A8, which was launched in 2009, is a bit long in the tooth is an understatement. Sure, the German sedan is still one of the most popular choices in the full-size market, but both Mercedes-Benz and BMW have redesigned their competitors for this demanding niche. The A8 desperately needs a modern interior and an exterior design that will attract new customers. Same goes for the performance-oriented 2015 Audi S8.

The A8’s overhaul, however, won’t happen until 2017, and this basically means an updated S8 won’t arrive until 2018. The good news is that the next A8/S8 will borrow their styling from the gorgeous 2014 Audi Prologue Concept. Granted, the new design language is still evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but it’s a breath of fresh air nonetheless. Meanwhile, Audi will probably continue to make the best of the current model with mild updates and special-edition models. The most recent of these is the S8 Plus, which, as the name suggests, is a more powerful version of the already familiar S8.

Audi’s Plus line goes back to 2004, when the company sold a final, limited-edition version of the RS6. It had increased engine output, added standard features, and various other goodies inside and out. The same recipe was applied again in 2012 on both the 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus and the 2012 Audi TT RS Plus, which makes the S8 the fourth Audi to receive this package and the first S model to get the "Plus" badge.

Updated 11/13/2015: Audi announced U.S. prices for the new S8 Plus which will be put on sale in December 2015. Prices will start from $114,900 - excluding $925 destination charges.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Audi S8 Plus.

  • 2016 Audi S8 Plus
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    605
  • Torque @ RPM:
    516
  • Displacement:
    4.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.8 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    189.5 mph
  • Price:
    114900
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Exterior
- image 639083
2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Exterior
- image 639082

Though the S8 isn’t the kind of sedan I’d describe as beautiful, I admit its clean and almost featureless body lines give it an elegant stance a lot of modern, full-size sedans can’t brag about. What I like more about the S8, especially compared to the 2014 Mercedes-AMG S63, is that it packs all the performance in a rather mundane shell, which basically turns it into a sleeper. The S8 Plus is pretty much the same, missing the overly aggressive body features that would alter its simple yet stylish design.

Simply put, aside from the spoiler lip on the trunk lid, there's absolutely no hint that the S8 Plus packs significantly more power than its S8 sibling.

Simply put, aside from the spoiler lip on the trunk lid, there’s absolutely no hint that the S8 Plus packs significantly more power than its S8 sibling. Come to think of it, a spoiler lip is not even a hint these days, when so many cars are designed to look faster and more powerful than they actually are.

Getting back to the car in question, the said spoiler lip is standard equipment and comes painted in the same color as the exterior. However, Audi does offer the option of a carbon-fiber piece for a more upscale look. Speaking of carbon, the entire exterior design of the S8 Plus revolves around a blacked-out appearance. The trademark Singleframe grille is finished in gloss black, while the honeycomb mesh of the side air inlets are in matte black. Both the flaps in the inlets and the splitter-like piece on the front apron are made from carbon fiber.

On the sides, the S8 Plus features black window trim and mirrors caps that can be optioned in either gloss black or carbon fiber. The standard housings are painted in body color. Around back, the sedan received tinted taillights, a gloss-black diffuser insert with a carbon-fiber surround, and gloss-black exhaust pipes. Other features include "S8" logos front and rear, "V8 T" badges on the front fenders, and Matrix LED headlamps. The latter, however, are standard only in Germany.

The S8 Plus also comes with an exclusive exterior color, Floret Silver, in addition to all the shades offered on the standard S8.

Interior

2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Interior
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2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Interior
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2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Interior
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For the S8 Plus, Audi enhanced the S8’s already sporty interior with a number of features otherwise only available as expensive options. The black full-leather interior comes with contrast stitching and piping in Arras Red, while the headliner is finished in black Alcantara. There’s Black Piano trim on the center console, and aluminum and carbon-fiber inserts on the dashboard. The instrument cluster, on the other hand, is standard S8 business, with gray dials, white pointers, and an "S8" logo on the tach.

The extensive standard features list for the S8 Plus also includes ambient lighting, a convenience key with sensor-driven luggage compartment locking, the Alcantara package, power-assisted door closing, and a DVD/CD changer. German-spec models also get the assistance package with Audi pre sense plus, four-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning system, Bose surround sound system, and MMI navigation plus with MMI touch.

Drivetrain

2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Drivetrain
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Fortunately, the Plus in the S8 Plus is more than just extra features inside and out. Thanks to an updated 4.0-liter V-8 that uses a bespoke engine control unit with "speed and charge pressure boosting," modified exhaust valves and revised inner turbocharger geometry, the S8 Plus throws down 605 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque (in overboost mode, the engine produces 553 pound-feet).

Not surprisingly, the beefed-up V-8 mates to an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission and Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

That’s an 85-horsepower and 35-pound-feet improvement over the S8, which makes the S8 Plus the most powerful full-size sedan Audi has built as of yet.

With the enhanced output also comes a quicker 0-to-62 mph sprint, now estimated at 3.8 seconds. This makes the S8 Plus a tenth-second quicker than the standard S8. Also, the sedan is faster than a wide array of sports cars and luxury grand tourers, including the 2014-2015 Aston Martin Vanquish, the previous-generation Audi R8, and the 2015 BMW M4, just to name a few.

Not surprisingly, the beefed-up V-8 mates to an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. other updates include 21-inch wheels wrapped in grippier tires, adaptive suspension, a tuned exhaust system and a sports differential.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 4.0 TFSI V-8 biturbo
Output 605 HP
Torque 516 LB-FT (553 LB-FT overboost)
0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) 3.8 seconds
Top Speed 155 MPH (189.5 MPH optional)

Prices

2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Interior
- image 639069

German pricing starts from €145,200 (around $158,380). That’s a €28,300 (about $30,865) premium over the standard S8 and €1,400 (around $1,527) over the A8 L W12.

On the U.S. market the new S8 Plus will be priced from $114,900 - excluding $925 destination charges.

Competition

2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic

2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
- image 515422

Redesigned for the 2014 model year, the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG is the S8 Plus’ sole competitor in this niche. Significantly more aggressive on the outside and arguably the more modern choice as far as amenities go, the S63 AMG uses an updated 5.5-liter V-8 that cranks out 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Obviously less powerful than the S8 Plus, the Merc has more than 100 extra pound-feet of torque, which makes it nearly as quick as the Audi.

The sedan needs 3.9 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start, making it a tenth-second slower than the S8 Plus, but tops out at 186 mph. The Audi is limited at just 155 mph. In Germany, the limousine fetches €152,022 before options. Unlike the S8 Plus, the S63 AMG is available in the U.S. from $143,250.

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG here

2016 BMW 7 Series

2016 BMW 7 Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 633471

BMW overhauled the 7 Series for the 2016 model year, but, unfortunately, the new model still doesn’t feature a performance-oriented version. However, because the new sedan is significantly lighter than its forerunner and employs revised engines, as well as new technology and improved amenities, the 7 Series is likely better than the S8 in just about any department except output and off the line acceleration.

The most powerful 2016 7 Series to arrive in showrooms will be the 750i xDrive, powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 generating 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. The oomph is enough to push the sedan from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, making it a half-second slower than the S8 Plus. However, given the 750i has 150 horsepower less than the Audi, that figure is nothing to sneeze at. German prices for the new 750i xDrive start from €107,500, while in the U.S. you can have it for at least $97,400.

Read more about the BMW 7 Series here.

Conclusion

2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Exterior
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While I’m no fan of recent products coming from Ingolstadt, especially since the brand’s styling department adopted the "same sausage, different lengths" strategy, I can see why the S8 Plus has everything it needs to become an iconic model in the A8 lineup. It’s nearly as powerful as the new R8 V10 Plus and only a half-second slower from 0 to 62 mph, yet it’s able to remain inconspicuous until the pedal hits the floor. It’s basically what most businessmen want from a high-performance, full-size sedan nowadays.

  • Leave it
    • * Somewhat outdated design
    • * Very expensive
    • * Might not come to the U.S.

Updated History

Updated 09/21/2015: We’ve added a series of new images we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find the new images in the "Pictures" tab.

Updated 08/12/2015: Audi dropped two new video: one driving footage and one trailer - for its new S8 Plus. Check them out to hear the sound of the car’s V-8 engine. Enjoy!

Press Release

Audi is making a strong statement with the new S8 plus*. With a power output of 445 kW (605 hp) and a top speed of up to 305 km/h (189.5 mph), the new Audi S8 plus* delivers even more enhanced driving performance. The new top model is reinforcing the brand’s position in the segment of premium class sedans.

2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Exterior
- image 639072

“We have further sharpened our large sport sedan,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG; he continues “The new Audi S8 plus has a substantial gain in power and defines the pinnacle of sporty performance in the segment. That is why ‘plus’ appears in its name.”

One strength of the large sedan is its lightweight design. Its body is made almost entirely of aluminum. Its design is based on the Audi Space Frame (ASF) and weighs just 231 kg (509.27 lb) – which is the lightest among the competition.

Audi engineers have further advanced the development of the 4.0 TFSI engine for the new S8 plus. The sonorous V8 biturbo engine now has a power output of 445 kW (605 hp) and a maximum torque of 700 Nm (516.3 lb‑ft); in overboost mode, it can even produce 750 Nm (553.2 lb‑ft). The large sport sedan – whose power was boosted 63 kW (85 hp) compared to the S8* – accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.8 seconds, and its governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph) can optionally be increased to 305 km/h (189.5 mph).

Audi and Quattro GmbH bundled their expertise in engine development to attain these top figures. Modifications made to the 4.0 TFSI range from its special engine control with speed and charge pressure boosting to its modified exhaust valves and the inner geometry of the turbocharger that was optimized for efficiency.

An eight-speed tiptronic distributes the forces that are generated by the power-boosted V8 engine to a quattro drivetrain with a sport differential. Chassis highlights include the adaptive air suspension sport and dynamic steering, both of which chassis experts tuned specifically for the S8 plus. In Germany, the car comes with 21‑inch wheels that were specially designed for the S8 plus and size 275/35 tires.

The increase in top speed to 305 km/h (189.5 mph) is part of the dynamic package, which is a standard feature in Germany. In addition to carbon-fiber reinforced ceramic brakes with anthracite-gray brake calipers and the Audi ceramic logo, the package also includes a sport exhaust system modified by quattro GmbH. It gives the S8 plus an unmistakably sporty V8 sound characteristic.

2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Exterior
- image 639076

The new S8 plus reveals its position as the sportiest top model of the model series in its design detailing. The standard spoiler lip on the rear lid catches the eye. It is painted in the exterior body color, and it is also available in carbon fiber as an option. The flaps in the side air inlets and the blade on the front apron are made of carbon fiber. The mirror housings in body color are optionally available in gloss black or carbon. The Singleframe grille and double bars are in gloss black, while the honeycomb structure of the side air inlets and radiator screen are in matt black. The trim strips on the side windows and at the rear are gleam in black. Distinctive design characteristics of the S8 plus also include darkened tail lights and a gloss black diffuser insert, which has an additional carbon surround. The dual-branch sport exhaust system branches into two oval gloss black tailpipes on the left and right. As an alternative, customers can choose the S8 styling package.

It features S8 logos at the front and rear and V8 T badges on the front fenders. The matt-effect paint finish floret silver is exclusively available on the S8 plus. All of the colors offered on the S8 are also available on the S8 plus.

The headlights feature Matrix LED technology as standard equipment in Germany; they come with dynamic turn signals. The extremely precise high-beam units each have 25 small, individual LEDs that can be individually switched on or off or dimmed as needed. They illuminate the road superbly without causing glare to oncoming traffic.

The interior of the S8 appeals with numerous sporty details, the authenticity of its materials and generous interior space. Contrasting stitching in Arras red is used throughout the black full-leather interior. Piping, also in Arras red, trims the comfort sport seats as well and emphasizes the stylish side of the sport sedan. The headlining and rear parcel shelf are designed in black Alcantara.

A contrasting red thread is woven into the upper inlay. The lower inlay is designed in brushed aluminum. Black piano paint trims the gear selector lever of the tiptronic and the center console. Characteristic of the interior of the S models are the round instruments with gray dials, white pointers, dynamic startup and an S8 logo on the tachometer. The pedals and footrest shine in stainless steel. There is a decorative red ring on the start-stop button, and an S8 logo adorns the three-spoke sport leather steering wheel.

2016 Audi S8 Plus High Resolution Exterior
- image 639077

Audi delivers the new S8 plus with the normal wheelbase and offers extensive standard features that include ambient lighting, a convenience key with sensor-driven luggage compartment locking, full-leather interior package, Alcantara package, power-assisted door closing and a DVD/CD changer. In Germany, standard features – in addition to the dynamic package – also include the assistance package with Audi pre sense plus, four-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning system, Bose surround sound system and MMI navigation plus with MMI touch. The new Audi S8 plus will be available at the end of November for a base price of 145,200 euros.

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