Performance variant of Audi’s flagship model gets extreme makeover

In the midst of all the anniversaries and celebrations automakers have lined up for this year, it’s easy to forget that one model is actually celebrating an anniversary of its own in 2016. Audi has yet to make a big fuss about it, so let me do the honors. The Audi S8 is turning 20 years old this year. Yes, it was first introduced in 1996 as Audi’s answer to the growing popularity of performance-oriented luxury models in the late 1990s. Since then, the S8 has held that mantle proudly and to commemorate it being a year away from legal drinking age, German tuner MTM is bringing an updated version of its Talladega program for the S8 at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

The car is officially called the S8 Talladega R, which is pretty much a souped-up version of the Talladega S that the aftermarket company introduced exactly a year ago at the 2015 staging of the biggest auto show in the world. Whether MTM intended the Talladega R to be a celebratory program is unclear, but what I do know is that it’s faster and more powerful than last year’s version. It’s also a little more provocative to look at, thanks in part to that camouflage wrap that MTM thought would look good on the S8.

Overall, it’s not the nicest S8 to look at, but where it felt a little overboard in one aspect, it more than made up for in another. With that kind of power, I don’t think the S8 Talladega R is the kind of car you’d want to see in your rearview mirror.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

  • 2016 Audi S8 Talladega R by MTM
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    802 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    698 @ 2250
  • Displacement:
    4.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.1 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    217 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Audi S8 Talladega R by MTM High Resolution Exterior
- image 667561

As the performance variant of Audi’s flagship model, the S8 does open itself up to exterior upgrades that push the envelop from a cosmetic point of view. Well, MTM really took a lot of liberties to make sure that happened here. The three-tone, red, grey, and black camouflage doesn’t do it for me, not because I don’t like it, but because it doesn’t really vibe well with the status of the S8. Put this on the R8 and I’m sold. But other than this particular nit-pick, MTM did do an impressive job adding a custom aerodynamic kit made up of a front spoiler with carbon inlets, new side sills, carbon rear diffuser, side mirror caps, and a rear spoiler. Rounding out the extensive exterior upgrades on the S8 is a new set of 22-inch Bisimoto alloy wheels. These rims are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport 265/30ZR tires and are complemented by full size carbon ceramic brakes.

Interior

2016 Audi S8 Talladega R by MTM High Resolution Interior
- image 667557

The interior is as dressed up as you can imagine, given how much Audi has already put in on the S8’s cabin. Without taking too much away from the sedan’s already luxurious interior, MTM’s imprint on the cabin was limited to a pair of RS front sport seats with carbon seat covers, RS back seats, and RS door panels. The tuner’s noted honeycomb stitching is also present throughout the interior, specifically in the seats, door panels, and the cover of the center compartment.

Drivetrain

2016 Audi S8 Talladega R by MTM High Resolution Exterior
- image 667562

Just like its new tuning kit for the Audi RS3, MTM’s program for the S8 Talladega R, involves adding more power to a program that already exists. Remember the Talladega S? That version had a little over 700 horsepower on tap. This one, though, is on another level as the German tuner put in the work to extract more power out of the sedan’s 4.0-liter biturbo V-8 engine. The result is 802 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 698 pound-feet of torque from 2,250 to 5,500 rpm. That’s a far cry from the S8’s standard output of 520 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque.

The S8 Talladega R is capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in an incredible 3.1 seconds

With these changes in place, the S8 Talladega R is capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in an incredible 3.1 seconds. That’s supercar territory. Just as impressive is its 0-to-124 mph time of less than 10 seconds and its 0-to-186 mph time of under 29 seconds. Top speed sits at 217 mph, which competes with the likes of the Lamborghini Aventador. If that doesn’t tell you what the S8 Talladega S8 is capable of when it gets angry, I don’t know what will.

Prices

The whole package will cost a customer roughly around $243,000. That includes the donor car, which in itself is priced from $114,900. Do the math and the entire kit costs a little more than the actual S8 itself. Granted, the changes do make a big difference to the luxury performance sedan. More importantly, you’d still be hard-pressed to find another car that can put out that much power and performance at that price range, even if it’s a little steep at first glance. It’s all relative, right?

Competition

Mercedes-AMG S 63 Black Edition by Mansory

2016 Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe Black Edition By Mansory
- image 665512

When MTM takes to the 2016 Geneva Motor Show floor with its program for the Audi S8, it can look across the hall to Mansory’s own booth and see what a competitor to its program looks like. The Mercedes-AMG S 63 Black Edition is the kind of program that Mansory is known for. It’s got an extensive carbon fiber body kit. It’s got solid wheel options. It’s got an impressive interior. In other words, it checks off a lot of requirements a customer wants in an aftermarket program.

Under the hood, Mansory’s work on the AMG S 63’s 5.5-liter biturbo V-8 engine involved the use of a variety of new engine parts, including connecting rods, big end bearings, crankshaft, bearing bushings, a turbocharger, and a suction and compressor system. The result is an incredible 985 horsepower and 1,034 pound-feet of torque. That’s “enough” to get the car to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. Top speed is limited at just 186 mph.

Read our full review here.

Rolls-Royce Wraith Palm Edition 999 by Mansory

2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith "Palm Edition 999" By Mansory
- image 662299

This one gets in by the simple fact that it’s Rolls-Royce and it’s limited to just nine units. Oh, and it has actual gold in it, which is short for saying that all nine models will probably stay in their respective garages for the foreseeable future. But even if it’s likely to be a showpiece more than an actual car, the Palm Edition 999 is about as exclusive as it gets. The presence of actual gold on the exterior and interior and the exclusive paint finish both play their part in making this car as unique as any Wraith you’ll ever see.

On the technical side, Mansory did a number on the Wraith’s 6.6-liter V-12 engine, taking its output up to 729 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. The increased power helps the Rolls sprint to 62 mph in just 4.4 seconds, and onto a top speed of 186 mph. It’s going to get waxed by the AMG S63 Coupe Black Edition in a full-on sprint, but over time, it’s going to carry the same top speed.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Audi S8 Talladega R by MTM High Resolution Exterior
- image 667563

This is a mixed bag for me, but for the most part, I’m on board with this tuning program from MTM. The engine upgrade is incredible and it goes to show the range of MTM’s tuning prowess and the ability of the S8 to be equal parts luxury car and supercar at the same time. I’m not as sold on the camouflage print because I think it takes too much away from the S8’s luxurious looks, but in a case of likes versus dislikes, I like this program more than I dislike it.

  • Leave it
    • Camouflage wrap doesn’t look right on the S8
    • Could be pricey when all the options are checked
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