You won’t think that it’s fast until it leaves you eating your own dust

The 2020 Audi S8 has arrived, and it is a monster. There are no two ways about it. We all know what the S8 brings to the table as far as luxury credentials are concerned. But the not-so-little secret about the S8 is that it’s also fast and powerful. Audi claims that the S8’s 571-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine can sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds. That’s an impressive number, but a test run conducted by Auditography revealed Audi’s claimed acceleration time may not be that accurate. In other words, either Audi’s being a bit cheeky or the S8 is actually faster than the company that made it expected it to be.

Audi Acceleration Run - It’s Faster in the Real World

Automakers often are generous when it comes to posting acceleration times to make their models seem faster than they actually are. There are cases, though, when the opposite holds true. In the case of the all-new Audi S8, the German automaker claims that the 4,916-pound super sedan can sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds.

Auditography Pushed the S8 to 62 mph task in just 3.57 seconds - 0.23-seconds faster than Audi's claim.

That performance was caught via a VBox on an Audi test car, so you can count it as legitimate.

Audi S8 Drivetrain Specifications and Weight

The 2020 Audi S8 Is Kind of a Supercar with Four Doors Exterior
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The Audi S8 rocks a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that produces 571 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. All that power courses through an eight-speed automatic transmission, which sends it to all four wheels of the S8. No surprises here, folks.

The German automaker’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system comes standard in the Audi S8 and it’s largely responsible for the S8’s claimed ability to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds and hit an electrically limited top speed of 155 mph.

By comparison, the S8’s less-potent counterpart, the Audi A8 comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 engine that churns out 340 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It’s a tad lighter than the S8 at just over 4,500 pounds, but with the smaller V-6 engine in tow, it can only sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 5.6 seconds. That’s 1.8 seconds slower than Audi’s claimed sprint time of the S8 and more than two seconds slower than Auditography’s S8 test model.

The 2020 Audi S8 Is Kind of a Supercar with Four Doors Exterior
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The 2020 Audi S8 enters a market where the BMW M760i awaits. The latter is Bimmer’s top-spec performance model of the 7 Series family, and it lives up to its status with a massive 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-12 engine that produces 600 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. Just like the S8, the M760i’s V-12 unit is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that transfers power to all four wheels of the sedan.

With its hefty 5,100-pound weight, the M760i can hit 62 mph from a standstill position in 3.91 seconds.

It’s more powerful than the S8, but it’s hard to compensate for the added girth, too. That explains why it’s 0.1 seconds slower than Audi’s claimed time for the S8 and almost 0.3 seconds slower than Auditography’s S8 test model. The good news, at least if you’re a fan of the M760i, is that BMW’s more generous in capping the super sedan’s top speed at 186 mph.

How the 2020 Audi S8 Compares to Unlikely Competitors

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The Audi S8 is a luxury sedan with performance-car-like capabilities. We know what it’s capable of based on what Audi says, but it’s also capable of pulling off a surprise or two, as the S8 did when it clocked in a sprint-to-62-mph time of just 3.57 seconds.

On its own, 3.57 seconds is an impressive figure, but it becomes even more impressive when you compare it in the context of what some modern supercars are capable of when you clock their acceleration times.

Take the Bentley Continental GT V8, for example. It’s powered by a similarly sized 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that produces 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. It’s down on power compared to the S8, though both models weigh around the same at almost 5,000 pounds. That Continental V8’s lower output contributes to the model being a little over 0.1 seconds slower than the Audi S8. Think about how these two models are packaged — one is a super luxury car and another is a range-topping performance model of a luxury car — and you start to realize just how impressively quick the S8 is.

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Let’s go in a different direction and look at the Ferrari Portofino, one of the purest examples of an entry-level supercar in the market today. The Portofino utilizes a 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that produces 592 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque, but It’s almost 1,000 pounds lighter than the Audi S8.

The Portofino’s acceleration time from 0 to 62 mph only comes up to 3.5 seconds. It’s an impressive figure, sure, but it’s also just 0.07 seconds {quicker} than a vastly bigger and heavier Audi *.

What does that tell us about the Audi S8? It just might be a supercar hiding in a four-dour sedan’s body.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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