Audi’s top dog saloon was unveiled yesterday, the Audi S8. This is the latest in a long line of high-performance A8 derivatives. Click here to read about the Audi Q8 that was recently launched in South Africa.
The latest Audi S8 is powered by a V8 engine with mild hybrid technology. Maximum power output from the turbocharged V8 is 420 kW allied with a massive 800 N.m of torque. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h. The mild hybrid system uses a 48-volt belt alternator starter and an additional lithium-ion battery. The S8’s engine can also deactivate individual cylinders in low-load operating situations to provide additional efficiency.
If you ever plan to drive your Audi around a racetrack the newcomer is optionally available with carbon-fibre ceramic brake discs. These are a huge, 420 mm on the front wheels, clamped by 10 piston callipers, and 370 mm at the rear.
You can see previous S8 models in this drag race video.
The new Audi S8 comes standard with the predictive active suspension. The system can lift or push down each wheel separately via electromechanical actuators. The front camera is used to detect larger road surface irregularities which primes the suspension to pre-empt the movement. In comfort mode, the body can lean into curves by as much as 3 degrees thereby reducing the sensation of G forces acting on the occupants. In dynamic mode, the body is tightly controlled for maximum cornering ability. The system limits the roll angle to 2,5 degrees, compared with 5 degrees with the standard suspension.
The Audi S8 also features dynamic-all-wheel steering. The rear wheels can be turned in the opposite direction to the front at low and medium speeds for added maneuverability and in the same direction as the fronts for added stability on the highway at high speeds. A sport differential transfers torque between the rear wheels during fast cornering for added dynamism.
The interior of the new Audi S8 is the most luxurious of all Audi models on offer today, and Audi does some of the best cabins in the business. The driver controls nearly all functions via two large displays or via speech control. Audi’s virtual cockpit instrument cluster can be switched between two views. Both views have S-specific red graphical details. MMI navigation plus serves as the infotainment and media centre in the new Audi S8. The MMI now uses Amazon’s Alexa voice service.