2020 Audi S8 is a 563-hp autobahn missile
Audi has finally introduced the high-performance S8 version of its A8 flagship four-door coupe. The A8 has been on the market for two years and undisguised development mules of the S8 were seen circling the Nürburgring a year ago, so it’s been a while coming. American consumers will have an additional wait if they want a more petite version of the S8, as only long-wheelbase examples will be crossing the pond to begin with.
That wait seems to have been worthwhile, as the new S8 comes with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 with 563 horsepower and a massive 590 lb-ft of torque, all-wheel steering, and active suspension. That surpasses the V-6-powered A8 by more than 100 horsepower, though it lags behind competing 600+ hp models like the BMW Alpina B7 and Mercedes-AMG S63. The S8 also has a 48-volt mild hybrid system with stop-start operation, similar to the one used in the Audi Q8. The only transmission that will be offered will be an eight-speed automatic.
The active suspension has positional sensors and forward-looking cameras to detect chuckholes and other road conditions and predicatively raise or lower each wheel individually to suit the circumstances as well as control body roll when turning. When the drive mode is set to Comfort, the active chassis limits body roll to five degrees, and in Dynamic mode, that’s reduced to a minimal 2.5 degrees of lean.
Huge 16.5-inch front and 14.6-inch rear carbon-ceramic brake rotors are optional, while Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, and a torque-vectoring differential are standard equipment.
Aesthetic changes from the A8 are subtle; you’d have to be a bit of an Audi expert to spot the changes. The most noticeable differences are five-spoke wheels unique to the model and S badges. The front fascia is a bit more aggressive with revised air intakes at the corners and there are S8-specific side sills. In back, there are quad exhaust outlets.
On the interior, the dashboard has been jazzed up with a model-specific Carbon Vector top inlay with satin finished aluminum trim accenting the rest of the interior. The seats get embroidered S logos and diamond quilted stitching.
Technology features are abundant, with as many as five radar systems, six cameras, a laser scanner, and a dozen ultrasound sensors supplying the advanced driver assist systems with data.
The S8 goes on sale later this year as a 2020 model. No pricing information has been released yet, but you can expect six figures in the starting price.