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by Tim Beissmann

The Audi S8 is set to reach Australian showrooms in the first half of 2014 after the local division reversed its original decision to overlook the high-performance limousine for our market.

Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle said the local team chose not to pursue the S8 sports model when it launched internationally in mid 2012, but in hindsight admitted it underestimated the demand for the flagship A8 variant.

“Given the competitiveness of the market and the difficult economic conditions, we felt that our S6 sedan and S7 Sportback models would satisfy the demand of our customers at the top level,” Doyle said.

“However, we are very happy to be proven wrong. Customers have asked us to bring this vehicle, and so we will.

“Our dealer network has also been asking for this 382kW sport limousine, on behalf of their customers. So we are very pleased to be working on a launch plan for this model in Q2, 2014.”

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The Audi S8 is powered by a 382kW/650Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine, which launches the 2.1-tonne luxury sedan from 0-100km/h in just 4.2 seconds – remarkably making it one-tenth quicker to triple figures than the Audi R8 V8 coupe – while cylinder-on-demand technology helps keep fuel consumption down to a claimed 10.2 litres per 100km.

Audi Australia expects to sell one to two S8s per month, and says pricing – while not yet confirmed – will be north of $250,000.

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Australia’s Audi A8 line-up is currently an all-diesel affair, comprising standard- and long-wheelbase variants powered by the ‘entry-level’ 184kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 and the high-performance 258kW/800Nm twin-turbocharged 4.2-litre V8. Prices range from $188,000 to $248,700.

Audi Australia has sold 31 A8s in Australia so far this year, leaving it trailing the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (47), BMW 7 Series and Porsche Panamera (41), and the Lexus LS (35), and matching the Jaguar XJ.

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