Its predecessor was already a sporty luxury saloon with an exceptionally individual character which showed BMW and Mercedes a few things. The new Audi S8, launched in Australia this month (December 2006), is set to continue this legacy and develop it further, with the objective of setting new standards in its class.
Audi has gone mad, if the V10 in the 2007 Audi S6 was powerful, Audi engineers have managed to squeeze out a few more kWs out of the same engine for the S8. The long-stroke V10 capitalises on the expertise behind the Lamborghini Gallardo super sports car (Audi/VW own Lamborghini), yet is a completely new development in certain key areas - one of its most important innovations being FSI petrol direct injection.
The S8 engine has a displacement of 5,204 cc, from which it produces an output of 331kW at 7,000 rpm and 540 Nm of torque. 90 percent of this power is already available at 2,300 rpm. The Audi luxury saloon consequently achieves the road performance of a high-calibre sports car.0-100 km/h in 5.1 seconds - faster than the Audi S6 by 0.1 of a second.
Thanks among other things to its compact design, the ten-cylinder concept is ideal for achieving a sporty performance. FSI technology, which uses the principle of homogeneous combustion, enables a high compression ratio. Audi has drawn here on the extensive experience it enjoys in the field of motorsport.
The R8 racing car, a pioneer of direct injection, took part in the Le Mans 24 Hours five times, winning on four of those occasions - proof indeed of the efficiency and high performance of this technology.
Audi points out the following features as advantages of the Audi S8:
- very spontaneous response, short reaction time
- shorter shift points, quick gear changes
- sporty, throaty sound when accelerating
- beefy torque curve even at low engine speeds
- sporty behaviour thanks to engine speeds up to 7,000 rpm
- perfect synthesis of sporty driving pleasure and comfort on long journeys
Below is Audi's press release for the 2007 Audi S8
2007 Audi S8
The S8 is equipped with a six-speed tiptronic transmission. The final ratio of this automatic transmission is lower than on the A8, its management is optimised to change gear more dynamically. In typical Audi style, the new S8 also transmits its power to the road by means of quattro permanent four-wheel drive. In its new generation, with asymmetric/dynamic torque split, it makes the dynamic character of the luxury saloon even more agile. A centre differential distributes 40 percent of the power to the front and 60 percent to the rear wheels. This slight emphasis on the rear end ensures particularly dynamic handling.ChassisLike the A8, the S8 also relies on adaptive air suspension including adaptive damper control and aluminium chassis components. However, the setup on this model is exceptionally sporty in character and even slightly stiffer than on the adaptive air suspension - sport version familiar from the A8, which lowers the body by up to 20 millimetres depending on mode. The steering has a more direct ratio which ensures better handling. The Audi S8 is fitted as standard with cast aluminium wheels of S design. These are of size 9 J x 20 and shod with wide tyres of size 265/35.The four discs of the 18-inch brake system are ventilated and generously dimensioned. The optional ceramic brakes, which are already offered for the A8 W12, are a special feature available for the S8.Ceramic brakes have significant advantages over steel discs. They are less susceptible to heat fading and last for up to 300,000 kilometres - about four times as long as steel discs.The car's handling also benefits from the ceramic discs' lower weight - they are around 5 kilograms or 50 percent lighter than steel discs.BodyThe innovative aluminium body, built using the Audi Space Frame ASF principle, provides the high-strength basis for the supreme dynamism of the Audi S8. The closed space frame imbues the body with outstanding characteristics. The static torsional rigidity, a critical measure of dynamic potential, is around 60 percent higher than on the previous model.At the same time, the new S8 has the lightest bodyshell in the entire luxury segment - its weight is around 50 percent lower than that of an equivalent steel body. This advantage is doubly valuable, benefiting both dynamism and economy.DesignA glance at the outside is enough to see that the S8 gives an unmistakeable promise of performance. The car's athletic exterior design translates its dynamism into a clear and elegant formal idiom and emphasises the exceptional position that the brand's sporty top model enjoys in the luxury class.The front end of the Audi S8 is adorned with the single-frame grille bearing the S8 badge and comprising vertical struts with a chrome-look finish. Three flat air inlets accentuate the front apron; the large inlets under the headlights feature a honeycomb grille.Down the sides, badges on the front wings, door handles with aluminium trim strips and aluminium-look mirror housings are indications of the exceptional status of the S8.The S8 on the tail, a rear spoiler integrated into the luggage compartment lid, a subtle light-refracting edge in the apron and an exhaust system with four oval tailpipes complete the list of modifications.The door sill trims are adorned with S8 emblems, the inlays are in brushed aluminium and carbon. The leather multifunction sports steering wheel has colour-contrasting stitching and the S emblem, the shift paddles have an aluminium-look finish. Aluminium-look trim also embellishes the selector lever knob, the electromechanical parking brake and air vent surrounds.The needles on the instrument dials are in white, their scales in light grey and their digits in italic script. The sports seats with Valcona leather upholstery are finished in a two-colour look.EquipmentThe A8 already boasts a luxurious standard equipment specification. This includes a leather multifunction steering wheel, deluxe automatic air conditioning, a luggage compartment lid with power-assisted closing, cruise control, electrically adjustable front seats and an electromechanical parking brake.In addition to these items, the S8 will boast a wealth of other comfort and convenience features such as the keyless driver authorisation system advanced key, double glazing for the windows, automatically dipping and electrically folding exterior mirrors, heating for the rear seats, a DVD navigation system and a Bose surround sound system with CD changer, Valcona leather and a leather-covered centre console and door armrests.The standard equipment of the S8 also includes the innovative lighting technology adaptive light with LED daytime running lights. In this case, the xenon plus headlights are combined with static turning lights and dynamic cornering lights, as well as with special daytime running lights. Each consisting of five white light-emitting diodes, these only consume a minimum amount of energy.One particular highlight that is standard for the S8 in Australia is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System. The fully digital system from the Danish high-end manufacturer integrates 14 speakers, each energised by its own output stage. Two amplifiers provide more than 1,000 watts of power. The front tweeters use what is known as Acoustic Lens Technology, and act as point sound sources.