The new Audi S8
First look at the very pinnacle of high-performance, supreme luxury combined.
Absolute luxury and ground-breaking automotive technology meets absolute performance. The new Audi S8.
10 July, 2019
No wonder different generations of Audi S8 have been the car of choice for block buster films needing an automotive star with elegance and serious performance
The Audi S8 is quietly at the very top of the Audi model range. The high-performance variant of the benchmark Audi A8 range, it is both a high-performance specialist and the ultimate in luxury transportation. It is also a triumph of automotive technology, sporting the very latest driver assistance and safety systems, connectivity and infotainment wrapped in a sporty yet understated exterior that exudes style and presence without needing to press the point.
A prizefighter in a beautifully tailored suit is a fair analogy – urbane and sophisticated, yet capable of delivering an absolutely devastating combination on request.
As the ultimate luxury conveyance, the Audi S8 delivers absolute style – indeed in selected markets*, the S8 will be offered for the first time as a long wheelbase version, such is its appeal in that respect. But given its extraordinary performance and handling characteristics, this is also a car that you’ll want to drive yourself, and enjoy from the ‘business end’. No wonder different generations of Audi S8 have been the car of choice for block buster films needing an automotive star with elegance and serious performance – think Robert De Niro in the 1998 classic, Ronin, right through to the last generation S8 in Transporter: Refueled.
The new Audi S8 more than lives up to its awesome reputation, with a 4.0 TFSI engine – a biturbo eight-cylinder unit – producing 420kW and 800Nm of torque, but combined with MHEV technology it also sports tremendous efficiency as well as exhilarating performance. Indeed its 48-volt belt alternator starter and the additional lithium-ion battery enable coasting with the engine switched off, fast restart and an extended start-stop range that equates to fuel savings of up to 0.8 litres per 100 kilometres. The cylinder on demand system, which deactivates individual cylinders in low-load operating situations, provides for additional efficiency. The vehicle’s sound system features active noise cancellation to eliminate intrusive cabin noise for the ultimate in comfort.
*China, USA, Canada and South Korea.
This new S8 also boasts state-of-the-art suspension that allows it to deliver both sublime comfort and taut sports car handling when required.
This predictive active suspension is a high-tech system, which works in combination with the adaptive air suspension, and can lift or push down each wheel separately via electromechanical actuators, making it possible for the first time to actively control the trim of the body in any driving situation and greatly reduce pitch or roll during acceleration or braking. The front camera, which detects larger road surface irregularities, enables this to be done predictively. The Audi drive select system offers five profiles with Comfort + mode offered a new profile which makes even cornering a comfortable experience. The body leans into curves by as much as three degrees to reduce the lateral acceleration acting on the occupants, while in ‘dynamic’ the S8 turns in tautly with a maximum roll angle during fast cornering of roughly 2.5 degrees compared with around 5 degrees with the standard suspension. The situational distribution of roll moments enables self-steering that is neutral or minimally oversteering. The active suspension enables another new function where the body is quickly raised by as much as 50mm when the door handle is actuated for an even more comfortable entry and exit – it’s the little things that really add up.
Of course dynamic-all-wheel steering is standard and allows the independent adjustment of the steering angles at the front and rear axles. It combines direct, sporty steering response at low and medium speeds with supreme stability on the highway and a tight turning circle that seems impossible in a large luxury car.
Of course dynamic-all-wheel steering is standard and allows the independent adjustment of the steering angles at the front and rear axles
Styling of the new S8 is typically understated, but with an obvious presence – and just a hint of menace
Then there’s the sport differential which actively transfers torque between the rear wheels during fast cornering, so that when turning into or accelerating in a curve, most is directed to the outside wheel, which literally pushes the car into the curve with nary a hint of understeer. In the case of oversteer, the sport differential on the rear axle transfers the drive torque to the inside wheel to stabilise the S8. Customers can also opt for the high-performance, internally ventilated, carbon-fibre ceramic brakes (420mm front and 370mm rear) with 10 piston callipers up front. These high-performance units are low-wearing and are also 9.6kg lighter than cast iron discs, all neatly stowed away inside the massive 21-inch wheels.
Styling of the new S8 is typically understated, but with an obvious presence. Subtle badging is there as always, along with the styling points that will be immediately apparent to this who know what to look for – like the two S-typical twin exhaust tailpipes and the brushed aluminium look of the wing mirrors.
The black styling package is also available as an option. Customers can choose from nine sophisticated colour and design worlds, including the Audi design selection pastel silver, for the spacious interior, where the upper inlay – new and available exclusively in the Audi S8 – is made of Carbon Vector with a special 3D depth effect. Directly below that is an inlay of dark, brushed matt aluminium. Lighting options range up to HD matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light and OLED rear lights.
Inside the same theme of understated elegance and absolute luxury continues with standard comfort customised contour seats in sport look. These feature wide ranging power adjustment, pneumatically adjustable side bolsters and separate three-stage heating for each seat. In addition, ventilation and massage functions are available.
Customers can choose between the top leather grades Valcona and Unikat, while the rear seats also offer numerous features for outstanding comfort and provide for a first-class atmosphere in the Audi S8.
Inside the operating system is fully digital, with allowing the driver to control nearly all functions via two large displays or using natural speech control. In addition, Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice assistant, is also available as an option. All driving-relevant displays appear in the Audi virtual cockpit, which can be switched between two views which both have S-specific red graphical details. The optional head-up display can display important information on the windscreen.
MMI navigation plus serves as the infotainment and media centre in the new S8 and includes numerous car-to-X services that draw on the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet. Traffic light information is a new feature (available in selected European cities) that allows the S8 to receive information from the central traffic light computer, enabling the driver to select a speed to match the next green-light phase or the remaining time until the next green-light phase if the driver is already waiting at a red light. Online traffic sign information, hazard alerts and on‑street parking also form part of car-to-X services.
MMI navigation plus serves as the infotainment and media centre in the new S8 and includes numerous car-to-X services that draw on the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet
Cutting-edge technology, coupled with high-performance and luxury again place the S8 squarely at the top of the list for those with a penchant for the finer things in life and a taste for excitement
In addition, the myAudi app connects the car to the customer’s smartphone so that they can easily send destinations to the car from inside their home, whileAudi smartphone interface wirelessly brings Android Auto and Apple Car Play on board. High-end components such as the Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System and the Audi phone box round out the infotainment lineup in the new S8.
The new S8 also boasts a host of luxury and advanced automotive technology that although not visible, is constantly monitoring the situation and ready to act as required. Operated by the zFAS central driver assistance controller, the vehicle’s surroundings are constantly monitored through up to five radar sensors, six cameras, 12 ultrasound sensors and a laser scanner.
The 38 driver assistance systems in the S8 are divided into the City and Tour packages. Adaptive cruise assist stands out among the comprehensive range of assist systems, combining the functions of adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist and lane tracking. In combination with predictive efficiency assist, it brakes and accelerates the Audi S8 in anticipation of the conditions ahead. In the City assist package, Audi pre sense side joins the systems pre sense front and pre sense rear to create Audi pre sense 360°. If the system detects an impending side impact, it can operate together with the predictive active suspension to instantly raise the body by as much as 80 millimetres, literally lifting the car to a better position to absorb the impact and lesson the impact on the occupants.
Absolutely cutting-edge technology, coupled with high-performance and luxury again place the S8 squarely at the top of the list for those with a penchant for the finer things in life and a taste for excitement.
Final specification and equipment will be announced ahead of the S8’s Australian arrival in the second half of 2020.
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