Supercar pace and archetypal Audi A8 luxury converge in the Audi S8 plus, a new evolution of the already formidable S8 performance saloon developed using the combined expertise of Audi and its specialist high performance division quattro GmbH. Ramping up power from the 520PS offered by the ‘standard’ S8 to an intoxicating 605PS, the S8 plus is also capable of producing up to 750Nm of torque on demand – the highest output of any Audi in the current model range. It will open for ordering in October, priced from £97,700 OTR, and first UK deliveries are expected to commence in January 2016.
Encased by the lightweight, predominantly aluminium Audi Space Frame, which in isolation weighs just 231kg, is a modified version of the 4.0 TFSI engine already used to power the current 520PS S8. This sonorous V8 biturbo unit has been extensively modified and gains special engine management control with speed and charge pressure boosting to its modified exhaust valves. The inner geometry of the turbocharger has also been optimised for efficiency.
An overboost function facilitates the maximum torque elevation from 700Nm (516.3 lb-ft) to a muscular 750Nm (553.2 lb-ft) when required. As a result, a mere 3.8 seconds is all it takes for the stately super saloon to blast past 62 mph, after which it swiftly pulls towards an electronically limited 155mph top speed. Upon choosing the optional dynamic package, top speed increases to 189mph, and fade-resistant carbon-fibre reinforced ceramic brakes are added, featuring brake calipers finished in anthracite-grey with the Audi ceramic logo.
The full force of this prodigious output is transmitted to the road via an eight-speed tiptronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. A sports differential apportions the torque between the rear wheels for optimum directional stability. Chassis highlights include the S sports adaptive air suspension and dynamic steering, both of which have been tuned specifically for the S8 plus. UK specification models are fitted with 21-inch alloy wheels in a unique high-gloss black double-spoke design shod with specially designed size 275/35 tyres.
The standard dual-branch sports exhaust system opens out into two oval high-gloss black tailpipes on the left and right. It is modified by quattro GmbH and gives the S8 plus an unmistakabe V8 sound.
Carbon fibre is also used on the flaps in the side air inlets and the blade on the front apron. The rear diffuser, Singleframe front grille, air inlets and window trims form part of the black styling package, as do the mirror housings. Distinctive design characteristics of the S8 plus also include darkened tail lights and a rear lip spoiler in body colour. As an option, the mirror housings and rear spoiler can also be specified in carbon fibre.
Subtle S8 logos adorn the front and rear with V8 T badges on the front wings. A matt-effect paint finish in floret silver is exclusively available on the S8 plus. All of the colours offered on the S8 are also offered for the S8 plus.
Matrix LED headlights are standard, complemented by dynamic turn signals front and rear. These state-of-the-art lights use mapping data from the MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch and other sensors to individually dim or illuminate the 25 small, individual LEDs as needed. They project an extremely broad pool of light without causing glare to oncoming traffic.
Inside, the S sports comfort sport seats with 22-way adjustability and memory function can be exclusively upholstered in black full-leather with contrasting stitching and piping in Arras red as an option, along with the headlining and rear parcel shelf in black Alcantara.
A contrasting red thread woven into the upper inlay can also be specified in favour of the carbon atlas inlays fitted as standard. Black piano paint trims the gear selector lever of the tiptronic and the centre console. Characteristic of the interior of the S models are the round instruments with grey dials and white needles and the stainless steel pedals.
Like the more familiar S8 the new plus model is built exclusively on the ‘standard’ wheelbase. It offers extensive standard features over and above its 520PS counterpart’s already exhaustive list. In addition to highlights like the power-operated hands-free boot lid, advanced key, 14-speaker BOSE surround system and advanced parking system with top view camera, the plus version gains privacy glass, power door closure and adaptive cruise control with Audi pre-sense front.
2016 Audi A8 plus