2020 Audi S8 debuts – 4.0L V8 TFSI, 571 PS & 800 Nm!07/03/2019
Nearly two full years after Audi unveiled the D5 Audi A8, the automaker has gone on to reveal the hotter S8 version, seen here painted in Navarra Blue. The big news here revolves around performance and tech, so let’s start with the former.
Under the bonnet rests a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 TFSI engine, producing 571 PS and 800 Nm of torque. Interestingly, Audi has yet to reveal the zero to 100 km/h sprint time, although we can expect it to be in the low fours. Top speed, on the other hand, is electronically limited to 250 km/h. Smoothness is the name of the game, so the eight cylinders get lined with iron to reduce friction. There’s also automatically actuated flaps in the exhaust system to deliver a distinctive exhaust sound.
Since all Audi A8 models are fitted with the automaker’s mild hybrid (MHEV) tech, the S8 is no exception to the rule. The MHEV tech comprises a 48-volt belt alternator starter (BAS) and is juiced by a lithium-ion battery. Together, they enable coasting with the engine switched off, and Audi claims that the mild-hybrid system helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 0.8 litres per 100 km in the real world.
Standard on the S8 is the predictive active suspension, which is said to “greatly reduce” pitch or roll during acceleration or braking. A front-facing camera reads the road surface ahead and primes the suspension for shock absorbing duties. The active suspension can also raise ride height by a staggering 50 mm when the door handle is actuated, making it more comfortable during entry and exit.
There’s also a new Comfort + mode to enhance ride quality – the car body leans into corners by as much as three degrees to reduce lateral forces acting on the passengers. In Dynamic mode, the maximum roll angle during fast cornering is roughly 2.5 degrees compared to five degrees with the standard suspension, making the drive feel more surefooted.
Also on is dynamic all-wheel steering, allowing independent steering angle adjustment for both the driven axles. There’s a sport differential to help brake the inner rear wheel of the S8 to reduce oversteer, and during an understeer situation, most of the power is directed to the outer front wheel.
Customers wanting more braking power can opt for the larger carbon-fibre ceramic discs, which comprises a 420 mm rotor up front and 370 mm unit for the rear axle. These are internally ventilated, and together with the 10-piston callipers, they save up to 9.6 kg compared to their cast iron counterpart.
Onto the design. The S8 gets the typical makeover that includes the twin exhaust exits, as well as satin aluminium exterior finishes to the air curtains and side mirror caps. Wheel sizes go up to 21-inch in diameter, and customers can choose from nine paint colours to go with the optional black styling package. HD matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light and OLED tail lights are available, too.
For the cabin, the S8 gets a special upper inlay made of Carbon Vector with special three-dimensional depth effect which wraps around the cabin. Below that is an inlay of dark, brushed matte aluminium for the extra sporty touch. The virtual cockpit and touchscreen infotainment display are carried over, albeit revised with S-specific graphics.
Comfort seats are standard (optional upholsteries include Valcona and Unikat hide), featuring adjustable side bolsters and heating, ventilation and massage functions. The sound system features active noise cancellation to further eliminate intrusive cabin noise.
In terms of safety, there’s a total of 38 driver assistance systems that are divided into the City and Tour packages. Such systems include adaptive cruise assist, traffic jam assist, lane tracking, and predictive efficiency assist.
The City assist package brings about Audi pre sense 360° (combines Audi pre sense front, side and rear) that operates together with the predictive active suspension to instantly raise the body by as much as 80 mm. This brings the sill into a better position to absorb the impact energy, thereby reducing potential injuries.
Processing all the driver assistance systems is a high-performance computer called the central driver assistance controller (zFAS). It continuously monitors the vehicle’s surroundings based on data provided by the sensors, which comprise of five radar sensors, six cameras, 12 ultrasound sensors and a laser scanner on board. It’s also capable of Level 3 autonomous driving, just like the regular A8.
In major markets such as China, USA, Canada and South Korea, the Audi S8 will be available for the first time and exclusively with an extended wheelbase. What do you think of the S8, folks?
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