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Audi plants 420kW V8 in new S8

Performance first for new A8 flagship which retains twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8

3 Jul 2019

AUDI has stuck with a V8 engine in the new generation of its flagship S8 sedan, albeit with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance to cut fuel consumption a tad.
Belting out 420kW of power and 800Nm of torque, the 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 makes the S8 the most powerful production Audi apart from the new 456kW R8 V10 Performance quattro supercar that is destined to land in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year.
The S8 will sit atop the fourth-generation A8 line-up that arrived in Australia in six-cylinder petrol and diesel versions a year ago, taking the range to five variants when it arrives in local showrooms on a date to be announced.
The United Kingdom and North America will get only the long-wheelbase version from the last quarter of this year, providing a hint at what might be in store for Australia.
Subtle body enhancements such as 21-inch alloy wheels, S-specific details in the bumpers, side sills and mirrors; and big-bore twin exhaust pipes set the S8 apart from the standard A8.
The biggest changes are under the skin where advances such as predictive active suspension are expected to take the S8 to a new level in ride and handling. This wheel-specific system employs electro-mechanical actuators and air dampers to push down or lift each wheel individually to balance the car and ride bumps.
This delivers sporty performance while maintaining a plush ride.
A camera in the front of the car can pick out potholes and other road irregularities to set the suspension accordingly.
Audi says body roll is halved from 5.0 degrees to 2.5 degrees during fast cornering when “dynamic” mode – one of five driving modes – is selected.
It will even tilt the car by up to three degrees in the corners to help occupants cope better with lateral forces.
The suspension even works while standing still, jacking up the car by 50mm to aid entry and exit by passengers when the doorhandle is activated.
Rear-wheel steering helps the car to turn into corners crisply, while a rear sports differential in the quattro all-wheel-drive system aids traction out of corners.
Performance figures are yet to be disclosed, but you can expect the new model to best the previous generation’s zero-to-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds.
A 48-volt belt-driven starter motor-alternator fires up the engine for stop-start driving, helping to cut fuel consumption by 0.8 litres per 100km. Cylinder deactivation technology also helps to improve consumption when cruising.
Like all good muscle cars, the new S8 has an exhaust system flap to turn up the decibels under acceleration.
LED matrix headlights are standard up front. These can be upgrades to high-definition LEDS, along with OLED taillights.
Inside, sports seats cloaked in leather are standard. These feature pneumatic side bolsters and three-stage heating.
No fewer than 38 driver assistance systems are offered in two packages – City and Tour. The Tour package is likely to be standard for Australia, delivering adaptive cruise assist, which combines adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist and lane tracking, acting predictively in anticipation of the conditions ahead by drawing on “swarm intelligence” from the Audi fleet.
Like other modern Audis, instrumentation is fully digital, but connectivity functions can be controlled with Amazon’s voice-activated Alexa system.
Sat-nav destinations can be sent to the car from the MyAudi smartphone app.
So far this year, sales of the A8 have risen 43 per cent, to 20 units, but the biggest Audi still trails its main German rivals, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (93), BMW 7 Series (75) and Porsche Panamera (31).

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