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Frankfurt show: Audi slams down four new S models

Wicked wagon: New Audi S6 Avant packs a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 with 309kW.

Next S6, S7 and S8 models revealed ahead of Audi’s bumper Frankfurt exhibit

Audi logo31 Aug 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

UNDERLINING the embarrassment of niche model riches it now has to offer, Audi will resort to unveiling not one but four new S-badged performance models at this month’s Frankfurt motor show.

Headlined by a cracking new twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol V8 that was co-developed with Bentley, Audi’s S-car assault will include the new S6 sedan and wagon, new S8 super-limousine and all-new S7 Sportback.

All four all-wheel drive models are a little over 12 months away from Australian showrooms, with an official ETA in the fourth quarter of 2012, following a global launch in the second quarter.

Top-billing in terms of both price and performance will be the redesigned S8, which will replace the previous-generation S8 that was last sold here at $264,100 and powered by a naturally aspirated 331kW 5.2-litre V10.

While Audi will also debut its all-new A8 Hybrid and pint-size Urban Concept at Frankfurt, the new S8 will top the redesigned A8 flagship sedan range that arrived here first with 4.2-litre V8 petrol power in August 2010, before 3.0-litre V6 and (twin-turbo) 4.2-litre V8 diesel models were added in February.

The top-shelf S-tuned A8 packs an astonishing 382kW/650Nm version of the VW group’s new 4.0 TFSI engine, which in the 1975kg S8 – with reworked Torsen torque-sensing all-wheel drive system featuring a self-locking centre differential and torque vectoring - delivers claimed 0-100km/h acceleration in just 4.2 seconds (down from 5.1 seconds).

Despite the extra 51kW of peak power, Audi has restricted the new S8’s average fuel consumption to 10.2L/100km – a 23 per cent improvement over the previous model, thanks in part to idle-stop and regenerative braking systems, a variable-displacement system that deactivates four of the engine’s eight cylinders on part-throttle loads, and a uniquely adapted eight-speed automatic transmission.

The new A8 chassis also gains specially tuned adaptive air suspension, massive 20x9.0-inch alloy wheels and the option of carbon-ceramic brake discs, while standard equipment will include LED headlights, massaging leather seats, double glazing and a 19-speaker 1400-Watt Bang & Olufsen 'Advanced Sound System'.

Still inside, an eight-inch high-definition display integrates the MMI Navigation Plus system, Bluetooth internet connectivity and 360-degree four-camera parking program with top-down view.

7 center imageLeft: Audi S7 Sportback. Below: S8.

Also new to the S8 will be an active noise cancellation (ANC) system, which analyses what Audi describes as “intrusive elements” using four headlining-mounted microphones that constantly record cabin noise levels. When required, an “anti-phase” sound is played through the speakers to cancels them out.

Along with cylinder shutdown technology, ANC will also be standard in both new S6 models and the all-new S7, which will join 3.0-litre V6 petrol and diesel versions of the A7 Sportback launched here in March.

Instead of the S8’s eight-speed torque-converter auto, however, the lower-output (309kW/550Nm – the latter from just 1400rpm to 5300rpm) twin-turbo V8 in the new S6 and S7 will be matched with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

That means the new S6 sedan and S6 Avant – which is also expected to join the new-generation A6 sedan launched here in July, despite the fact the garden-variety A6 wagon is not yet available in Australia – will be 11kW less powerful than the 520kW 5.2-litre V10-powered S6 it replaces.

However, peak torque is up 10Nm from 540Nm and is now developed 1600rpm lower in the rev range, while the seven-speed S-tronic auto replaces the six-speed auto in the old S6.

Representing a formidable rival for BMW’s all-new M5 and Mercedes’ upcoming E63 AMG upgrade, the new S6 sedan is claimed to accelerate to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds (Avant: 4.9 seconds), while reducing fuel consumption by 25 per cent – to 9.7L/100km in S6 and 9.8L/100km in S6 Avant.

Both S6s ride on 19x8.5-inch alloys with 255/40 series rubber, but 20-inch wheels will be option for both models, along with a sports differential for the quattro AWD system, carbon-ceramic brakes and adaptive air suspension featuring variable dampers and a 10mm lower ride height.

Naturally, all four new S models will come with a sports bodykit including specific grille and bumper treatments, plus an upgraded interior - in this case comprising a leather sports steering wheel with coloured stitching, aluminium paddle shifts, illuminated door sills and aluminium-look pedals.

All high-end A6 options will also be available in the new S6, while decorative inlays will be offered in a choice of four materials alongside three complementing upholstery styles.

Finally, the inaugural S7 five-door employs the same 4.0 TSFI engine to blast to 100km/h in a claimed 4.9 seconds while consuming 9.7L/100km, thanks to the same fuel-saving technologies fitted across the latest S models.

Adaptive air suspension and Audi's direct select dynamics system will be standard in the S7 Sportback, which rides on 19-inch alloys and will also come with Xenon Plus headlights, LED daytime running lamps and a colour driver information display.

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