Distinct sports appeal and supreme comfort ? these are the two defining characteristics of the Audi A8. At the time of its market launch three years ago, this large saloon shot straight to the top of the luxury segment thanks to its dynamic qualities. The brand with the four-ring emblem is now unveiling a sporty top model of the very highest caliber in the luxury segment: the new Audi S8.
New V10 with FSI Technology Adopted from the World of Motor Racing
In outfitting the S8 with the V10, Audi is introducing an engine technology that has long been demonstrating its performance potential in the world of Formula 1 racing. The Italian super sports car brand Lamborghini, a subsidiary of Audi, likewise regards the ten-cylinder engine as synonymous with dynamic power. This engine concept has a much more sporty emphasis than a comparable twelve-cylinder power unit. Ten-cylinder engines are more compact and lighter; thanks to the smaller number of components, they have lower moving masses and less internal friction.
The 450 bhp V10 is the second generation of Audi V-engines, all with a 90-degree included angle and a spacing of 90 millimetres between cylinder centres. Key areas of the Audi version have been reengineered compared with the engine in the Lamborghini Gallardo. The bore has been increased from 82.5 to 84.5 mm; the stroke is 92.8 mm and the displacement 317 cu in. A so-called bedplate structure ? an intermediate frame ? reinforces the extremely compact crankcase, which is made from cast aluminium.
The V10 in the new Audi S8 uses FSI petrol direct injection. This permits a high compression ratio of 12.5:1 and a correspondingly more effective combustion process based on a lambda value of 1. The common rail injection system delivers the fuel directly to the combustion chambers in precisely metered amounts, at a pressure of up to 100 bar.
The powerful ten-cylinder engine is designed for impressive torque as well as engine power. It generates 450 bhp at 7,000 rpm, but musters up 400 lb-ft of torque at just 3,500 rpm. 90 percent of the torque is available from as low as 2,300 rpm. The V10 exhibits spontaneous throttle response and very refined running, and under load it also produces sonorous acoustics, as befits a dynamic car.
Discreet Sports Style
The models in Audi's S range have always epitomised refined sports appeal. The same applies to the S8 ? it lends the design of the A8 a dynamic edge. This representative saloon is already inherently light and elegant in character ? its aesthetic appeal reflects its exceptional position as a sports model in the luxury class.
The S8, too, is supremely athletic yet never aggressive in outlook. The most striking differences are to be found at its front end. The eye-catching single-frame grille displaying the S8 emblem is in platinum grey, and its vertical struts have a chrome finish. Beneath the grille, there are three low air inlets cut into the front apron. The two large air inlets beneath the headlights are filled with honeycomb grilles.
Down the sides, in addition to the 20-inch wheels and the special brakes, three details hint at the potential of the V10 engine: emblems on the wheel arches, door handles with aluminium strips and the aluminium-look exterior mirror housings. At the rear, the S8 emblem, a spoiler integrated into the luggage compartment lid, a subtle light edge in the apron and an exhaust system with four ellipsoidal tailpipes complete the range of optical modifications. The S8 is the only model in the A8 range to be available in the exclusive colour Daytona Grey, pearl effect.
Interior: Attention to Detail
In common with the exterior, the interior design of the Audi A8 reflects a character of dynamic elegance and high quality ? from the supple flow of the driving area to the MMI user interface (Multi Media Interface), which remains unequalled by any competitor thanks to its logical, intuitive operating principle.
The S8 adds various specific accents to this luxurious interior. This is the first time that bi-colour seats with seams in a contrasting colour have been used as standard; their four colour combinations emphasise the air of luxurious sports appeal. The colours for the seat centre sections differ from those for the side sections and head restraints. The headlining is additionally available in the S models' signature colour silver.
Further details of the interior distinguish the sporty top model from the A8. The door sill trims are adorned with S8 emblems, and the inlays are in brushed aluminium or alternatively carbon fibre. The three-spoke leather multifunction sports steering wheel with the S emblem features colour-contrasting seams and aluminium-look shift paddles. Leather and aluminium are used on the selector lever knob. The needles on the instrument dials are in white, their scales in light grey and their values in the characteristic S italic script.
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