With its S8, Audi offered the discerning customer a perfect synthesis of luxurious top-class atmosphere and superior power. In combination with unique technical features such as the all-aluminium Audi Space Frame (ASF), the quattro permanent four-wheel drive system, and the high-tech five-valve V8 engine with 265 kW (360 bhp) this makes Audi`s top-of-the-range model a leader in the field of automotive construction.
The five-valve Audi V8 engine with its displacement of 4.2 litres has been revised for maximum power, starting with optimised intake paths, a two-stage variable intake manifold, adapted timing for the hydraulic variable intake camshafts and low-friction roller cam followers for the valve gear
These detailed improvements and innovations add up to a rated power output of 265 kW (360 bhp) at 7000 rpm and an impressive maximum torque of 430 Newton-metres, available from just 3400 rpm. The exhaust system has been designed to provide the S 8 with a sound befitting its sporting character.
To transmit this power, S8 customers have the option of a manual 6-speed gearbox or the 5-speed tiptronic transmission with Dynamic Shift Program (DSP) and an additional manual shift plane. In an S8 equipped with 5-speed tiptronic transmission, the speed stages can also be operated at the rocker switches on the tiptronic leather sports steering wheel.
The four-piston fixed-caliper brake discs with four ventilated discs and aluminium calipers have also been upgraded to match the superior performance of the engine. The 8J x 18 "Avus" cast alloy wheels are fitted with 245/45 ZR 18 tyres.
The uprated sports suspension fitted as standard and the slightly lowered body (20 mm), are made entirely of aluminium, as is the alternative optional enhanced-comfort suspension.
As with all Audi`s S models, the S8 is available only with permanent four-wheel quattro drive. This offers the assurance of optimum traction and directional stability. On the Audi S8, a self-locking Torsen centre differential is used to distribute the power between the front and rear wheels as required. In extreme driving situations the electronic differential lock (EDL) uses precise brake intervention to provide a targeted force distribution to the wheels with the greatest degree of traction at any given moment.
All Audi S8s are fitted with the electronic stability program (ESP) as standard. ESP continually monitors the parameters critical for the maintenance of the car`s stability and intervenes automatically if there is any risk that it might skid. The ESP control unit calculates the momentary state of the vehicle from the wheel speeds and data supplied by the anti-lock brake system (ABS), the traction control system (ASR), and by sensors that detect the steering angle, yaw moment and lateral acceleration. Using this information it can then initiate any countermeasures deemed necessary.
ESP counteracts oversteer by selectively braking the front wheel on the outside of the bend, while in the case of understeer, it briefly brakes the rear wheel on the inside of the bend. The combination of permanent four-wheel drive and ESP makes the Audi S8 one of the safest cars on the market.
The Audi S8 combines an extremely high level of active safety with an equally high level of passive safety. This is because of the aluminium body, which features the Audi Space Frame (ASF). Naturally, the S8 also has a highly advanced safety system incorporating two front airbags and two side airbags integrated into the front and two into the rear seat backs, complemented by SIDEGUARD, Audi`s head-level airbag system.
This top-of-the-range model from Audi with its small emblems on the front and back and the tailpipes combined in an aluminium-look trim - is certainly recognisable, but it may take a second glance. The aluminium outside mirrors and the typical S8 radiator grille emphasise the model-specific look.
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