You’ve seen Ronin, right? The 1997 film featuring Robert De Niro and Jean Reno trying to out-cool each other for two hours? You remember the scene where they use an Audi S8 (described by Skip Sudduth’s driver as “something I can hustle…”) on a high speed car chase in the Alps? Well, Audi has just seriously updated the S8, and it’s now boasting the sort of power than could make a car chase irrelevant – nothing could beat this.
How so? Well, it’s using the 4.0-litre TFSI V8 turbo, also seen in the RS6 and Bentley Continental GT, to rather good effect. Like McLaren-F1-matching effect. Like 605hp effect. And 750Nm of torque effect.
Audi claims it will get from 0-62mph in 3.8secs and on to a top speed approaching 200mph, 189.5mph to be Germanically precise. “We have further sharpened our large sport sedan,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi. “The new Audi S8 plus has a substantial gain in power and defines the pinnacle of sporty performance in the segment. That is why ‘plus’ appears in its name.”
Part of the performance comes from the A8’s lightweight aluminum space frame chassis, which Audi says weighs just 231kg before you start hanging engines and interiors on it.
The 4.0 V8 engine, which Audi says is ‘sonorous’ (we think that means chuffing loud) actually develops peak torque of 700Nm, but can find an extra 50hp in ‘overboost’ mode. Oh, and that eye-catching top speed actually needs an optional de-limiter function – normally, it’s held back at 155mph like all good German fast saloons. The engine’s basically the same as it is in the RS6, but with tweaked engine management and a modified turbo to unleash the extra horses. Fuel consumption seems surprisingly gentle, with a claimed 25mpg available, as well as emissions pegged to around 225g/km, depending on the wheels and tyres you use.
There’s also carbon-ceramic brakes and a sports exhaust. On the outside, you can tell the S8 from its tiny carbon fibre boot lip spoiler, plus some other carbon aero add-ons and the gloss-black honeycomb grille and dark-lens taillights.
Inside, the cabin is swathed in Alcantara and leather, with contrasting red stitching for the black seats.
Needless to say, it has quattro four wheel drive, and an eight-speed auto gearbox. As standard, the S8 rides on specially-designed 21” wheels with 275/35 tyres. It goes on sale late this year after a public debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month. In Germany, the base price is €145,000. Don’t expect much change from 85,000 for a basic one here.