If we’re being fully honest, we haven’t been too trilled with Audi’s newest ‘S’ models. For instance, the new Audi S6/S7 replaced their predecessors’ thrilling twin-turbo V8s with diesel V6s. No offense, Audi, but that’s sort of lame. However, the four-ringed brand has redeemed itself a bit with the all-new, 2020 Audi S8, as it still packs V8 firepower.
This all-new Audi S8 is no efficient diesel. Oh no. With a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 under its hood, the new S8 makes a very impressive 563 hp and a whopping 590 lb-ft of torque. There isn’t a quoted 0-60 mph time at the moment but, in reality, does it really matter? It’s going to feel like a rocket.
Don’t just think it’s an old internal-combustion dinosaur, though. Despite being a big, burly V8, it’s actually quite modern and high-tech. Thanks to its 48-volt electrics and Belt-Alternator Starter (BAS), it’s a surprisingly efficient and modern V8. That BAS effectively acts as an electric motor that can power the engine’s crankshaft, thus enabling the S8 to shut its engine down while coasting and let the BAS send enough power to the wheels to keep it moving. That combined with intelligent cylinder deactivation while at highway speed and the twin-turbo V8 is able to make the Audi S8 quite the efficient super sedan.
Like the standard A8, the new Audi S8 comes with the brand’s predictive active suspension but it’s as-standard on the S8. It scans the road ahead for bumps and potholes in the road and then uses the adaptive air suspension combined with electromechanical actuators to adjust to the bumps ahead of time. Also, those electromechanical actuators adjust the suspension without disturbing the body, so the passengers won’t feel a thing. Just smooth, effortless, uninterrupted luxury.
It also gains a new Drive Select setting: Comfort+. This is designed to be extra soft and squishy but, unlike other luxury automakers and their uber-comfortable modes, the Audi S8 uses performance tech to actually make the ride more comfortable. Typically, with extra soft suspension settings, the body will pitch and heave too much in corners, which can be a bit nauseating, especially from the back seat. So the S8 uses its trick suspension to actually prop the inside of the body up in corners by up to three degrees, to keep the body as flat as possible.
That’s usually a performance tech but it’s used to make the car more comfortable. Though, the S8 does actually use the same tech for increased performance and handling. As the car pushes those inside wheels down, thus propping the inside of the body up, through corners, it helps to increase grip and reduce understeer. It also gets all-wheel steering and a limited-slip rear differential to increase handling dynamics and reduce understeer.
Like all good Audi ‘S’ cars, the Audi S8 is beautifully understated. After seeing some of the wild-looking luxury car designs on the market, such as the mammoth-grilled BMW 7 Series, the Audi S8 is refreshingly elegant. Don’t think it’s boring, though. Its classic silver accents, trim and mirror caps all give it a sportier looking, along with its slightly more aggressive lower front fascia and quad exhaust pipes.
Inside the Audi S8, it’s similar to that of the A8 just with some sportier touches. For instance, it gets a new “Carbon Vector” upper interior trim with a “Special 3D Depth” effect. It also gets sportier looking seats and some ‘S’ badges. Aside from that, it’s pretty much A8 as usual inside but that’s no bad thing. It’s lovely.
The Audi S8 will be available in standard wheelbase (seen in these photos) or long-wheelbase variants but the North American S8 will only be a long-wheelbase model.
We can’t wait to drive the Audi S8, now that we know it’s packing a proper engine. We were getting a bit worried about Audi’s plans for ‘S’ model cars, due to all the diesels. The Audi S8, though, is the real deal and we can’t wait to put all of its 563 horses to the test.