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Audi’s new range-topping super-saloon, complete with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine in place of the previous S8’s 5.0-litre V10. We’ve already had a brief go in a pre-production prototype, but this is the first chance we’ve had to put the finished car through its paces.
The script may be familiar from other S-branded Audis – serious power, in this case 512 bhp, blistering on-paper performance – the official 0-62mph time is just 4.2 seconds – and Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system to try and keep everything pointing in the right direction.
The 4.0-litre V8 uses two twin-scroll turbochargers mounted in the vee of the cylinder bank to improve responses, and combines its peak 512bhp with a very solid 479bhp of torque – with this peak available all the way from 1700rpm and 5500rpm. Drive is supplied via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, plus Audi’s new ‘sport differential’, intended to sharpen cornering response by vectoring torque to the outside rear wheel. The S8 rides on air springs, with all versions getting three-stage variable damping.