Nearly two years ago, Audi revealed the current-generation A8 sedan featuring an all-new design together with autonomous driving tech. Now, the German automaker has introduced the flagship sedan's more powerful sibling – the S8. Unlike other new S-models, however, the S8 will not be diesel powered. Instead, it will continue to use a powerful twin-turbo V8 engine. It also comes with new tech to make the long saloon car handle better.
Based on the fourth-generation A8, the 2020 S8 is aesthetically similar to that of the A8 except for a few minor changes here and there, making it a subtle performance sedan. Aside from the larger 5-spoke wheels, upgraded brakes and 'S' badging on the front and rear, the biggest change on the S8 would be the set of quad exhaust tips at the rear. Up front, the not-so-obvious change would be the redesigned corner air intakes, which still look similar to that of the standard A8.
Under the hood, the S8 trades the six-cylinder of the standard A8 for a 4.0-liter twin-turbo gasoline V8 which generates 563 horsepower and 800 Nm of torque. Power is then sent to Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system via an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. Aside from a powerful engine, the 2020 S8 also incorporates mild-hybrid technology featuring a 48V system which is said to help improve both efficiency and performance.
In order to make the S8 more agile, it comes standard with the automaker's torque vectoring sports differential, rear-wheel steering, and a revised version of the A8's predictive air suspension. The predictive suspension works by raising and lowering each wheel individually to control movement and counter body roll. It even comes with a camera which can detect potholes and adjust the suspension accordingly. Meanwhile, optional carbon ceramic brakes help bring the large performance sedan to a halt.
Inside, it's mostly the same story as the A8. The dashboard has been carried over but uses a carbon fiber upper inlay to give it a sportier appeal and 3D design. Matte aluminum trim, diamond stitching, and S embroidery complete the interior makeover. Similar to the A8, it has a plethora of digital screens both in front of the driver and on the center stack.
For those living in Europe, Audi will be offering only the standard S8. Meanwhile, those in the US will be getting the long-wheelbase S8L model.