Audi revealed its 2007 S8 high-performance luxury sedan yesterday in Tokyo and managed to surprise the press with the announcement of a 5.2L V10 sourced from the Lamborghini Gallardo under the car's long hood. The V10 produces 450 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, which as some in the press immediately noticed is less power than A8 L's 6.0L W12 engine. The A8 L is even quoted as being a tenth of a second quicker to 60 mph than the new S8 (5.1 vs 5.0 seconds). Why then would you opt for the S8? For all the S-spec bits and pieces, of course, which include a sportier version of Audi's adaptive air suspension, 20-inch wheels, larger discs and optional ceramic rotors, not to mention the V10 weighs nearly 450 lbs. less than the W12.
Bunch o' pics and full press release after the jump.
THE LUXURY-CLASS SPORTS MODEL: AUDI S8
TOKYO - Distinct sports appeal and supreme comfort - these are the two defining characteristics of the Audi A8. At
the time of its market launch three years ago, this large saloon shot straight to the top of the luxury segment thanks
to its dynamic qualities. The brand with the four-ring emblem is now unveiling a sporty top model of the very highest
caliber in the luxury segment: the new Audi S8. It will be appearing on the market in the mid of 2006, with a price tag
of EUR 97,600.
The Audi S8 is equipped with a new V10 engine that capitalizes on the expertise of the super sports car Lamborghini
Gallardo. The 10-cylinder power unit develops 450 bhp of power and 540 Nm of torque from a swept volume of 5.2 litres.
The torque value is achieved at as low an engine speed as 3,500 rpm. As on the Le Mans winning R8, the most successful
racing car in the world, FSI petrol direct injection assures superior power output in the Audi S8. This luxury saloon
sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds, and is electronically governed at 250 km/h.
The driveline and chassis of the S8 have been modified to reflect the engine's power. A quattro drivetrain of the
latest generation with asymmetric/dynamic torque distribution diverts the engine's power to all four wheels. The firmer
settings of the adaptive air suspension sport and modifications to the steering ensure that the power and dynamism of
the drivetrain are translated with precision into locomotion.
The design of the new S8 completes the picture - the sporty top model also has the looks of the most athletic luxury
saloon car. There is an atmosphere of luxurious elegance inside the car. Its lavish equipment lends the Audi S8 a
pre-eminent status within the competitive field.
New V10 with FSI technology adopted from the world of motor racing
In outfitting the S8 with the V10, Audi is introducing an engine technology that has long been demonstrating its
performance potential in the world of Formula 1 racing. The Italian super sports car brand Lamborghini, a subsidiary of
Audi, likewise regards the ten-cylinder engine as synonymous with dynamic power. This engine concept has a much more
sporty emphasis than a comparable twelve-cylinder power unit. Ten-cylinder engines are more compact and lighter; thanks
to the smaller number of components, they have lower moving masses and less internal friction.
The 450 bhp V10 is the second generation of Audi V-engines, all with a 90-degree included angle and a spacing of 90
millimetres between cylinder centres. Key areas of the Audi version have been reengineered compared with the engine in
the Lamborghini Gallardo. The bore has been increased from 82.5 to 84.5 mm; the stroke is 92.8 mm and the displacement
5204 cm3. A so-called bedplate structure - an intermediate frame - reinforces the extremely compact crankcase, which is
made from cast aluminium.
With its crankpin offset of 18 degrees, the V10 fires at the ideal spacing of 72 degrees crankshaft angle. A balancing
shaft located within the "vee" eliminates the so-called free inertial forces of the first degree and also contributes
towards the engine's notable refinement. All four camshafts can be adjusted continuously by 42 degrees crankshaft
angle, depending on load and engine speed, to optimise filling of the combustion chambers and thus enhance the power
output. They are driven by no-maintenance chains and actuate the 40 valves via roller cam followers.
The V10 in the new Audi S8 uses FSI petrol direct injection. This permits a high compression ratio of 12.5:1 and a
correspondingly more effective combustion process based on a lambda value of 1. The common rail injection system
delivers the fuel directly to the combustion chambers in precisely metered amounts, at a pressure of up to 100
The two-stage magnesium variable intake manifold incorporates electronically controlled tumble flaps that induce a
swirling movement in the air drawn in. Four close-coupled main catalytic converters take charge of exhaust emission
control for the V10 of the Audi S8. FSI technology has impressively demonstrated its potential in motor sport - the R8
racing car equipped with it participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours on five occasions for Audi, winning the race on four
of those occasions.
The powerful ten-cylinder engine is designed for impressive torque as well as engine power. It generates 450 bhp at
7,000 rpm, but musters up 540 Nm of torque at just 3,500 rpm. 90 percent of the torque is available from as low as
2,300 rpm. The V10 exhibits spontaneous throttle response and very refined running, and under load it also produces
sonorous acoustics, as befits a dynamic car.
The V10 imparts the luxury saloon with the road performance of a high-calibre sports car. The Audi S8 races from 0 to
100 km/h in 5.1 seconds. The speed is not governed electronically until the needle reaches 250 km/h. The engine shows a
distinctly modest thirst, needing only 13.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres - a figure achieved partly thanks to the
consistent use of lightweight design, which clearly sets the A8 range apart from its competitors. With its innovative
aluminium body, the Audi Space Frame ASF, the S8 weighs just 1940 kilograms, including the dynamic, sure-footed quattro
drive. On the new Audi S8, every horsepower has to propel just 4.31 kilograms - the power-to-weight ratio of a sports
Even more dynamism
Typically for an Audi, the new S8 likewise focuses on quattro permanent four-wheel drive. As a result it produces
superior traction in all surface conditions.
25 years of expertise acquired in this domain by the brand with the four-ring emblem have led to the development of a
new quattro generation with asymmetric/dynamic torque distribution - further evidence of Audi's philosophy of
"Vorsprung durch Technik".
A centre differential, installed longitudinally in the driveline, distributes power between the front and rear wheels
according to the prevailing situation. Normally, 40 percent is routed to the front wheels and 60 percent to the rear,
this slight emphasis on the rear underlining the dynamic character of the Audi S8. If the surface conditions change,
the purely mechanical differential responds without any delay; it can divert up to 85 percent of power to the rear
wheels, and as much as 65 percent to the front wheels. If a wheel on one axle spins, it moreover overrides the
Electronic Differential Lock EDL by applying the brakes.
The new S8 is equipped with six-speed tiptronic as standard. In keeping with the character of this saloon model, the
final ratio of the automatic transmission is lower than on the A8 - the saloon is still capable of forceful
acceleration even in sixth gear. The electronic transmission control is optimised to change gear more dynamically. The
driver can call up the transmission's Sport mode via the selector lever - it still performs upshifts even at relatively
high engine speeds. It is in addition possible to change gear manually with the shift paddles located behind the
For Audi, lightweight design is a philosophy that has implications for every area of a vehicle. The V10 in the Audi S8
weighs in at a mere 220 kilograms, in other words 20 kg less than an equivalent competitor engine. Good axle load
distribution and impressive road behaviour are the result. For the same reason, the batteries and the energy management
are housed in the luggage compartment.
Built for serene speed
The basic version of the Audi A8, adaptive air suspension, already possesses distinctly sporty attributes thanks to its
elaborate layout. The control arms are made from aluminum; the front suspension consists of a four-link structure, and
there is self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension. Various details of this layout were revised on the S8.
The basis is "adaptive air suspension sport", the sports suspension layout that is available for the A8 as an option.
On the S8, the characteristics of the air springs and the shock absorbers integrated into the air-spring bellows have
been made somewhat firmer. With a further reduction in rolling and pitching movements, the sporty top model behaves
with even greater agility and maneuverability, but is as stable and safe as ever. The elastokinematics of the rubber
mounts in the axles have likewise been modified in keeping with the character of the S8. The variable steering ratio is
roughly ten percent more direct, for even more spontaneous handling.
Drawing information from seven special sensors and a number of other parameters, the damping responds adaptively to the
prevailing requirements in a fraction of a second. Its control system features four driving modes - automatic, comfort,
dynamic and lift - which the driver can call up via the terminal of the MMI operating system. The body's ride height is
as envisaged in conjunction with adaptive air suspension sport, which is already 20 mm lower than standard. On the S8,
ground clearance is varied in three stages between 125 mm in the comfort mode and 95 mm at constant high motorway
The Audi S8 is equipped ex works with S-design cast alloy wheels. Their dimension is 9J x 20, and the wide tires are
size 265/35. An 18-inch brake system assures a superlative braking performance. It features four large-size ventilated
brake discs. The brake calipers are painted black, and adorned with a titanium gray S8 badge at the front. The discs on
the front wheels measure 385 millimeters in diameter, and 335 mm at the rear.
The optional ceramic brakes that also became available for the twelve-cylinder A8 in summer 2005 are a further special
feature of the S8. They are made from a composite material comprising high-strength carbon fibers embedded in hard,
frictionally resistant silicon carbide. The ceramic discs offer significant advantages compared with conventional steel
discs. They are about half the weight, are largely insusceptible to heat fading and corrosion, and achieve an operating
distance of up to 300,000 kilometers - four times that of steel discs. Optically, the high-tech brake system can be
identified by the special perforation on the large-size discs and the anthracite-colored calipers with the "Audi
Discreet sports style
The models in Audi's S range have always epitomized refined sports appeal. The same applies to the S8 - it lends the
design of the A8 a dynamic edge. This representative saloon is already inherently light and elegant in character - its
aesthetic appeal reflects its exceptional position as a sports model in the luxury class.
The S8, too, is supremely athletic yet never aggressive in outlook. The most striking differences are to be found at
its front end. The eye-catching single-frame grille displaying the S8 emblem is in platinum gray, and its vertical
struts have a chrome finish. Beneath the grille, there are three low air inlets cut into the front apron. The two large
air inlets beneath the headlights are filled with honeycomb grilles.
Down the sides, in addition to the 20-inch wheels and the special brakes, three details hint at the potential of the
V10 engine: emblems on the wheel arches, door handles with aluminum strips and the look-look exterior mirror housings.
At the rear, the S8 emblem, a spoiler integrated into the luggage compartment lid, a subtle light edge in the apron and
an exhaust system with four ellipsoidal tailpipes complete the range of optical modifications. The S8 is the only model
in the A8 range to be available in the exclusive color Daytona Grey, pearl effect.
Attention to detail
In common with the exterior, the interior design of the Audi A8 reflects a character of dynamic elegance and high
quality - from the supple flow of the driving area to the MMI user interface (Multi Media Interface), which remains
unequalled by any competitor thanks to its logical, intuitive operating principle.
The S8 adds various specific accents to this luxurious interior. This is the first time that bi-color seats with seams
in a contrasting color have been used as standard; their four color combinations emphasize the air of luxurious sports
appeal. The colors for the seat center sections differ from those for the side sections and head restraints. The
headlining is additionally available in the S models' signature color silver.
Further details of the interior distinguish the sporty top model from the A8. The door sill trims are adorned with S8
emblems, and the inlays are in brushed aluminum or alternatively carbon fiber. The three-spoke leather multifunction
sports steering wheel with the S emblem features contrasting-contrasting seams and look-look shift paddles. Leather and
aluminum are used on the selector lever knob. The needles on the instrument dials are in white, their scales in light
gray and their values in the characteristic S italic script.
quattro drive is one of the core areas of expertise of the brand with the four-ring emblem. It gives Audi drivers
decisively more safety by always assuring optimum traction. The asymmetric/dynamic torque split that is possible on the
new Audi S8 builds on this already significant advantage. The high-performance brake system, too, makes a substantial
contribution towards active safety. The S8 is equipped with a dynamic stability system that can be deactivated if
required. Its control strategy is tailored specifically to the dynamics of the S8.
In common with all other Audi A8 models, the S8 sporty top model comes complete with a package of restraint systems
that are perfectly matched to the highly rigid aluminum body. The package includes two front airbags, four side airbags
and large-area sideguard head airbags. All five three-point belts in the Audi S8 are fitted with belt tensioners.
Active head restraints for the front seats reduce the risk of whiplash injuries in the event of a rear-end
The innovative lighting technology adaptive light with LED daytime running lights is standard equipment on every Audi
S8. Here, the xenon plus headlights are equipped with static turning lights and dynamic cornering lights. The separate
LED daytime running lights, each of which consists of five white light-emitting diodes and consumes only a minimal
amount of energy, can be considered a pioneering invention.
Luxury with new accents
The Audi A8 is already a luxuriously equipped saloon. It features for instance deluxe automatic air conditioning, the
MMI operating system, the Driver Information System, the electromechanical parking brake complete with starting assist
function, air suspension, the exclusive audio system and the electrically adjustable front seats.
The Audi S8 extends this package with a whole array of other standard features. In addition to adaptive light
technology, the special 20-inch wheels and the 18-inch brake system, it incorporates further luxury features in the
version for the German market: advanced key, the keyless access and authorization system including starter button for
the V10, sound-insulating double glazing for the windows, heated front and rear seats, a navigation system with DVD
drive and a surround audio system with CD changer. The door armrest and the center console in the S8 are upholstered in
leather, together with the seats. The sports seats are equipped with lumbar supports and a memory function.
One particular highlight that is available as an option is the Advanced Sound System from Bang & Olufsen. The fully
digital system from the Danish high-end manufacturer integrates 14 speakers, each energized by its own output stage.
The output stages are grouped together in two amplifiers, which supply an output of 1100 Watts if required. The front
tweeters use what is known as Acoustic Lens Technology, and act as perfect punctiform sound sources. This sound system
represents the state of the art in audio reproduction adding special allure to the sporty, deluxe equipment of the Audi