2011 Audi S8 – Click above for high-res image gallery

When the Audi S8 was nixed from the automaker's lineup late last year, the news produced a collective sigh around Autoblog Towers. Audi's largest, most powerful sedan held a special place in our hearts, but redemption appears to be right around corner – the Nürburgring's Carousel, to be exact.

With the introduction of the standard A8 in the rearview mirror, Audi has begun work on the S-ified variant of its stately saloon, and like the RS6, it's rumored to be powered by a Lamborghini Gallardo-derived V10, with a duo of turbochargers hanging from the exhaust manifolds.

The output of the next S8 will jump from the outgoing model's 444 horsepower to somewhere north of 600 hp, with torque boosted from around 400 pound-feet to upwards of 550 lb-ft of twist.

Although these spy shots don't provide a clear glimpse of the stylistic upgrades, expect a more chiseled front fascia, lower ride height and modified rear diffuser. Quad tailpipes hint at the 5.2-liter twin-turbo beast within, while massive stoppers are expected to be framed by 20- or 21-inch wheels.

We're expecting the S8 to make its debut sometime later this year or early in 2011, with sales beginning in the middle of next year.

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