There’s no absence of horsepower in the world, ladies and gentlemen, and the 2020 Audi S8 is here to make sure things stay that way. Forget about the turbocharged V6 in the 2019 A8, because this big sedan has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 571 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Yeah, we’ll say that’s plenty.
Audi combines the massively powerful V8 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to slightly improve efficiency, not that many S8 buyers will care about fuel economy. Top speed is an electronically-limited 155.3 mph, and flaps in the exhaust automatically open when you ask for heavy acceleration.
You get the active suspension, four-wheel steering and a sport differential with the S8. That suspension does all sorts of exotic things like lift or push down each wheel independently when encountering rough roads, and will even lift the vehicle up 2 inches on entry/exit to make it easier. Folks do seem to love the easy entry/exit of taller crossovers, so this looks like a smart move. Additionally, there’s a new “Comfort +” mode that physically reduces the feeling of lateral acceleration by leaning the body into the curve by as much as 3 degrees. The air suspension on the Mercedes GLE performs a similar trick. Taking the performance bit seriously, Audi fitted 10-piston front brake calipers to the S8, and carbon ceramic brakes are also optional, reducing weight by 21.2 pounds over the cast iron discs. Another vehicle that has 10-piston front calipers? The Lamborghini Urus.
Audi makes the S8 stand out from the normal A8 in a few ways. The lower front bumper has some more sculpting and additional flare to it. Different mirrors are used, the side sills are more aggressive, and there are visible exhaust tips out back. We can’t see under the rear now, but Audi has had a habit of implementing fake exhaust tips out back. These quad tips look legit in the initial photos provided, hopefully providing a satisfying soundtrack.
As of today, there is no official launch date and no price assigned to the new Audi S8. A base A8 will run you $84,795, so expect something far north of that for the extra performance. No 0-60 mph time was given, but expect it to be significantly quicker than the 5.7-second 0-62 mph time of the A8 we drove before. Also, the S8 offered here will be the same length as the A8L, which is the only A8 configuration available in the U.S.