Away from its regular role as a commuter for diplomats and other dignitaries, Audi’s largest sedan has been given the change to venture into super sedan territory since 1994. Available in the United States since 1999, the Audi S8 became a high-powered extension of the Germany premium car brand’s biggest four-door. Success of the first generation model brought forth the second generation S8 in 2006 utilizing the Audi’s quattro drive amongst many performance tweaks for an all-out battle with BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG competitors.
With the base A8 receiving a modernization during the 2011 model year, Audi left observers waiting a year until presenting the third and latest generation of the S8 sedan. Worth the wait, the Audi S8 debuts at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show ahead of its upcoming release.
Designed on the refreshed lines of the Audi A8, the S8 sports sedan is shaped with an abundance of aluminum. The look of aluminum is accented within the Audi S8’s front grille, mirrors and along the vehicle’s bumper. Apart from the look of aluminum surfaces, the Audi S8 comes in 13 exterior colour tones including Daytona Gray and Prizm Silver (two colours not available on the A8 model). A diffuser insert is found on the backside of Audi S8 with twin oval exhaust pipes presented on the rear corners. The Audi S8 wears S-line exclusive 20-inch wheels as standard with an optional choice of 21-inch wheel and tire combination available. LED headlights and taillights are equipped on all Audi S8 models are standard.
Driver and passengers in the lavish sports sedan will appreciate the fine leather seating as well as the performance trim pieces including aluminum-look pedals. The Audi S8 is handsomely equipped with many of the A8 sedan’s optional items as well as some S model exclusive touches. A 360 degree parking camera, Audi’s MMI with navigation, adaptive cruise control and a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System are all standard S8 equipment.
The heart and soul of the newest Audi S8 is the return to a V-8 engine. Debuting with a 340 horsepower, 4.2 liter V-8 powerplant in the S8‘s first generation, the Audi sedan performance upgrade added a larger, more powerful engine the second generation. Competing in a German battle of high cylinder count with the previous generation BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz S63 rivals, the Audi S8 upgraded from a V-8 to a 5.2 liter V-10 powerplant in the 2006 model year. Propelled by 450 horsepower, the past V-10 variation of the Audi S8 delivered unhindered performance and fair fuel economy through FSI gasoline direct injection rated at almost 18 miles per gallon average by the auto company.
For the third-generation Audi S8, the newly developed V-8 engine features the highest horsepower-per-liter ratio of any incarnation of the German luxury car brand’s top four-door. A 520 horsepower engine using twin-turbochargers, the 4.0 TFSI powerplant of the Audi S8 engine accounts for 130 horsepower per single liter of engine displacement. Pounding out 70 horsepower more than its replacement engine, the 4.0 TFSI also delivers over 479 pounds-feet of torque through the A8’s quattro drivetrain. A high output engine combining the multiple turbochargers with gasoline direct injection for dynamite performance, the Audi S8’s 4.0 TFSI layout contributes to more efficient power creation. Cylinder deactivation and start-stop systems assure the new S8 muscular performance is available at just the right time. For the rest of the driving journey, the Audi S8 sedan accomplishes vastly improved fuel economy compared to its predecessor. Rated in consuming 23 percent less fuel than the 2010 model Audi S8, 4.0 TFSI V-8 engine of the latest S8 moves the 4,354-pound super sedan an average of 23 miles per gallon.
Channelling the 520 horsepower through an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, the Audi S8 supplies the driver with a sensation of sport driving while also respecting luxury car smoothness. The all-wheel drive quattro system is supported by two differentials including the added sport differential added to the rear axle of the S8 for ideal wheel movement. Calibrated specially for the S8, Audi has fitted their adaptive air suspension with variable tuning that can be driver adjusted to an ideal ride quality. When tapping into the performance zenith of the car, the Audi S8 acceleration provides a take-off from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited on the sedan at 155 miles per hour on the Audi S8 sedan.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Talking non-stop about hybrid power and even zero emission vehicles, premium automotive brand Audi painted a rich picture for electric propulsion in a future line-up. Promoting e-tron and even prepared to display a bold ultra light Urban Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the environmentally conscious luxury car fan has probably become unsettled that an electric-assist production car had yet to come to materialize.
Finally, the promise of the Audi A6 hybrid brought partially electric propulsion to German luxury car line. Introduced for Europe and recently announced for the United States, the Audi A6 hybrid is eagerly anticipated for what will be an expanding product selection of vehicles. Audi’s second production vehicle inflates not only the hybrid car portfolio but expands to the A8 flagship promising more than 36-mile per gallon driving.
Moving the big 2012 Audi A8 hybrid sedan is the same gasoline/electric powertrain combination being demonstrated on the newly released hybrid-equipped A6. Main power will be sourced from the 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder gasoline engine. Along producing 211 horsepower, the TFSI engine works in concert with a 40-kilowatt electric motor. A permanent magnet synchronous motor, the electric assist unit for the Audi A8 hybrid is packaged securely between the two-liter engine and the eight-speed tiptronic transmission. Combined, the gasoline and electric powerplants generate a sufficient amount of momentum to move the over 202-inch long sedan. The Audi A8 hybrid maximum performance output is 245 horsepower with a total 345 pounds-feet of torque.
Though horsepower may not be as impressive as the 4.2 liter V-8 or the 6.3 liter W-12 powerplants, the 2012 Audi A8 hybrid’s configuration is calibrated for robust fuel economy. Burning less than 6.4 liters per 100 kilometers, the Audi A8 hybrid’s fuel consumption for an American road translates to 36.75 miles per gallon in average driving. Compared to the current V-8 powered Audi A8 sedan, the hybrid model delivers average gas mileage allowing the large four-door to roll 14 miles longer after every gallon of gasoline.
Thanks to the heavily modified 8-speed transmission of the Audi A8 hybrid, a special wet, multi-plate clutch acts as an intelligent conductor between the two power units. Using ideal coordination between the TFSI engine and the electric motor, the Audi A8 hybrid operates under five operating modes. Of these propulsion options is an electric only mode that draws power directly from a lithium-ion battery. Through acceleration, the Audi A8 hybrid can be pushed to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) purely on electric power. At speeds of 60 kilometers per hour (37.3 miles per hour), battery capacity will allow the sedan to move 3 kilometers (1.86 miles per hour). A water-cooled lithium-ion battery, the electrical storage for the powertrain is climate-controlled for optimal performance.
With all the changes performed out of sight, this latest hybrid is nonetheless a typical 2012 Audi A8 sedan. Unique touches to the Audi A8 hybrid (for the most part) is low-tone at first glance with only ‘hybrid‘ badges immediately informing observers. Astute Audi fans will be able to identify some A8 hybrids through an optional Arctic White colour available only on the 2012 hybrid sedan model. Turbine blade design 18-inch and optional 19-inch alloy wheels spin will exclusively spin the A8 hybrid sedan‘s tires. The Bose audio system, three-zone automatic climate control and LED headlamps are standard equipment catered not only for luxury enjoyment but also to optimize the A8 hybrid’s energy usage.
Announced only for European markets for sometime in 2012, this ultra-efficient Audi A8 hybrid could be in the United States in just a matter of time due to stricter CAFÉ fleet fuel economy standards.
Information and photo source: Audi AG