- Near-production prototype of the Audi S8 had no camouflage at all.
- The quad-exhaust set-up sets apart the high-performance variant from the Luxo-barge.
- Will use the same engine from the Porsche Panamera Turbo, a plug-in hybrid is also on the cards.
Audi has been developing the performance derivative of the flagship saloon, the A8, for quite some time now. Now, almost 10 months after the reveal of the new-gen A8, the S8 was spotted testing at the Nurburgring with no camouflage whatsoever.
The test mule had all the bodywork of the standard A8. But it sported a quad exhaust at the rear and Audi Sport’s brake callipers which were the tell-tale signs of the saloon's performance intentions. The S8 test mule also had a low ride height compared to the standard car when it was careening hard on a left-hand corner of the Green Hell. The undisguised cabin also revealed that the S8 will keep most of the A8’s interior with little changes such as performance seats and sporty trims. The multi-spoke alloy wheels also appeared a size larger than the ones seen on the standard Luxo-barge.
The S8 will be powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 which currently does duty in the Porsche Panamera Turbo. Power outputs will be between 520bhp (of the older S8) and 600bhp. All the raw power will be channelled through the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. An electric plug-in hybrid of the S8 is not ruled out either but that will come later. It will borrow the Panamera E-Hybrid’s powertrain.
Audi has no plans of introducing a fully-blown RS8 at all since the carmaker promised to focus more on the RS-badged SUVs. But since the S63 AMG still garners immense demands and with BMW planning an M7, Audi might want to give a shot at an RS tuned A8 to stay in the game.