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First Look: Audi S6, S7 and S8

Muscling in on BMW M territory.

by on Sep.01, 2011

The Audi S7 will make its debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

Audi is turning up the heat, taking aim at BMW’s vaunted M performance brand with the upcoming launch of three new S-Series models at this month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

The S6, S7 and S8 offerings will not only introduce a new high-output twin-turbo V-8 but feature extensive use of aluminum to reduce weight and deliver even better performance.  But Audi claims they will also get as much as 25% better mileage than the previous generation of S-cars.

Stay in the Loop!

Both the 2012 Audi S6 and S7 models will share a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 punching out 420 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.  According to Audi, the sedan will make 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds, the S7 hatchback running a tenth of a second slower.

The S6 (shown here) and S7 share the new Audi 4.0-liter V-8.

The engines are connected to a 7-speed S-tronic gearbox and drive all four wheels through the familiar Audi Quattro system.  An optional sport differential permits torque vectoring, shifting power in real time to the wheels that can use it best.

The two cars will have as much as 20% of their bodywork converted to  aluminum to reduce weight, and there will be extensive S aero upgrades that are both stylish and functional, helping to improve the aero on the S6 and S7 models.

Add the use of a cylinder deactivation system and, initially in Europe, a start/stop system and the S6 is expected to yield at least 24 mpg using the European fuel economy test cycle.

As always, there’ll be the usual, extensive array of options, including not only the sport differential but ceramic brakes.

In the Audi S8, the V-8 makes a fiery 520 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque.

As for the flagship S8, it gets the same basic engine package but here tuned to deliver a full 520 hp – up 70 from the older S8 – and 479 lb-ft of torque.  Audi claims it will also get about 23% better mileage, at 23 mpg, while the number likely to matter most for performance fans is 4.2, as in 4.2 seconds from 0 to 60.

The S8 gets an 8-speed Tiptronic and an adaptive air suspension.  The driver, meanwhile, will be able to select one of five different performance modes, each altering the settings of that suspension and gearbox, as well as the engine.

The S8 body is nearly all aluminum, Audi notes, which yields a savings of about 220 pounds.

All three models will get distinctive exterior badging and plenty of interior details to remind you you’re not driving a mainstream Audi model.

Sadly, there appear to be no plans to bring the S6 Avant, the wagon edition, to the U.S. market.

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