Audi is upping the ante in the premium luxury sedan market, taking aim at competitors like the Mercedes-AMG S63 with its new S8 Plus.
Claiming to deliver the highest power-to-weight in its segment, the new model punches out 596-horsepower from its overboosted V-8, enough to launch from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62 mph) in just 3.8 seconds, with a “derestricted” top speed of 189 mph.
The 2016 Audi S8 Plus also gets a number of performance-tuned features, including a sports exhaust system, and carbon fiber aero trim pieces like the front spoiler lip and side flaps.
High-end manufacturers have traditionally focused on the luxury features with their top-end sedans. But there’s growing demand for improved performance, as well. And Audi isn’t ceding dominance to Mercedes’ AMG subsidiary.
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The S8 Plus is a steroid-powered addition to the line-up, squeezing an extra 8o horsepower out of the stock S8’s 4.0-liter TFSI engine. That means an extra 37 pound-feet of torque, the new model coming in at 553 lb-ft from the biturbo package.
The S8 Plus package pumps power to all four wheels through an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. Here, the Quattro system gets a sports differential to quickly shift torque between the rear wheels to improve directional stability, Audi explains.
The Audi S8 Plus maintains the standard S8’s air suspension and dynamic steering – though both have been retuned for a more sporty ride.
The dual-branch exhaust system feeds two oval, high-gloss black tailpipes, and the package has been retuned to give the S8 Plus a deepe resonance.
Audi says the S8 Plus is electronically limited to 155 mph – that is, unless you opt for the dynamic package that bumps the top end to 189 mph, while also giving the big sedan more stopping power, thanks to carbon-fiber-reinforced ceramic brakes with distinctive anthracite gray front calipers.
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The new Audi S8 Plus will be offered with optional 21-inch wheels and tires in some markets.
The sedan features a number of unique exterior details, many of them intended to improve aerodynamics, such as the carbon fiber flaps on the side air inlets and the front apron blade. The S8 Plus also features darkened taillights and a rear lip spoiler in body color.
Matrix LED headlights are standard, as are dynamic turn signals, front and rear. In the European version, those lights are linked to the vehicles navigation system and other sensors to individually dim or brighten each of their 25 LED bulbs. That helps maximize visibility without blinding oncoming traffic.
Inside, the Audi S8 Plus gets new 22-way sport seats. Special custom leathers are available on the performance model, and there’s plenty of Alcantara trim.
Specific plans for the U.S. market haven’t yet been released.
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