Ingolstadt - Audi has finally given its flagship sedan the performance variant it deserves with the release of the new-generation S8.

Currently under consideration for South Africa, the new S8 is one of the most potent Audis to date. It’s powered by a 4-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 420kW and 820Nm, and the engine features Audi’s 48-volt mild hybrid system which is said to save up to 0.8 litres of fuel for every 100km, which you could probably label as negligible in this car’s case.

At 5.17 metres in length the S8 may be a hulk of a sedan, but Audi has pulled out all the stops to make it as agile as possible, with features such as predictive active suspension, sport differential and dynamic all-wheel-steering - a combination Audi says is unique in its class.

The active suspension system works in conjunction with the adaptive air suspension and can lift or push down each wheel separately, thanks to a set of electromechanical actuators, and it can do so predictively by using the vehicle’s front camera to keep an ‘eye’ on the road ahead. This system, according to Audi, “greatly reduces” pitch and roll during acceleration and braking.

The sport differential, meanwhile, actively distributes torque between the rear wheels during fast cornering, directing more power to the outside wheel in order to minimise understeer. 

In typical Audi style there isn’t a lot to distinguish the S8 from its tamer siblings, but you will be able to tell it apart by its S-specific front bumper, side sills and mirror housings that sport a silver colour scheme, but buyers can also opt for a black package. Wheels measuring up to 21 inches in diameter are available. 

In total customers can choose from nine colour and design packages, including the Audi Design Selection pastel silver for the cabin, which includes an upper inlay in Carbon Vector with a unique 3D depth effect.

The S8 features Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster and dual screen MMI touch operating system as standard, while Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is optional. Further to that, 38 advanced driver assistance and safety systems are available in the S8, including Traffic Jam Assist, Lane Tracking and a system that can raise the side of the car when an imminent side impact is detected.

Depending on the market, buyers will be able to opt for a long-wheelbase variant of the S8, an option that’s likely to be particularly common in markets such as China where wealthy clients prefer to be chauffeur driven.

IOL Motoring