Audi S6, S7 and S8 (2011) first official pictures

Published: 31 August 2011

To offset its two tiny Urban concept cars and prove it’s still a sporty, performance-inspired brand, Audi will unveil not one but three hot S models at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show in September.

The Audi S6, S7 and S8 are all powered by the company’s new 4.0-litre V8, with the most powerful iteration offering up 512bhp.

Are the Audi S6, S7 and S8 all available with 512bhp?

Alas not – only the flagship S8 limo boasts the full-fat 512bhp. The engine in question is Audi’s new 4.0-litre V8, and it’ll also find its way into the Bentley Continental range in the near future.

Twin turbos and direct-injection fuel technology help the new unit crank out 479lb ft in S8 guise (all the way from 1700 to 5500rpm), and combined with four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic, dispatch 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds, hit its 155mph limiter with ease, and achieve 27.7mpg on the combined EU fuel cycle.

New ‘cylinder on demand’ tech – which can deactivate four of the eight cylinders – also contributes towards the improved fuel figures (the old V10-engined S8 averaged 21.4mpg despite boasting 69bhp less), as does stop/start tech. A new Active Noise Cancellation system (ANC) broadcasts ‘an antiphase sound through the speakers of the sound system’ to cancel out intrusive sound elements, and there are also electronically controlled engine bearings that use ‘targeted counterpulses’ to cut out low-frequency vibrations.

And for those that are fed up with hearing about fuel economy, a self-locking centre differential and Audi’s rear Sport diff are standard. Plus the air suspension has been tweaked by Quattro GmbH too, 20in wheels (shod with 265/40 tyres) feature all round, while braking is by 400mm discs up front and 365mm discs at the rear.

Carbon-ceramics are an option, and Audi claims each one saves over 5kg. A butcher bodykit and quad exhausts complete the exterior makeover, while sports seats, a sports steering wheel, and many other ‘sports’ items add a, err, sporting touch to the interior.

And the S6 saloon and S7 Sportback?

Don’t forget the A6 Avant either; all three use a 414bhp version of the new twin-turbo V8. Torque is down to a paltry 406lb ft (from 1400 to 5300rpm), with the S6 cracking 62mph in 4.8 seconds, and the S6 Avant and S7 completing the benchmark sprint a tenth slower. Once again fuel consumption is massively improved over the outgoing 5.2-litre V10, but in isolation 29.1mpg (S6 and S7) and 28.8mpg (S6 Avant) don’t sound too impressive.

Stop/start again features, as does Audi’s ‘cylinder on demand’ technology and ANC, and these ‘lesser’ models mate Quattro drivetrains to seven-speed dual-clutch gearboxes.

Quad pipes (a trademark of Audi’s S models; RS cars have twin oval exhausts) and more aggressive bumpers toughen up the outside, there are the usual go-faster updates inside, and while 10mm lower air suspension is standard, the rear Sport diff is optional.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy