New Audi S8: Ingolstadt’s V8 limo has arrived

Published: 02 July 2019

► All-new Audi S8 limousine
► Brute has bi-turbo V8 with 563bhp
► Expected to go on sale later in 2019

Audi’s flagship luxury saloon now has a performance variant, as Ingolstadt has just pulled the covers off the new S8.

This brutish new large executive car sticks with petrol power, unlike so many of its new S underlings, and comes with some clever tech to help make the most of its whopper of an engine.

Give me some performance specs

As mentioned already, the new Audi S8 uses a petrol-powered, twin-turbo V8 with 563bhp and 590lb ft of torque sent to all four wheels. Top speed is limited to 155mph. A 0-62mph sprint hasn’t been logged, as the car hasn’t been homologated yet, but it won’t exactly be slow, we guess…

As is the trend at Audi, that V8 has mild hybrid assistance in the shape of a 48v belt alternator starter for more aggressive start/stop abilities and silent coasting.

In terms of sound, the S8 has an adaptive sports exhaust system and noise cancellation functions via the stereo. You can tune the big Audi limo for roar or purr, depending on your preferences.

Audi S8 rear tracking

It’s still a large barge…

That’s true, but Audi has armed the new 2019 S8 with ‘predictive adaptive suspension’. That works with the air springs to circumvent body roll actively at each wheel – so much so that Audi claims the maximum roll angle is 2.5 degrees, as opposed to the regular A8’s five. There’s also a new Comfort+ drive mode for ultimate wafting ability.

Elsewhere, carbon ceramic brakes (with the fronts using ten pistons) are standard and the sport differential is trained to push the outer rear wheel with more torque mid-corner, but curb the likelihood of oversteer. All-wheel steering is standard, too.

CAR magazine lived with an Audi A8: read our long-term test

Audi S8 interor

Anything else?

Well, like most Audi S cars, the visual cues are quite restrained. Quad tailpipes – a tradition of S models (RS cars uses two fat oval exhausts) – and a more pronounced front and rear bumper feature, as do distinctive alloy wheels of up to 21 inches in diameter.

Elsewhere, it’s the usual A8-level of tech. That means up to 38 driver assistance systems are all managed by a HAL 9000-like brain, including laser-guided semi-autonomous driving capabilities and laser and OLED headlights.

Check out our Audi reviews

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches