Audi is preparing a high-performance S8 range-topper of the new A8 limo range. Caught in our new spy photos, the 2011 Audi S8 was on test at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany.
Word is that the S8 is powered by Audi's take on the Lamborghini-derived V10. Audi started using a V10 lump in the last-generation D3 A8 and the new A8 is equipped with new tech to lift those all-important Top Trumps bragging rights.So how powerful is the new 2011 Audi S8?
CAR's sources suggest the newly fettled 5.0-litre V10 will follow the RS6 forced-induction recipe. Expect direct-injection and twin turbos to swell power to around 620bhp and torque to a stout 553lb ft, according to insiders. That's considerably up on the old S8's 444bhp and 398lb ft.
Combined with the ASF aluminium spaceframe technology and more rear-biased Quattro four-wheel drive, it could make the S8 a worthy adversary to the Merc AMG models and BMW 760i.Are you sure this is the S8?
The car snapped in our spy shots here is probably the new 2011 S8. It appears to be riding on the large 20- or 21-inch wheels, has engorged brake discs and quad exhaust pipes – while the Ingolstadt number plate is another giveaway this is a full Audi car and not a tuner special.
Don't expect an RS8 version any time soon, however. The plan for the new A8 family – dubbed D4 in VW Group-speak or AU641 in Ingolstadt – now focuses on plug-in hybrids due in 2012.