New Audi S8 super-saloon breaks 300km/h

Four-litre turbo V8 delivers 605hp in a lightweight aluminium chassis

Audi claims the S8’s aluminium space-frame chassis has one of the lowest weights in its class: just 231kg when bare

Audi claims the S8’s aluminium space-frame chassis has one of the lowest weights in its class: just 231kg when bare

 

Audi has broken new ground in the super-saloon power wars by showing off a new S8 that has more than 600hp – 605hp to be exact – and a whopping 750Nm of torque (actually, mostly it has 700Nm but can find the extra 50Nm in overboost mode).

The twin- turbo 4.0-litre V8 is basically the same as you’ll find in the RS6 and the Bentley Continental GT, but has had a new engine-management system fitted, as well as an updated turbo and some tweaks to the valves to find the extra power.

Performance is predictably staggering. 0-100km/h in 3.8secs and a top speed (if you, optionally, remove the speed limiter that stops progress at 250km/h) of 305km/h. That’s 189mph in pounds and shillings, as it were.

Performance pinnacle

“We have further sharpened our large sport sedan,” says

Ulrich Hackenberg, board member for technical development at Audi.

“The new Audi S8 plus has a substantial gain in power and defines the pinnacle of sporty performance in the segment. That is why ‘plus’ appears in its name.”

Part of the performance comes courtesy of light weight – Audi claims the S8’s aluminium space-frame chassis has one of the lowest weights in its class: just 231kg when bare. The S8 has the expected quattro four-wheel drive, plus an eight-speed automatic gear- box and specially designed 21” wheels. Fuel consumption? A surprisingly reasonable 9.9l/100km (28.5mpg), with 225g/km CO2 emissions.

Behind those wheels lurk carbon-ceramic brakes and there’s a special tuned sports exhaust too. Inside, there’s lots of black leather with red stitching, and you can tell the S8 from its less thrusting brethren by the carbon boot lid spoiler, a black honeycomb grille and some other carbon aero detailing.

The base price in Germany is €145,000, so don’t expect much change from €220,000 here when it goes on sale towards the end of the year.

At that kind of price, it probably won’t become Audi’s best seller in Ireland, but it’s unlikely the four-ringed brand much cares. Audi Ireland claims to have had a bumper July, selling 1,012 cars – a 35 per cent rise on 2014.

Sustained growth

“We are pleased to experience such a strong first month of sales for the 152-reg period,” said Audi Ireland managing director Christian Gussen.  

“The consumer remains discerning, and places great emphasis on quality and innovation. Audi’s sustained growth is testament to the investment decisions taken both centrally and at dealership level, particularly in expanding our dealer network teams. Our focus is on delivering best-in-class in-car technology, driver experience and customer service.”