New V8 Audi S models set their sights on the UK
UK high performance Audi enthusiasts are about to be spoilt for choice by four formidable new high-performance S models all benefiting from a remarkable new eight-cylinder bi-turbo engine delivering up to 520PS and up to 29mpg. The all-new S6, S6 Avant, S7 Sportback and S8 open for UK order next month ahead of first deliveries in July – OTR prices range from £53,995 for the S6 to £77,900 for the S8.
The new bi-turbo V8, incorporating cylinder on demand technology and a host of other advances, replaces the naturally aspirated V10 FSI engine in the all-new S6, S6 Avant and S8 models, and in the process improves economy by as much as 25 per cent.
The Audi S6 and S6 Avant
In the S6 and S6 Avant the new 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 delivers ample power with ‘real world’ fuel economy. It appears here in 420PS form, and provides a constant 550 Nm of torque from 1,400 to 5,300 rpm, enough to catapult the S6 from 0 to 62mph in 4.6 seconds and the S6 Avant in 4.7 seconds, and to spur them on to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph.
The 4.0 TFSI brings Audi’s downsizing strategy to the high-performance class. Compared to the 5.2-litre V10, it offers even stronger performance while reducing fuel consumption by as much as 25 per cent. Average fuel economy is 29.4mpg in the S6 and 29.1mpg in the S6 Avant, well above that of the competition.
Active noise cancellation
A number of technologies contribute to this impressively uncompromising performance, including the familiar recuperation and start-stop systems, and also a new “cylinder on demand” cylinder management system which deactivates four of the engine’s eight cylinders under part load to conserve fuel and improve efficiency. When this process takes place the Active Noise Cancellation system (ANC) is activated. Four microphones integrated into the headlining record the noise in the cabin, which is then analyzed by a computer. If the computer detects intrusive sound elements, it broadcasts an antiphase sound through the speakers of the sound system. This sound combines with the intrusive sound and largely cancels it out.
Independent of this, active, electronically controlled engine mounts use targeted counterpulses to attenuate low-frequency vibrations. A sound actuator, flaps in the exhaust system, the engine shroud and a newly developed dual-mass flywheel with a centrifugal force pendulum in the seven-speed S tronic also contribute to the sonorous sound and smoothness of the engine.
When it comes to power transmission, the S6 and S6 Avant also exemplify Vorsprung durch Technik. Power is channeled through a fast-shifting, seven-speed S tronic transmission to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, which incorporates the sport differential that allows variable torque distribution between the rear wheels as standard.
The two new S models are also fitted as standard with adaptive air suspension in its firmer ‘sport’ configuration. The tautly tuned set-up with variable damping lowers the body by 10 millimetres, and provides for highly precise handling without compromising comfort. 19-inch cast aluminium wheels in a unique five parallel spoke design frame the black calipers of the powerful front and rear internally ventilated disc brakes, which can be replaced by carbon fibre-ceramic discs as an option.
Audi drive select
The Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system is also standard. It influences numerous features within the car, including the throttle pedal response, the shift points of the S tronic transmission, the servo boost of the electromechanical steering, the characteristics of the adaptive air suspension and the sport differential. The driver can adjust the operation of these systems in five stages.
The structure of the cars themselves also plays a significant part in their dramatically improved dynamics. They are unusually lightweight because their bodies are roughly 20 per cent aluminium. The Audi S6 has a kerb weight of just 1,895 kilograms, and the S6 Avant 1,950 kilograms – both comparatively impressive figures for eight-cylinder executive class cars.
At 4,931 millimetres, the S6 is 16 millimetres longer than the A6; with the 4,934-millimetre S6 Avant, the difference is 8 millimetres. Their single-frame grille sports aluminium applications and chromed horizontal double bars. Another chrome strip adorns the front bumper. The exterior mirrors feature aluminum-look housings, and the side sills are distinctively shaped. Xenon headlamps incorporating LED daytime running lights and all-weather lights are standard, as are LED rear lights.
The S6 saloon has a spoiler on the boot lid; the Avant has a roof spoiler. With both models, the diffuser on the rear bumper is platinum grey with an aluminum-look offset edge. The four chrome-tipped tailpipes are elliptical. The S models are available in a choice of eight colours, including the exclusive shade Estoril Blue, crystal effect. The body displays S6 and V8T badges.
The interior of the S6 and S6 Avant continues the sporting theme in an equally understated and elegant way. There are S6 badges on the key, the leather sports steering wheel and the instruments. The illuminated door sill trims and the displays for the MMI and the driver information system also highlight the S6 logo on start-up. A red ring adorns the start-stop button, an aluminium clasp the selector lever. The footrest, the pedals and the soft keys of the MMI operating system are finished with a gleaming aluminium look.
As befits an S model the equipment list for the new S6 and S6 Avant is exhaustive, and can be supplemented by all of the high-end options in the A6 model series. These include LED headlights, adaptive light, head-up display, the parking system advanced with 360° top view camera, powered rear hatch control including optional hands-free sensor control, a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, MMI navigation plus incorporating the MMI touch input system and Bluetooth phone preparation High with Audi connect enabling in-car internet connection.
From the list of driver assistance options customers can also choose the various versions of the Audi pre sense safety system, adaptive cruise control with stop & go function, Audi side assist, active lane assist, the speed limit display and the night vision assistant with highlighting of detected pedestrians.
The list of options for the Avant, which offers up to 1,680 litres of luggage space, also includes a panoramic glass roof.
The Audi S7 Sportback
In the Audi S7 Sportback the new 4.0-litre TFSI with its 420PS and 550 Nm of torque powers the five-door coupe from 0 to 62mph in 4.7 seconds, and on to a limited top speed of 155mph. The cultivated eight-cylinder unit, which uses Audi’s “cylinder on demand” technology under part load, achieves an impressive combined economy figure of 29.4mpg.
Much of this groundbreaking efficiency can be attributed to the lightweight body. A hybrid aluminum construction, it weighs roughly 15 percent less than a comparable all-steel body. Lightweight components include the long rear hatch that opens and closes electrically as standard. Beneath it is a luggage compartment with a volume of 535 litres, which increases to 1,390 litres with the rear seat backs folded down.
Power transmission in the Audi S7 Sportback is taken care of by the seven-speed S tronic transmission and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system bolstered by the sport differential acting on the rear wheels.
The S7 Sportback is fitted as standard with adaptive air suspension sport and the Audi drive select dynamics system. Mounted behind the 19-inch wheels are large, internally ventilated disc brakes front and rear. Their black calipers are stamped with S7 logos at the front. Carbon fibre-ceramic discs are available as an option. Other chassis options include 21-inch wheels and dynamic steering, which varies its ratio as a function of speed.
The design of the Audi S7 Sportback is seamless. The long bonnet, the long wheelbase and the short overhangs create perfect proportions. The swooping roof line gives the five-door model the character of a coupe. At motorway speeds, a rear spoiler extends from the rear hatch to improve stability.
Subtle yet eye-catching details signal the top position in the model series occupied by the 4,980-millimetre S7 Sportback. These can be found at the single-frame grille, the front bumper, the side mirrors, the sills, the rear bumper, the diffuser and the tailpipes. Nine exterior colours are available, including the exclusive shade Estoril Blue, crystal effect. The body is decorated with S and V8 T badges.
The S7 Sportback shows its character in the interior, too. This can be seen in numerous details – the S badges, the red ring on the start-stop button, the S7 logo in the illuminated door sill trims, the aluminium strip on the S tronic selector lever and the aluminium shift paddles. The footrest and the pedals are made of stainless steel, and the soft keys of the MMI operating system are in an aluminium-look finish.
Among the standard equipment highlights are xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, the driver information system with colour display and the versatile MMI radio plus audio and operating system. Both information hubs are easy to operate.
The S7 Sportback can be equipped with all of the comfort, driver assistance and infotainment options available throughout the model series.
The Audi S8
The Audi S8 is the new head of the Audi S model family – a large and luxurious saloon that can deliver sublime comfort or supreme excitement as required. The new 4.0-litre TFSI in the S8 generates no less than 520PS and delivers a constant 650 Nm of torque to the crankshaft between 1,700 and 5,500 rpm. The result is outstanding performance: the sprint from zero to 62mph takes just 4.2 seconds, and top speed is electronically capped at 155mph.
This makes the fuel consumption of the sonorous and smooth twin-turbo V8 all the more amazing: It averages 28.0mpg on the combined cycle, equating to CO2 output of 235g/km - a considerable gain over its competitors, and its predecessor. The 5.2-litre V10 in the previous S8 posted 21.4mpg in the equivalent test. This has been achieved despite a 70PS increase in output.
The new Audi S8 strikes its impressive balance between performance and efficiency with the help of the combined technologies of the Audi modular efficiency platform, including the recuperation and start-stop systems. The newly developed “cylinder on demand” technology also plays a very significant role, and of course is supplemented by the same package of noise and vibration suppression systems used by the S6 and S7.
The eight-speed tiptronic in the S8 also unites sportiness and efficiency. It uses tall gears at low revs whenever possible, but downshifts quickly and comfortably when requested by the driver. The tiptronic delivers the power to a quattro drivetrain combining a self-locking centre differential with the sport differential on the rear axle. During dynamic driving, the lion’s share of the power flows to the outside wheel to literally push the large saloon into the corner.
The new Audi S8 also pulls out all the stops when it comes to the chassis. One of its features is a specially tuned adaptive air suspension with variable damping, which can vary the ride height of the body between three levels and thus ensure a multi-faceted driving experience. It perfectly complements the dynamic steering, also a standard feature, that adapts its steering ratio and boost to the vehicle’s speed. It uses slight, nearly imperceptible steering corrections to stabilize handling at the cornering limit. The quattro all-wheel-drive system is also enhanced, as in the S6 and S7, by the sport differential that manages torque distribution between the rear wheels.
The Audi drive select dynamics system encompasses these three systems as well as engine management and the eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The driver can determine the function of these components by choosing between the five modes comfort, auto, dynamic, individual and efficiency.
The standard, S-specific wheels measure 9 J x 20 and are shod with 265/40-series tyres. The four internally ventilated disc brakes measure 400 millimetres in diameter up front and 365 millimetres at the rear. The matt black calipers up front bear S8 logos. Each of the optional carbon fibre-ceramic discs saves over five kilograms of weight. Their calipers are anthracite grey. The ESP stabilization program includes a sport mode, in which engine output is determined solely by the position of the pedals.
Body and design
A decisive advantage of the S8 is its comparatively low weight of 1,975 kilograms. The luxury saloon’s ASF (Audi Space Frame) body is made almost entirely of aluminium. Only the B-pillars are made of ultra high-strength steel. The body weighs just 231 kilograms; a conventional steel construction would be around 100 kilograms heavier. The Audi ultra-lightweight construction allows weight to be reduced in other areas as well, such as the chassis.
Fine design details signal the special position that the 5.15 metre-long S8 occupies in the Audi range. The single-frame grille is platinum grey and its eight double bars are covered in chrome. An aluminium-look blade makes the bumper appear sharper, and there are high-gloss black slats and aluminium-look ribs in the side air intakes.
On the flanks, body colour trim strips on the sills, door handles with strips of aluminium and polished aluminium-look mirror housings catch the eye. The diffuser insert at the back of the car includes a blade with a two-layer aluminium-look finish offset with parts in platinum grey. The exhaust system ends in two oval dual tailpipes in a chrome-look finish.
S8 or V8 T badges can be found at the front, on the boot lid and on the sides. The colour range includes 13 shades, two of which – Daytona Grey and Prism Silver – are reserved for the S8.
Inside, small yet effective accents mark out the top model in the A8 range. The multi-way, power-adjustable comfort sport seats have been designed exclusively for the S8. As a no cost option these are available with exclusive seat upholstery in quilted lunar silver. The stitching and piping are in contrasting steel grey, while the upper inlays on the instrument panel and tiptronic selector lever are finished in Carbon Atlas.
The leather multifunction sport steering wheel has colour-contrasting stitching and an S8 emblem, which can also be found on the instruments. Typical of the Audi S models, these have grey dials with white needles – a design which is repeated in the classic analogue clock. The illuminated door sill trims with the S8 logo are a further eye-catcher. The display of the driver information system and the MMI monitor greet the driver with special S8 screens. The shift paddles and pedals are in an aluminium-look finish; a red ring frames the start button.
MMI navigation plus, which features as standard, represents the state-of-the-art in infotainment systems. It includes the groundbreaking MMI touch input system, a large hard drive and a high-resolution 8-inch display. In the S8 the high-end system comes with Audi connect to bring special Internet services to the car and provide WLAN connectivity for mobile devices.
The extended leather package complemented by an Alcantara headlining, a DVD changer, the advanced key with a power-operated hands-free opening system and ambient lighting are also among the standard equipment highlights internally. The Audi S8 is also equipped with LED headlights and double glazing.
UK OTR Prices – New Audi Executive and Luxury Class S models
S6 saloon £53,995 OTR
S6 Avant £56,050 OTR
S7 Sportback £61,995 OTR
S8 £77,900 OTR