2020 Audi S8 Runs Buck Naked Around The Ring

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Ingolstadt's new performance sedan looks about ready for its big debut

Ever since Audi lifted the veil off the new A8, we've been waiting to see the performance version. And judging from this spy video, it looks like it could be just around the corner... the legendary Karousel, to be specific.

This latest spy video shows what is almost certainly the forthcoming new Audi S8 performance sedan undergoing testing around the Nürburgring Norschleife. And it doesn't look like Audi Sport's engineers are going easy on it, either, muscling the big beast around each corner and down the straights in between.

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The S8 has held pride of place at the very top of Audi's lineup since 1996. Three generations have followed, with the second packing a 5.2-liter V10 practically lifted from the Lamborghini Gallardo – albeit detuned and turned around. Exchanging two of its cylinders for turbos, the outgoing third-generation model has proven even more potent, boasting 513 horsepower – or nearly 600 hp in S8 Plus guise.

That leaves quite the lead for the new S8 to follow. And it might not pack the same punch, as sources expect the fourth-gen model to adopt the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 from the Porsche Panamera Turbo.

In that application, the engine kicks out 550 hp, which may be detuned slightly to 530. But a Plus version could still follow, potentially adopting the hybrid powertrain from the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, where it produces a massive 671 hp.

Output aside, this undisguised prototype bares the telltale signs of an amped-up performance sedan. The gray brake calipers wear Audi Sport branding, quad pipes protrude from the tail flanking the diffuser, and (most of) the rest of the aero kit looks sportier, too. Stay tuned as we'd expect Ingolstadt to lift the veil off the new S8 in short order.

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