Audi's flagship gets a shot of attitude.
Audi has been on a roll lately introducing fast models that will be sold in the US market. The RS6 Avant will finally grace the US for the first time ever and the upcoming RS Q8 will make its debut next week at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. This year's LA show will include a few big reveals from Audi, including the all-new 2020 Audi S8, which just made its global debut.
Like the outgoing S8, this new model will be powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. It now produces 571 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, which is a healthy increase from the outgoing car's 520 hp and 481 lb-ft numbers. However, it is less potent than the outgoing S8 Plus (600 hp), though it has more torque (517 lb-ft). But unlike the last-generation S8, this one benefits from Audi's new 48-volt mild-hybrid technology.
With the mild-hybrid system, the S8 has a smoother stop/start procedure and can keep the engine off for longer periods of time. The engine is also capable of running as a four-cylinder to save fuel. EPA fuel economy numbers have not been released yet but Audi estimates the car should average close to 21 mpg. But Audi hasn't traded in speed for fuel economy because the S8 can still do 62 mph in 3.8 seconds (likely a conservative estimate) and hit a limited top speed of 155 mph. Automatically actuated flaps in the exhaust should provide a throaty noise when you accelerate while an active noise cancellation system in the car's stereo will eliminate noise when cruising.
Since this is an S-badged vehicle and not an RS car, it should be supremely comfortable. It comes with a predictive active suspension as standard, which can work with the air suspension to lift or push down each wheel separately using electromechanical actuators. In simple terms, the S8 can pick up a wheel before it hits a pothole, creating a smoother ride. The car also features dynamic-all-wheel steering, so it should still feel agile despite its massive size.
In terms of appearance, the S8 still feels restrained but it is more aggressive than a base A8. The car features most of the typical S-car visual cues such as twin oval exhaust tailpipes, chrome accents, and silver mirror caps. Audi says the new S8 already sits at a hefty 17 feet in length but for the first time ever in the US, an extended wheelbase will be offered for additional legroom in the rear.
Inside, the S8 features unique materials such as Carbon Vector for the upper inlay and dark brushed matte aluminum for the lower inlay. Comfort contour seats come as standard and can be optionally equipped with heating, ventilation, and massage functions. Of course, Audi's excellent Touch MMI is found in the dash with Virtual Cockpit in the gauge cluster. Rear seat occupants will also be able to control the car using an ejectable touchscreen tablet mounted in the center armrest.
The 2020 S8 will offer 38 different driver assistant features that are divided between the City and Tour packages. Adaptive cruise assist, which is part of the Tour Package, combines adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, and lane tracking. Since this was a global reveal, we do not have any specific details on pricing or availability in the US. More details should be available next week at the 2019 LA Auto Show when the S8 makes its North American debut.