Audi's Mercedes-AMG S63 fighter is expected to debut later this year alongside the A8 facelift.
Just last week, we got our first look at the upcoming Audi A8 facelift as the German automaker prepares to fight back against the all-new Mercedes S-Class and the BMW 7 Series facelift. Audi isn't only giving the regular A8 a refresh, however, as the high-performance S8 will also be getting the facelift treatment and has been spied for the first time by our spy photographers in prototype form.
While the regular A8 facelift was spied cruising the streets, its high-performance S8 sibling was spotted tackling the snow preparing to take on the facelifted BMW M760i and the upcoming next-generation Mercedes-AMG S63. At first glance, it's difficult to tell them apart, but the quad exhaust system confirms we're looking at the sportier S8.
Just as we saw with last week's A8 prototype, Audi has applied camouflage to the front and rear fasciae, so expect some tweaks to the front and rear bumpers. The reshaped headlights also appear to mimic the new A3 to create a consistent design language, the taillights have new graphics, and the grille has a different mesh pattern to the current-generation S8.
Inside, we aren't expecting any major changes other than an updated infotainment system and upgraded driving assists, although Audi is no longer planning to add advanced Level 3 autonomous tech to the flagship sedan.
Under the hood, the current Audi S8 is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid generating 563 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to a quattro all-wheel-drive system. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, this setup allows the S8 to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 155 mph. We're expecting the updated S8 to sport the same specifications.
The new Audi A8 facelift is expected to debut later this year and go on sale for the 2021 model year, but there's a good chance the S8 will be revealed alongside it since Audi is testing the two facelift prototypes at the same time.