Audi has unveiled its new S6, S7 Sportback and S8 sports saloons. They’ll debut at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show in September. At their heart is a new twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8 engine, with the S6 boasting 25 per cent lower fuel consumption than the Lamborghini Gallardo V10-engined car it replaces. The S6 and S6 Avant get a 414bhp, 406lb ft version of the engine – both figures close to the outgoing 5.2-litre car – while offering around 29mpg each and a 4.8sec 0-62mph sprint. Aiding such thrifty fuel use are a start/stop system and ‘cylinder on demand’ technology, the latter running the engine on four cylinders under part throttle load. There’s even an absurdly clever ‘active noise cancellation’ set-up that ensures there’s no change in sound to the driver’s ears when the engine’s cylinder use switches. Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system and seven-speed S-tronic automatic transmission are standard while there’s an optional sport differential that actively distributes the engine’s power between the rear wheels. Other tech on offer includes adaptive air suspension, Audi drive select (different modes for suspension, gearbox, throttle and steering) and carbon ceramic brakes. Ways of spotting an S6 over an A6 include aluminium-look mirrors and front grille, a boot spoiler or roof spoiler (saloon or estate, respectively) and four chrome-tipped tailpipes. There’s also lashings of aluminium trim and S6 badging inside to remind you what you’re driving. The S7 Sportback uses the same engine and technology as the S6, though hits 62mph 0.1sec slower with a 4.9sec sprint. It serves up an identical 155mph limited top speed and 29mpg average fuel economy, however. Identify it over an S6 by its badges (obviously) and elongated fastback boot. The larger Audi S8 gets a suitably potent engine, the V8’s maximum outputs increasing to 513bhp and 479lb ft. While its top speed is also limited to 155mph, 0-62mph takes an Audi R8-like 4.2sec. It averages 27.7mpg, a near-7mpg rise over the outgoing V10 S8 despite a 69bhp increase. Start/stop, cylinder on demand and active noise cancellation all star while there’s an eight-speed tiptronic auto gearbox that’s designed to shuffle up to tall gears during serene driving but instantly provide the V8’s huge wealth of power when called upon. Three-level adaptive air suspension combines with standard-fit dynamic steering to stabilise handling during more spirited driving, while sport differential and drive select technologies also feature. While the S8 gets similar styling tweaks to its S6 and S7 brethren, it appears a much more subtle take on the S-car. The options list boasts a predictable plethora of gadgets. There’s adaptive cruise control, ‘Audi side assist’, lane assist, night vision, a 360-degree parking camera and a 1400w, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. The new Audi S6, S6 Avant, S7 and S8 go on sale in Spring 2012, with prices and firmer details likely to be confirmed at Frankfurt. Click here for the rest of evo's Frankfurt 2011 news
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