The next-generation Audi S8 has been spotted piling around the Nürburgring hiding a potent new drivetrain under its svelte bodywork. Without any camouflage applied to the bodywork, it’s the quad exhaust outlets that point towards this being the sporting model.
Powering the new S8 will be the 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine shared with the Porsche Panamera Turbo. In the Porsche this engine produces 542bhp, a figure that the S8 should either share or slightly improve on. The engine will be connected to Audi’s typical quattro all-wheel-drive system and eight-speed automatic gearbox.
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The standard A8 utilises a 48V supplementary electrical system, and we expect the S8 to offer the same, possibly powering a similar active anti-roll bar system employed by the Audi SQ7. It should also power a belt-driven alternator and allow for engine-off coasting.
But the V8 engine is just the start with the new S8, as like the Porsche, Audi might see fit to apply the same hybrid components as seen in the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, either in all S8 models, or possibly as a higher-specification S8 E-tron or S8 Plus.
The test car in these pictures shares the same bumpers as fitted to the standard A8’s ‘Sports Exterior Package’, with a chunky set of quad exhaust pipes hiding under the rear valance, as per usual with Audi S models. Peer behind the 20-inch wheels and you’ll spot Audi’s carbon-ceramic brakes, too.
So the next Audi S8 will continue to be the technical tour-de-force in the Audi line-up, but the bit we’re interested in is how much hybridisation Audi will integrate into the package.