For 2016, Audi's S8 is no more. The flagship performance luxury sedan has evolved to become the S8 Plus.
What does the Plus add? More of everything, with emphasis on speed.
Last year's standard S8 offered 520 horsepower and 481 lb-ft of torque - plenty for any vehicle. The S8 Plus adds 85 ponies and 72 lb-ft of torque, to bring total output up to 605 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. That's a whole lot of muscle, any way you look at it, more than the Porsche Panamera Turbo S and Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, and more than the Bentley Continental and Flying Spur V8 S, which share the S8's engine. Audi claims a 0-100 km/h time of just 3.8 seconds – a genuinely impressive feat for a vehicle as large and hefty as this. An eight-speed automatic transmission with paddles for manual shifting is the only choice on offer. Despite its performance pedigree, the S8 Plus features cylinder deactivation to reduce fuel consumption when cruising.
Like all performance Audis, the S8 features Quattro all-wheel drive with a rear-biased torque distribution to reduce understeer; its default is set 40/60, but can shift power to either end depending on traction. A torque vectoring system is also included giving the S8 Plus a more lively feel through tight corners, while sport-tuned four-corner air suspension provides a level ride regardless of conditions. 21-inch light alloy wheels come as standard equipment.
Buyers can also add on the Dynamic Package, which adds a performance exhaust system, carbon-ceramic braking system, exterior carbon fibre trim, and a higher top speed. The standard 250 km/h electronic limiter is loosened to 305 km/h.
Available exclusively in standard wheelbase configuration, the S8 offers all the trappings expected in a luxury sedan. 22-way front power seats with ventilation and massage are standard, as is four-zone climate control, power-closing doors, and the latest version of Audi's MMI infotainment system. While the standard cabin is a sight to behold, the-the optional Arras Red Package adds a sporty flair with red contrast stitching for the quilted leather upholstery, and unique red carbon fibre weave for the interior accent trim.
Audi hasn't cut corners when it comes to active safety equipment - radar cruise control with emergency autonomous braking is standard, as is lane departure warning, a 360-degree parking camera, and head-up display. A night-vision camera system is available at extra cost - $2,500.
Though the ’16 S8 Plus offers a considerable step forward in performance, Audi charges a mere $2,000 more for the Plus than the standard S8. At $134,200, it’s a veritable bargain against rivals from Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, and Porsche.
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