The Audi S8, a V-10 powered version of the German marque's largest sedan, will join the S4--Audi's only current S model--next year. Its V-10 is based on the unit found in the Lamborghini Gallardo, but features Audi's FSI direct injection (borrowed from the R8 race car). Despite a lower redline the Lambo's, the engine produces 450 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque and a 0-to-62-mph time of 5.1 seconds. Call us jaded, this seems like a half-hearted attempt to keep stride with Mercedes-Benz's AMG and BMW's M divisions, given that both of them offer 500-hp engines. Perhaps Audi buyers are less overt in their sporting intentions.
Subtlety extends to the S8's styling, where twenty-inch wheels similar to those found on the upcoming RS4 distinguish it from lesser A8s. Audi aficionados will also notice a grille with extra chrome, an integrated trunk-lid spoiler, ceramic brake rotors, and a slightly lower ride height, but the overall effect is understated, not boy-racer. Audi has tagged the S8 with a base price of approximately $95,000; it will show up in Europe next summer and on American streets later in 2006.