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). That's enough to produce 450 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque and a 0-to-62-mph time of 5.1 seconds. Thanks to a lower final-drive ratio, the S8 accelerates with vigor through all six paddle-shifted gears. Call us jaded, but 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. The V-10 in the BMW M5 and M6, for example, makes 500 hp.
Outside, the S8 differs from the A8 range by riding on twenty-inch rubber around unique seven-spoke wheels similar to those found on the upcoming RS4. A grille with extra chrome and S8 badges add to the distinctions, along with 'V10' badges behind the front wheels. Those with a keen eye will notice a slightly lower ride height as well as massive ceramic brakes behind the wheels. The S8 is available in all colors in the A8 lineup, and one color--Daytona Grey Pearl (pictured here)--is exclusive to this car. Audi has tagged the S8 with a base price of approximately $115,000; it will show up in Europe next summer and on American streets later in 2006.