It’s time for the world’s executives to toss that old S8 in the bin, as the all-new 2020 Audi S8 sedan has arrived. Under its giant, clamshell-like hood the car once again packs a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine, this time making 563 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. (The outgoing car made 520 horsepower before being upgraded to 605-hp Plus status for the end of its run.) In addition, like its regular A8 sibling, it gets a 48-volt hybrid system for efficiency’s sake, incorporating a belt-driven alternator-starter and a lithium-ion battery to allow for engine-free coasting and brake-energy storage. The V-8 also features a cylinder-on-demand function, and it exhales through an active exhaust system with twin pipes.
Standard equipment includes an active suspension that uses cameras to read the road ahead, four-wheel steering, and Quattro all-wheel drive. The rear differential is Audi’s Sport unit, which brings torque vectoring to the party. The suspension features air springs, which it uses to lift or push down each wheel to mitigate road imperfections, to lean the car’s body into corners by as much as three degrees when in Comfort mode, or to raise the body slightly to ease ingress and egress when the door handle is pulled. Carbon-fiber ceramic brake rotors—measuring 16.5 inches up front and 14.6 inches in the back—are available to help slow things down from the S8’s top speed of 155 mph, and the system is said to save 21.2 pounds over the standard steel-rotor setup including calipers.
Visual details include tweaks to the front bumper and side sills, and the fitment of traditional S-model silver mirror caps. The cabin is outfitted as standard with diamond-stitched front seats with ventilation, massage, and inflatable-bolster functions. Additional touches include 3D carbon dash trim paired with dark brushed aluminum. Lighting, at least in Europe, includes optional matrix LED/laser headlights and OLED taillamps.
While it’s not yet clear what will be available on the U.S. car, tech goodies include adaptive cruise assist that combines adaptive cruise control, traffic-jam assist, and lane tracking. If buyers check all the boxes, the S8’s central driver-assistance controller utilizes five radar sensors, six cameras, 12 ultrasound sensors, and a laser scanner to compile information. The vehicle’s Bang & Olufsen audio system not only kicks out tasty jams, but also has active noise cancellation to eliminate cabin noise. The rapidly familiar new MMI dual-screen system is present and can be controlled myriad ways, including touch, voice, and Amazon Alexa.
In U.S. cities capable of supporting it, a new traffic-light information feature pings the city’s infrastructure to inform the driver of the legal speed necessary to ensure catching the next green light. If you happen to get caught at a red light, the system will also tell you how long until it turns green again.
We hope you like legroom: Like the latest A8, the S8 will only be available in the United States in its long-wheelbase form. Europe and other markets will also get a short-wheelbase model that will be, uh, shorter and presumably slightly nimbler. Audi also hints at a plug-in-hybrid variant to come, although, again, it’s unclear if that one will make it Stateside. Of course, if it adds as much muscle as did the last S8 Plus, bring on the e-tron version—and pronto.