At the heart of Audi’s three-pronged S6, S7 and S8 line-up at Frankfurt will be one engine, the new twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 developed in conjunction with Bentley.
The engine appears in two configurations. The lower-spec powers the S6, S6 Avant and the S7 Sportback, developing 309kW and a substantial 550Nm from 1400 to 5300rpm.
The last S6’s Lamborghini-derived 5.2-litre V10 developed slightly more power, at 320kW, but had a much narrower torque band, with 540Nm on-tap from 3000-4000rpm. It also chugged 12.6L/100km, but Audi has gone to great lengths to drive fuel consumption down with the new V8. New technology like direct injection, start/stop, a cylinder-on-demand program that enables four to shut down under part-load, along with Audi’s seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox means miserly combined fuel figures of 9.7L/100km, an improvement of 25-percent over the old V10.
Ingolstadt has expanded its use of aluminium in the new car, and while 1895kg still sounds heavy, it’s 15 kilos lighter than the S6 it replaces. With the new engine, Audi claims it will leap to 100km/h in 4.8sec, which again, is 0.4sec quicker than the old S6.
Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard, of course, with a self-locking centre differential and torque vectoring. An active rear differential is optionally available.
Adaptive air suspension is standard fitment, lowering the S6’s stance by 10mm, and it works in conjunction with the throttle’s sensitivity, transmission shift points and steering weight through the Drive Select system. Carbon ceramic brakes are also optional.
Aside from minor dimensional deviations thanks to the different bodystyles, the S7 Sportback’s spec sheet reads like the S6’s, even down the optional sport rear diff and carbon ceramic brakes.
The S8 also loses the older model’s V10, but gets a higher-specification of the new V8, with power peaking at 382kW and a just-as-healthy serving of torque: 650Nm between 1700 and 5500rpm. It picks up the eight-speed automatic that’s shared with the rest of the A8 family and performance is a claimed 4.2sec 0-100km/h sprint.
Also debuting in the S8 is Audi’s new 360-degree parking camera.