Only at the Nordschleife will you see a luxury saloon powersliding.
There's rich pickings for our spy photographers camped out at the Nürburgring at the moment – the hot version of the Audi A8 saloon is the latest new car to have been spotted testing at the infamous circuit. Audi didn’t even bother to camouflage its super saloon, which likely means an official reveal of the S8 will occur in the near future – we could see it as early as October and the Paris motor show.
In typical Ingolstadt fashion, less is more seems to be the styling theme adopted by Audi as the new saloon will feature discreet styling tweaks compared with the other versions of the company’s flagship model. It’s easy to see the large (19-inch?) alloy wheels with Audi Sport-branded brake calipers lurking behind, while the rear bumper has been modified to accommodate the quad exhaust tips.
The prototype sits very low and appears to be glued to the road while powersliding through the numerous corners of the famous track. Interestingly, judging by the number plate, we've already seen the same car testing at the beginning of May, but with different wheels.
It is believed Audi will adapt the Porsche Panamera Turbo’s twin-turbo 4-litre V8 and rumour has it power will grow over the old S8 by somewhere in the region of 20bhp, which would bring the grand total to around 540bhp. There isn’t going to be an S8 Plus because that role has been reserved for an S8 E-Tron with the same hybrid powertrain as the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. However, don’t expect the beefier S8 version to feature Porsche’s full 680bhp output.
Those with an appetite for larger engines can still get the mighty A8 W12, but bear in mind that this car is a dying breed as Audi has announced the current generation of its luxobarge will be the last to offer a twelve-cylinder engine.
Much like BMW is refusing to make a full-blown M7 to fight Mercedes-AMG’s S63, Audi is steering away from introducing an RS8, opting instead to come out with an RS Q8 now that go-faster luxury SUVs are gaining momentum.