Tired of seeing Mercedes-Benz have all the fun in the full-size performance sedan segment, Audi has come out with a new version of its S8 that’s packing a full 605 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque (553 lb-ft with overboost). The new version is the S8 Plus, and it makes its world debut next month at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show before going on sale in Europe in late November. We’re expecting it in local showrooms in the first half of next year, as a 2016 model.

By comparison, Mercedes’ S63 AMG is dishing out 577 hp, and while Stuttgart’s V-12-equipped S65 has as much as 621 hp on tap, the smaller V-8 of the S8 Plus means the Audi should be a lighter, better-handling car. And don’t forget that all A8 variants feature an aluminum spaceframe body that weighs only 509 lbs in total. Alternatives in this segment include Jaguar’s 550-hp XJR and Porsche’s 570-hp Panamera Turbo S.

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The S8 Plus is powered by the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 found in the standard S8, which rates in at 520 hp. To increase the potency, the engineers dialed up the boost pressure, tweaked the inner geometry of the turbochargers, and modified the exhaust valves.

With its extra urge, Audi says the S8 Plus will hit 62 mph from rest in just 3.8 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph though customers can opt to have this limited raised to 190 mph. The increase in top speed is part of an available Dynamic Package, which also includes carbon-ceramic brake rotors, gray-colored brake calipers, and a sports exhaust system. Standard features include an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, Quattro all-wheel-drive with the Sport Differential, adaptive air suspension, sports-tuned steering, and 21-inch wheels with 275/35 size tires.

2017 Audi S8 Plus

2017 Audi S8 Plus

On the outside, the car can be identified by its rear deck lid spoiler as well as its new front lip spoiler and chunky side skirts. The grille surround gets a gloss black finish, while the honeycomb structure of the side air inlets and radiator screen are in matte black. The trim strips on the side windows and at the rear are also finished in black. Other design traits include darkened tail lights and a gloss black diffuser insert, which has an additional carbon surround. A number of the exterior elements can also be finished in pure carbon. Finally, the S8 Plus gets an exclusive Floret Silver paint finish (shown here).

Inside, contrasting stitching in Arras red is used throughout the black-themed cabin. Accent piping, also in Arras red, trims the sports seats, and the headlining and rear parcel shelf are lined in black Alcantara. Moving to the dash, a contrasting red thread is woven into the surrounding leather-trimmed panels. On the dash itself, piano black elements as well as brushed aluminum feature prominently. Like all Audi S models, the gauge cluster features gray dials with white pointers. The pedals and footrest shine in stainless steel, and there is a decorative red ring on the engine starter button. Finally, an S8 logo is featured on the three-spoke sports steering wheel.

Audi calls the S8 Plus the range-topper of the A8 family, which means it’s likely to be priced higher than the $138,825 A8 6.3 W12. And like all S8 variants, the S8 Plus features the A8’s standard wheelbase length. Stay tuned for pricing and availability information closer to the market launch.

This year’s Frankfurt Auto Show gets underway September 15. For more from the show, head to our dedicated hub.


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