Mariani may not be a household name in Audi tuning, but if they keep putting out projects like their latest upgrade program for the Audi A8 and S8, they're likely to grow a following. Combining clean aesthetics with respectable performance upgrades, the Mariani Audi S8 improves on the original.

In most respects, anyway - the 60mm lower-than-stock ride height threatens to make every curb, driveway, parking lot entry and moderate swell in the road into a 3mph hazard. But aside from that, and possibly the Euro-stretch treatment of the tire/wheel combo, the Mariani S8 presents a balanced combo for performance driving.

There's definitely no shortage of oomph under the fast pedal, with Mariani adding 51hp (38kW) to the stock 450hp (335kW) 5.2L V10, raising the total to 501hp (373kW). And despite the wide stretch of the rubber over the 19in front and 20in rear alloy wheels, there's plenty of rubber meeting the road - 255 width up front, 305 in the rear - for good forward lateral traction.

The package is also available for the standard A8, neglecting the power boost to the V10 engine, of course. The extremely low stance gives a wide look that's sleek on the street, but paired with stiff springs and aftermarket shocks, might prove a bit much for the daily grind, however, leaving it best suited to the application chosen by Mariani - a low-slung, hard-driving monster of a touring sedan.