The recent Audi S8 rocked the luxury car world upon its launch for the 2013 model year. How could a car so long, so luxurious, and so spacious achieve the 3.5 second 0-60 mph time and razor-sharp handling? Few luxury sedans can rival the S8, thanks to its turbocharged V8, Quattro AWD, and a host of high-end features. However, Audi engineers have not been resting, as the S8 and its A8 counterpart see a refresh for 2015 at this year’s 2014 North American International Auto Show.
The changes to the S8/A8 are mostly minor updates. The S8 will see a revised sports exhaust system, providing an even more raspy engine tone for passengers and bystanders. 20″ wheels will also be available on both the A8 and S8, though the much-awaited Matrix LED lighting system, allowing the driver to use high beams without blinding other drivers, won’t be an option yet. Lighting regulations are still too stringent. Nonetheless, all exterior lights on the S8/A8 will be LED.
Most importantly, however, the S8/A8 both receive updated collision avoidance systems, with the night vision systems now able to recognize pedestrians and animals. In addition, radar-directed secondary collision assist with heads-up display and Active Lane Keeping Assist will be new options on the S8/A8. A new autonomous parallel park feature will be available on the as well, making the new S8/A8 much more technologically advanced than its predecessor.
Engine choices remain the same for the 2015 model year, but see slight power increases. The A8 receives a base 3.0-liter supercharged V6 good for 333 horsepower, while the more powerful 4.0T A8 will receive a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 producing 435 horsepower (15 more than the 2014 model). The high-performance S8 will receive a tuned variant of the 4.0T engine, with power remaining at a lofty 520 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque available from just 1,700 RPM. In addition, the powerful Bentley-sourced W12 also is an option on the A8, producing a healthy 500 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. Economically-minded drivers will opt for the A8 TDI, sporting a meager 240 horsepower, but a massive 406 lb.-ft. of torque. Quattro AWD is, of course, standard on all A8/S8s.
Though little has changed on Audi’s newest flagship variant, that’s just the way we like it. The “old” A8 and S8 were some of the most well-built, high-performing, and luxurious vehicles on the road, and Audi certainly has the right idea by not overhauling what is already an excellent product.
Watch the 2015 Audi S8 debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show: