LAUNCHED only four months ago, the 2010 Audi A8 will soon be joined by the range-topping S8 - the line-up's performance model.
Spied on the roads around Germany's Nurburgring, this A8-styled prototype gave little away as to its identity except for its larger brakes and dual exhaust tips protruding from the rear bumper.
Little is known about the new S8's powerplant. The current model's 5.2 litre V10 is expected to be dropped in favour of a smaller V8 - likely a version of the 330kW 4.2 litre V8 driving the Audi RS5. The same engine, detuned to produce 260kW, powers the previous A5 headliner, the S5.
Stefan Sielaff, Audi's design director, confirmed recently that the styling of the next-generation S8 will influence future S and RS models in the German luxury marque's line-up, with greater differentiation between regular models and their high-performance siblings.
The new S8 is expected to debut early next year as a 2011 model.