By on July 3, 2019

The Audi S8 has always been the Q-ship of choice for those who wanted a luxurious sports sedan that flew under the radar of untrained eyes. For the 2020 model year, Audi increases the output to 563 horsepower, but retains the understated nature of the cosmetic upgrades.

Though the pictures shown are of the European short-wheelbase S8, only the long-wheelbase version will be arriving on U.S. shores. Sent to the Quattro all-wheel drive system through a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, the twin-turbo V8 engine is supplemented by a 48-volt mild hybrid system. The combined power of 563 hp and 590 ft-lbs is an increase of 103 hp and 103 ft-lbs over the standard A8’s twin-turbo V8. 

While the A8 offers active anti-roll bars, they are tuned to further reduce body roll in the S8 application. Additionally, rear-wheel steering and a torque-vectoring rear differential are standard, while carbon-ceramic brakes are optional.

Exterior enhancements are limited to refined bumpers, side skirts, and dual exhaust outlets at the rear. Interior enhancements add diamond-stitched leather to the sport seats, as well as carbon fiber and matte aluminum to the trim work.

Audi has not confirmed whether the nitrous system from the S8 in the movie Ronin will be available in the 2020 model, but base pricing is expected to start well over $100,000 when the car goes on sale later this year so you’d think they could afford to include it.

While it may lack some power vs the competition from BMW and AMG, the more reserved Audi serves as the choice of a self-content owner who drives a sport sedan for their own pleasure, rather than for the attention from others. But, if past history is to predict the future, an S8 Plus may follow to play in the over 600 hp sandbox.

[Images: Audi]

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16 Comments on “2020 Audi S8 Adds Power and Handling, Retains Reserved Teutonic Looks...”

  • avatar

    The Prologue Concept from 2014 was so much more dynamic and interesting looking that what we ended up getting. While the A8 is nice, in a refined, restrained kind of way, I cannot imagine picking this over an S-Class or even better, Panamera.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t agree at all, the Panamera is lumpy and misshapen to my eyes.

      This to me is the best looking vehicle in the class when both interior and exterior are considered. I’d have a hard time picking anything else.

  • avatar


    I am told that the “Mack truck” front end look is due to pedestrian impact safety concerns.

    If that is the case how does the Tesla S (which does not have a vertical front and is the best looking high end vehicle out there IMO) get a pass?

    Doubt it is for engine cooling since in the past lots of high output cars did not need the large grill.

    These front ends on passenger cars should have disappeared with the 1970s RR.

    • 0 avatar

      According to C/D they asked BMW about the huge grille on the new 7-Series and they responded that Chinese customers like giant front ends and China is the biggest market for luxury sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      Andre Robinson

      Pedestrian safety standards mandate there is a certain measurement of empty space between the closed hood and the top of the engine. Most manufacturers responded by raising the hood, which makes the front “face” taller. Since the electric engine of the Tesla is smaller (I think) and has less in the way of accessories (I think) than a “normal” engine, the height of the hood can be lower, while still having some space from the engine. The lack of a traditional transmission may also help position the engine lower, but I am less certain.

  • avatar

    We should all be happy this TTV8 large sedan exists, and has as much power as an Aston Martin Rapide but costs $80,000 less.

    • 0 avatar

      Detroit used to make large V8 RWD sedans, and they cost $80,000 less than the S8! Average people with families could actually afford them. Now they buy V8, RWD 4-door pickups and they cost $60,000 less than the S8.

      • 0 avatar

        You’re really comparing apples, oranges, and pepperoni there. domestic sedans of the past that cost $20,000 did have 8 cylinders, but they weren’t very similar to this S8 in any way except said cylinder count.

        Build quality

        All different.

        • 0 avatar

          Naw, a 560-hp A8 that’ll run 60 in about four seconds and top out at 180 is totally comparable to a 170-hp ’75 Impala with a bench vinyl seat, crank windows, and no A/C.

          • 0 avatar

            What I think we need is a 560hp sedan with a vinyl bench seat and crank windows (I’ll spring for the A/C though).

  • avatar

    VW/Audi still make some stylish vehicles. They haven’t gone completely overboard. This is one of the most (if not *the* most) attractive sedans for sale.

  • avatar

    It looks like Ford Fusion from front and back, which in turn looks like AM/Jaguar, which in turn looks like…

    Looks stale. Fusion itself did not change much since 2013. But Audi design is the same for several decades.

  • avatar

    The prior gen of Audis had better grille and headlight designs.

    They even kinda muffed up the A7/S7 which was (prior-gen) the best-looking Audi model.

    1,330 A8/S8’s sold during the 1st half.

  • avatar

    The one piece taillight doesn’t work here, but otherwise I like it.

    Then again, I’ll never afford it so the point is moot.

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