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Audi’s big sedan, the A8, will typically be consigned to chauffeur duties, but the S8 here has a slightly different remit – to entertain the driver as well. Kicking things off for the new S8 is the new styling, and as with the S7 spied testing earlier, it adopts styling cues from the Prologue Concept such as the wider front grille and redesigned, more angular headlamps.

S8-specific visual cues are still scarce here, save for the quad exhaust pipes and larger wheels, as well as deeper front and rear bumpers. When the upcoming Audi A8 is launched, it will be the marque’s first series-production car capable of piloted driving, which will see the vehicle steer itself at speeds of up to 60 km/h; the high-performance S8 variant here can be expected to adopt a similar suite of autonomous driving capabilities.

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The upcoming S8 seen here testing in and around the Nurburgring is said to use the 3.0 litre turbocharged V6 engine that will also serve in the upcoming S7 with over 450 PS on offer. However, the S8 can be expected to use a torque converter automatic transmission instead of the dual-clutch unit in the S7 in the interests of greater refinement. As with Audi’s performance models, quattro all-wheel drive is a given.

In line with the company’s plans for rolling out new technology, the S8 seen here can be expected to also adopt the new 48-volt electrical architecture, as with the Volkswagen Group’s recently launched products such as the Audi SQ7 TDI and the Bentley Bentayga Diesel.