Audi S8 plus TFSI

quattro

Audi S8 plus, front, action
Audi S8 plus, front
Audi S8 plus, rear
Audi S8 plus, rear, action
Audi S8 plus, interior

WHEN it comes to a wolf in sheep's clothing there's little to touch the new Audi S8 plus.

At a quick glance it looks more like a very upmarket saloon than a high performance supercar, geared to appeal to the businessman or woman who, if not at the top of their profession are certainly well on their way.

And that's the group that the Audi A8, on which this car is based, is also aimed.

But those executives who want something rather more extreme under the bonnet go for the more sporting S8 - or if they really want ultimate power the S8 plus.

For this classy but understated saloon boasts a 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine producing a colossal 605ps or 595bhp.

That's enough to rocket it from standstill to 62 miles per hour in just 3.8 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155 miles per hour.

With a price tag just shy of £100,000 it's not for everyone. In fact even the standard 520ps S8 only accounts for 10 per cent of the total A8 market with the S8 plus commanding just three per cent of that, so you don‘t see too many of them around.

Even if you did you probably wouldn't notice because while they carry S8 badging there is no "plus" badge to highlight just how special they are.

Most manufacturers producing a car with this sort of performance would be adding spoilers and body kit galore to shout about its prowess but Audi prefers to play it cool.

There are distinguishing features, like unique 21-inch alloys wheels and a carbon fibre front spoiler lip and side flaps but you need to know your cars to pick up on them.

It's only the driver who really benefits from a saloon which is a match for almost anything on the road when it comes to sheer brutal performance.

Drop the gearshift into sport mode and hit the accelerator and this beauty just takes off, pinning you into the back of your seat.

But the nice thing is how it does it in such style, comfort and silence.

Often cars boasting this sort of performance, while being enjoyable, can be hard work. The S8 plus delivers as much performance as anyone could ever desire but in the most civilised manner.

And if you opt to drive it in a less frenetic manner it's quite happy to potter along on the school run or weekly shopping trip and actually rewards you by cutting power to four of its eight cylinders.

Hit the accelerator again, however, and the response from all eight is instant.

As you would expect from a car of this price the interior is very plush indeed, with black valcona leather comfort sports seats and piano black inlays on the doors.

The car also came with a head-up display (an extra £1,340) showing speed, satellite navigation instructions etc in the windscreen so you don't have to take your eyes off the road, a good feature with a car this quick.

The eight-speed tiptronic gearbox is ultra smooth and seamless and can be used in normal drive mode, sport or manually using the paddles behind the steering wheel.

There are a multitude of choices when it comes to setting the ride and handling and you can even select the exhaust note at the touch of a button.

The S8 plus is certainly a car which offers executive style comfort, luxury and space in a car which can be set to your own individual requirements and mood on the day.

FAST FACTS

Audi S8 plus TFSI quattro

Price: £98,125

Mechanical: 595bhp, 3,993cc, 8cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 3.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 28.2

Insurance Group: 50

C02 emissions: 231g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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