Although development of a new generation of its flagship sedan is well underway, Audi has introduced an ultra-performance version of the current S8. Set to debut next month at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Audi S8 Plus "defines the pinnacle of sporty performance in the segment," according to Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi AG. He adds, "That's why 'Plus' appears in its name." No final decision has been made on U.S. sales of the S8 Plus, however, an Audi source indicates that we'll "likely" see the car here sometime in 2016 as a 2017 model.  

Sharpening the aggressive edge 

The Audi S8 Plus boasts a fortified version of the S8's 4.0-liter twin-turbo TFSI V8 that benefits from control module tweaks that modify speed and boost, different exhaust valves, a freer-flowing exhaust system and revised internal geometry in the turbo units. The engine's horsepower rating rises from 513 to 595 and sustained peak torque from 481 to 516 lb-ft. Torque can hit 553 lb-ft for shorter periods thanks to an overboost capability. Backed by an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and a Quattro AWD package with a sport differential, this natural rival to the Mercedes-AMG S63 accelerates to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds, making it the quickest S8 ever. And while electronically limited to 155 mph, the top speed can be optionally raised to 189 mph. 

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To take full advantage of that extra power, the Audi S8 Plus complements its uprated adaptive air suspension and dynamic steering with carbon-fiber reinforced ceramic brakes that feature anthracite-gray calipers and unique 21-inch lightweight alloy wheels wrapped in 275/35 performance tires. 

Powerful visual presence 

The Audi S8 Plus cranks up its curb appeal with Matrix LED headlamps -- although only in Germany -- along with bolder front and rear fascia detailing as well as gloss black accents on the mirrors, rear diffuser and window trim strips. It's a similar story inside, where unique trim bits set off full leather/Alcantara trappings, a Bose sound system, MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch and 4-zone climate control. The 2016 Audi S8 Plus goes on sale this November in Europe with a base price equivalent to $158,350.

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