The Audi 'urban concept car' will be joined on the Ingolstadt firm’s 10m-euro showstand in Frankfurt by no fewer than four new S models; namely the S6, S6 Avant, S7 Sportback and the S8.
The models being replaced (three of the four, since this is the first generation S7) will downsize from a 5.2-litre V10 to a twin-turbocharged V8 engine - a more frugal solution with equivalent power for the S6 saloon and Avant, the S8 actually gaining another 69bhp.
To achieve this, the quartet’s new 4.0-litre TFSI V8 employs advanced technology such as energy recuperation and start/stop, as well as a cylinder-deactivation feature which is similar in principle to the one used in the new Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG. These technologies give the new S models an official Combined fuel consumption figure of up to 29mpg – or 21mpg in the flagship S8 (a 23% improvement on its predecessor, despite the power increase).
Power for all but the largest of the new cars is 414bhp, with a torque figure of 406lb ft at 1400-5300rpm. The S6 Avant and S7 clear 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds, while the S6 dispatches the magic number 0.1 seconds quicker. However, all are blown away by the 4.2 second, 0-62mph sprint offered by the S8, with its 513bhp and 479lb ft from the same 4.0-litre, leaving some wondering why it hasn’t been badged an 'RS'. Perhaps ‘RS8’ would be too easily confused with the four-ringed supercar?
The S8 once again trumps its less potent siblings in the gearbox department, with an eight-speed tiptronic taking the place of their seven-speed S-Tronic. All new S models send their power to all four wheels through a Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which is paired to a self-locking centre-differential. The standard sports differential in the S8 can also be specified as an option for the other models, as can the 360° parking system with four cameras. S8 customers will also be able to tick off adaptive cruise control, carbon ceramic brakes and 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, should they choose to do so.
An intriguing method of improving refinement will be included as standard on all of the new models. The Active Noise Cancellation System takes effect when the cylinder deactivation is in operation, with four microphones monitoring noise inside the cabin. Any ‘intrusive sound elements’ are then counteracted by broadcasting an antiphase sound through the speakers of the sound system. While we’re yet to hear (or not) the system in action, we certainly like the idea.
The quartet will debut at the IAA alongside a hybrid A8 and a host of other important cars to be revealed at the show. The order book in the UK for the new S models will open towards the end of the year, with the first vehicles being delivered in Q1 2012.