Italian supercar manufacturer Lamborghini lent its engine expertise to Audi when the German developed the V10 for its new luxury flagship, the S8 quattro.
The new S8 quattro, shown for the first time at the Tokyo Motor Show swhich opened last week, has a 10-cylinder FSI petrol engine developed using the Lamborghini Gallardo’s as its foundation.
The car will go on sale in 2006.
Smaller, lighter and with fewer friction-generating components than a comparable 12-cylinder unit, the new 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine has a performance-biased pedigree.
Maximum power is 450bhp, delivered at 7000rpm, and peak torque of 540Nm comes on stream at 3500rpm, though up to 90 percent of that is available from 2300rpm.
Audi says the S8 will hit 100km/h time in 5.1 seconds. In usual Audi fashion, top speed is limited electronically to 150km/h.
Interestingly, Lamborghini developed the Gallardo’s 5.0-litre V10 in conjunction with Audi (both firms are part of the Volkswagen group). The S8 engine has been redeveloped to meet luxury saloon requirements without diluting its sporting appeal. Changes include fitting it with Audi FSI direct petrol injection for optimum responsiveness and efficiency, and the addition of a balancing shaft for maximum refinement.
Weighing a comparatively low 220kg, the new engine exhibits the same attention to lightweight construction as the bodyshell of the S8 quattro which has all-aluminium panels mounted on an aluminium Audi Space Frame (ASF).
The complete car weighs 1940kg, and a power-to-weight ratio of 232bhp per tonne.
Audi's first ever V10 is mounted in a chassis that combines adaptive air suspension with the latest generation quattro permanent four-wheel drive system.
The 4WD has a rear-drive orientation with a standard front/rear torque split of 40/60.Audi says that helps to optimise axle load distribution for greater agility and steering precision.
The air suspension is based on the Sport set-up offered throughout the A8 range,bjut with firmer damping and a 20mm ride height reduction in each of its four modes. The system has been modified for the S8 quattro to suit its even more pronounced sporting bias, with revisions to the suspension mounts and to the shock absorbers within the air-spring bellows. The speed dependent Servotronic power steering has also been sharpened and has fewer turns lock-to-lock.
The wheels are 20-inch S-designs shod with 265/35 ZR 20 tyres.
The brakes are massive - 375mm at the front, 325mm at the rear. High performance ceramic brakes will also be available as an option, offering vastly improved temperature tolerance and an operating life of up to 298,000 kilometrees in everyday use – four times the lifespan of a steel disc.
The S8 has adaptive lighting that only the W12 A8 models share as standard. The xenon plus headlights incorporate additional static turning lights and dynamic cornering lights that respond to steering inputs to light the driver’s path through corners.
Inside the S8 are full leather upholstery with seat centre panels, side sections and headrests in contrasting colours, a three-spoke S quattro steering wheel with aluminium look gearshift paddles and facia inlays in either brushed aluminium or carbon fibre.