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Audi Expands Flagship Lineup for 2020 With S8 Performance Variant, A8 Hybrid

Audi’s flagship sedan, the A8, will get some new company at the top end of the showroom for the 2020 model year with two new variants: the high-performance S8 and a new plug-in hybrid model called the A8 TFSI e. The gasoline A8 will also add a new, turbocharged V-8 engine to the mix, which joins the extant turbo V-6.

Related: More 2019 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

2020 Audi S8

As you might expect, the S8 gets a larger engine with more power — in this case a turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that makes 563 horsepower and 590 pounds-feet of torque. Mated to standard all-wheel drive, the powertrain hustles the big sedan to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds en route to a top track speed of 155 mph.

It also has upgrades underneath, including all-wheel steering, a sport differential and an adaptive suspension that can prepare in real time for road imperfections ahead, as intuited by sensors. To show that this is an S model and it means business, it gets aggressive styling elements such as quad exhaust tips, prominent side sills and 21-inch wheels.

The S8 makes its U.S. debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show.

2020 Audi A8 60 TFSI e

It was only a matter of time until the S8 came out, but the hybrid is a bit of a surprise — and it will be a plug-in hybrid at that. The A8’s turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine combines with an electric motor integrated into the torque converter to produce a total system output of 443 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque. That’s up 108 hp and 147 pounds-feet of torque over the A8’s base engine, a turbo V-6, and it means that the hybrid is actually 0.7 second quicker to 60 mph (4.9 versus 5.6 seconds).

The electric motor draws power from a 14.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which comprises 104 individual cells tucked beneath the luggage compartment. No word yet on whether this reduces the size of the fuel tank, but that’s one of many questions on the A8 TFSI e right now. Audi says fuel economy and pricing will come later, but it also didn’t specify if the TFSI e would have any all-electric range, a key characteristic of plug-in hybrids. We also don’t yet know the exact federal or state tax incentives the A8 TFSI e will qualify for. It should be in the neighborhood of $6,700 at the federal level, but check back with us as more details emerge.

2020 Audi A8 60 TFSI

Amid all this, the regular A8 adds a new engine option as well. Joining the V-6 is a turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that makes 453 hp and 487 pounds-feet of torque. If that sounds familiar, it has the same displacement and cylinders as the S8 but a lower power output.

That means the A8 and S8 now come in four available variants, listed with their updated pricing (including destination charges) for 2020 below:

  • A8 55 TFSI (V-6 engine): $86,195
  • A8 60 TFSI (V-8 engine): $97,795
  • S8: $130,495
  • A8 60 TFSI e (hybrid): TBD

No word yet on when these models will start to hit dealerships.

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