Frankfurt 2013: Audi reinvigorates its full-size luxury offerings with new A8 and S8 models

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Audi will offer an A8 Hybrid, which mates together a 2.0-liter four with an electric motor for a total of 245 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque.

The ‘new’ Audi A8 and S8 models are gorgeous but they aren’t really new. What is new, however, are the exteriors, interiors, and engines.

Audi will tell you that the new A8 and S8 are new. And they are, kind of. Underneath, they’re the same. It’s just the rest of the bits that are new.

Up front, Audi makes a big deal about its Matrix Beam headlights, which we won’t see here in America because they’re currently illegal. Don’t get us started…

So onto the engines: the A8 will be offered with three gasoline engines: a supercharged 3.0 TFSI producing 310 horsepower and a V8 twin-turbo 4.0 TFSI producing 435 horsepower. At the top of the range, the 6.3-liter W12 engine continues along into the refreshed A8 with 500 horsepower.

As we already know, Audi is keen on diesel taking hold across its line. Accordingly, the A8 can be spec’d with a 3.0 TDI engine good for an impressive 39.87 mpg by U.S. standards.

From there, Audi will also offer an A8 Hybrid, which mates together a 2.0-liter four with an electric motor for a total of 245 horsepower and 354.03 pound-feet of torque. Clearly, then, this won’t be a power hybrid. In traditional hybrid form, it aims at fuel economy, in which it excels. The A8 Hybrid is expected to achieve 37.34 mpg by U.S. standards.

Then we finally have the car you’ve all come here to read about: the new S8. Audi takes its 4.0 TFSI and squeezes from it 520 horsepower, which is sent to all four wheels through the infamous quattro all-wheel drive system. 62 mph is conquered in just 4.1 seconds. Audi says this is the fastest car currently in the full-size sedan market. Just wait a few hours, though, and the new Mercedes-Benz S550 is sure to stomp it.

If you’re wondering about transmission options, don’t. Every A8 and S8 comes standard with Audi’s eight-speed auto.

On the interior, it’s the same story you’ve come to expect: a sea of gorgeous leather and wooden bits. The interesting stuff, though, is tucked behind the well-crafted dash. Audi will include its clever MMI system with LTE WLAN hotspot capabilities with Google Earth and Google Street View. Notably, however, you can get this standard on Audi’s entry-level sedan the A3 in the American market very soon. So don’t feel too fancy in your wide-body German land ship, there, Fritz.