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New Audi S6, S7 and S8 announced

High-performance models launch at Frankfurt Show

Audi S6 saloon

The S6 saloon is one of Audi’s four new models launching at the Frankfurt Motor Show

Audi has announced no less than four new ‘S’ high performance models that will debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The new S6 saloon and S6 Avant will be joined on the Audi stand at Frankfurt by the S7 and the S8. All are powered by a new 4.0-litre TFSI twin-turbocharged V8 engine labelled V8T.

View our guide to the Frankfurt Motor Show 2011

New 4.0 V8T: cylinders on demand

The new engine replaces a non-turbo 5.2-litre V10 that was fitted to previous versions of the S6 and S8.

The 4.0-litre turbo is more powerful, but also up to 25% more efficient. Helping it achieve this is not only a state-of-the-art twin-turbocharger assembly with start-stop and brake energy ‘recuperation’ technology, but a new ‘cylinder on demand’ capability.

Audi S6 Avant

The S6 Avant will get the new 4.0-litre TFSI engine

This allows the engine to run on just four cylinders when full performance isn’t required – a trick that’s been seen before on some American V8s, but is employed by Audi with a typically high-tech twist.

Audi has gone to great engineering lengths to make sure this fuel saving imbalance doesn’t pass any unfortunate vibrations or harshness on to the passengers, including fitting a new dual-mass flywheel with ‘centrifugal force pendulum’ (like that used on the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon for a similar purpose), flaps in the exhaust system, and – get this – electronically controlled engine bearings. These use ‘targeted counterpulses’ to tune out low frequency vibrations.

Since that clearly wasn’t enough, Audi has also installed an Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) system that uses four microphones in the headlining to analyse cabin noises; if an unpleasant noise is detected the associated computer plays an ‘antiphase’ sound through the stereo system to cancel it out.

Sadly it probably won’t work on the kids’ screaming or the phrase ‘are we there yet’.

Audi S7

The S7 is the sportiest version of the A7 Sportback yet

414bhp for the S6 and S7…

In the S6 Saloon, S6 Avant and the S7 Sportback, the 4.0-litre TFSI produces 414bhp.

This is enough to see the saloon dispatch 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds, the estate in 4.9 seconds and the coupé in 4.7 seconds. All three use the latest quattro four-wheel drive system with seven-speed S tronic gearbox and optional rear sports differential for sharper handling, and all three are limited to 155mph.

Fuel consumption is perhaps even more impressive – a claimed 29.1mpg for the saloon and the coupé, 28.8mpg for the estate. This represents a 25% improvement over the previous model (except the S7, because this is brand new). Lightweight part aluminium construction helps here.

Audi S8

Even Audi’s range-topping A8 isn’t above getting an S badge

…513bhp for the S8

Just to prove that the 4.0 V8T is hardly breaking sweat at that level, however, the S8 with the same engine produces 513bhp.

This is enough to see the luxury saloon hit 62mph in just 4.2 seconds. It’s also some 69bhp more than the previous model, and Audi has also reduced fuel consumption by nearly 23% to a claimed 27.8mpg from 21.4mpg. Again, top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.

The S8 also uses quattro four-wheel drive, but gets the rear sport differential as standard and an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox. With an almost entirely aluminium construction it weighs 1,975kg – relatively light for a car in this sector.

Adaptive air suspension and other gizmos

All four new S models are equipped with adaptive, adjustable air suspension and available with a vast range of gadgets and gizmos.

This includes the Audi MMI infotainment interface, adaptive cruise control with stop and go function, night vision, WiFi connectivity, Bang & Olufsen stereo systems, Audi drive select, dynamic steering and 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels. Suitably sporty modifications have also been made to the outside and inside of each version.

UK pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed.

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