The Audi S8 Plus: Autobahn Destroyer

Is there anything more German than an otherwise everyday car, equipped with an engine powerful enough to propel a rocket ship? I'm not so sure. For years, Audi, BMW and Mercedes have competed to see who can do the best job of taking their respective sedans, station wagons, and other commuter cars and turning them into fire-breathing, supercar-embarrassing monsters. Audi's latest entry into this unnecessary, yet wonderful, segment of the automotive world is this, the new S8 Plus. Don't worry, it's more exciting than it looks.

The standard S8 isn't exactly a slow car, as its 4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 packs 516 horsepower while pushing the car towards its limited 155 mph top speed. But, for some of its customers, that just wasn't enough, and Audi has responded to such demand with something a bit crazy. The S8 Plus is powered by the same engine as before, but now produces a whopping 597 horsepower and 553 lb ft of torque. This is enough to hurl the massive sedan from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. That's as fast as a V10 Porsche Carrera GT. The acceleration isn't the only thing improved in "Plus" guise either, as the S8's top speed has been raised from 155 to a somewhat-terrifying 190 mph. That top speed jump comes courtesy of Audi's "Dynamic Package," which also includes a sports exhaust and a set of carbon ceramic brakes. Basically what Audi's done with this car is said "Not to worry, Mr. or Mrs. business executive, you'll never be late to work again."

Admittedly, I've never found the S8 to be a very exciting car, but this changes my thinking quite a bit. Before, if given the money, I'd take it to the nearest Mercedes dealership and buy an S63 AMG. Now, on the other hand, I'd make sure to schedule a test drive of one of these first. So bravo, Audi, for taking something that didn't need to exist, and making it awesome.