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2013 Audi S8 View Engine (Photo 2 of 25)

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For 2013, the Audi S8 returns to the lineup, sporting a twin-turbo V8 and all the luxury features one could want in a flagship luxury performance sedan. The 2013 Audi S8 will bring added performance to Audi's flagship, the already sublime A8 luxury sedan.

After taking a few years off, Audi's big performance sedan returns stronger and quicker than ever. The 2013 Audi S8 features a twin-turbocharged V8, just like its S6 and S7 siblings. But in S8 trim, it makes considerably more power -- 520 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. That's enough muscle to (according to Audi) allow the S8 sprint to 60 mph in a blindingly quick 3.9 seconds. At 19 mpg for combined city/highway driving, the S8 is also relatively frugal with fuel, considering its size and blistering performance.

Naturally, the S8 is not some one-dimensional brute. Polished road manners come via a sport-tuned air suspension (with three levels of damping and five driver-selectable modes) that provides a comfortable ride and sporty handling. As with the regular A8 on which the S8 is based, aluminum is used extensively throughout the car's structure -- only the B-pillars are made of high-strength steel. As a result, the S8 weighs about 4,600 pounds, which isn't bad for a full-size, all-wheel-drive luxury sedan loaded up with luxury and safety features.

As expected, the S8 offers traditional Audi ambience within, boasting tasteful combinations of colors, textures and accents. Pampering features in this land-locked Lear jet include front seats that both cool and massage their occupants. The cabin's serenity is assured via dual-pane side windows and active noise cancellation (which uses the audio system to emit inaudible frequencies that cancel out tire and wind noise). All the better to enjoy the available 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system as it delivers 1,400 watts of enveloping sonic clarity.

A twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with 520 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque powers the S8. Managing all this power are an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Audi claims the S8 can sprint from zero to 60 mph 3.9 seconds, which is even quicker than the company's speedy R8 exotic sports car. Equally impressive is the fact that this engine is 16 percent more powerful than the engine it replaces even as it delivers a peak improvement in fuel efficiency of 27 percent. Thanks to a very refined example of cylinder deactivation technology, the S8 is capable of 15 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.