Pretty much a supercar disguised as a fullsize luxury sedan, the next-generation Audi S8 was spotted for the first time towards the end of September 2016 while stretching out near the Nürburgring. Fast forward to present day, another heavily camouflaged prototype has been caught by the spy camera in an entirely different environment while conducting cold-weather testing in northern Europe.

The obvious sign we’re looking at the performance version is at the back where the car was not shy to show off its provisional exhaust system with four tips. Other than that, the test vehicle appears to be a fairly standard 2018 A8 hiding its evolutionary design underneath the swirly camo, which will finally come off in time for the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. However, we will have to wait some time for the hotter derivative since the S8 won’t be introduced from day one as the peeps from Ingolstadt will want to wait at least several months before spicing up the range.

2019 Audi S8 spy photo
2019 Audi S8 spy photo

It’s too soon to say what will power the S8, but our money is on Porsche’s newly developed biturbo 4.0-liter V8 available in the latest Panamera Turbo where it churns a meaty 550 horsepower (404 kilowatts) and 567 pound-feet (770 Newton-meters) of torque. It’s highly unlikely the standard S8 will have more oomph than the model with the Porsche crest, but a potential “Plus” version due to come out later in the model’s life cycle will definitely up the power ante. After all, the outgoing S8 Plus already has a monstrous 605 hp (445 kW).

Even though Audi has plans for an expanded RS portfolio, for the time being an RS8 does not seem to be on the agenda. As a consequence, chances are the S8 Plus will once again serve as the hottest version, unless you consider the W12-powered model as the range topper. Speaking of which, the twelve-cylinder A8 will use a newly developed biturbo 6.0-liter that made its debut in the 608-hp Bentley Bentayga.

Photos: Automedia

Gallery: 2019 Audi S8 spy photos

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