Update 1/12/2009: It looks like Audi has had a change of heart and has now confirmed plans for an S8 for 2011.
Update 16/04/2010: And to completely trash this article, we now have confirmation that the 2011 Audi A8 L will come complete with W12. Oh, well. We’re right more that we’re wrong. Thankfully.
Sad to see, but it looks like Audi has made the decision to get rid of the cars that sit at the very top of its saloon range – the Audi A8 W12 and the Audi S8.
The next generation of Audi’s big saloon is on the way, and expected to be revealed pretty soon, with the car going in to production in 2010. But it seems that Audi are no longer going to take the fight to Mercedes and BMW (and Jaguar, with the new Jaguar XJR) in the uber-performance big saloon market.
There are three ways of looking at this.
1. Audi is being a responsible manufacturer in these constrained and eco-aware times, and has decided that it cannot continue to produce profligate uber-saloons with huge engines and performance (not to mention the emissions – don’t forget the emissions!). It has therefore decided that commencing in 2010 it will no longer supply the A8/S8 with the engine it deserves.
2. Despite trying as hard as it can, Audi has finally conceded that it is not capable of manufacturing and marketing premium luxury saloon cars to compete with the best from Mercedes and BMW. It concedes that the BMW 760i (in standard and long wheelbase versions) is a far superior car. Further, Audi believes it cannot ever compete against the Mercedes S63 AMG, never mind the Mercedes S65 AMG. So what’s the point of continuing to build a car that people don’t want.
3. Audi is a victim of its own success. So good is the Audi A8 W12, and the Audi S8, that it is causing big problems within the VW Group. Bentley are unravelling at the moment and struggling to sell anything. Porsche has to make the Panamera work. Audi’s big A8 with a powerful W12 and its S8 with an equally powerful (almost) V10, undermines both Porsche and Bentley. Ergo, no more super powerful A8s.
Take your pick. I know which I’d go for.