Audi South Africa has confirmed it does not plan to offer the fourth-generation A8 flagship sedan range on local shores, although the S8 variant is still on the cards.

When the Ingolstadt-based firm’s local arm shared its latest product plans in June 2020, we noticed the standard A8 range was missing, while the S8 was listed to arrive early in 2021. For the record, the third-gen A8 quietly left the company's local price list towards the end of 2019.

Now Audi SA has explained its decision to go only with the performance derivative for the latest generation.

“The Audi A8 range has been rationalised to offer the best-suited model to our market, based on dynamics around customer demand and D-sedan segment performance,” the firm told CARmag.co.za.

“For this reason, the performance model of the range will be offered in quarter one 2021 as part of our local line-up.”

The D5-generation A8 was revealed as long ago as 2017, conceived to battle the likes of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. We drove the A8 50 TDI variant in Spain soon after the unveiling and walked away suitably impressed.

The latest S8, meanwhile, was unwrapped in mid-2019, powered by a twin-turbo 4,0-litre V8 petrol engine delivering 420 kW and 800 N.m to all four wheels.