Killarney Raceway – CAR Journalist Sean Parker joins Ryan O’Connor with two very special performance executive sedans from Europe. From Ingolstadt is the Audi S8 Quattro Tiptronic which uses a twin-turbocharged 4,0-litre V8 mill that produces 420 kW and 800 N.m of torque.
The Italian contender is the Maserati Quattroporte which employs a slightly smaller twin-turbocharged 3,0-litre V6 that produces 301 kW and 547 N.m of torque to the rears via an eight-speed torque converter. The two contenders battle it out in a good old-fashioned drag race but to put the two sedans to the test of practicality, a special boot test is also conducted.
The Ingolstadt-based firm has fitted its flagship Audi S8 model with automatically actuated flaps in the exhaust system and an active noise cancellation set-up integrated into the sound system. The Audi S8 saloon furthermore boasts “predictive” active suspension, all-wheel steering and a rear sport differential.
The drive select system, meanwhile, offers five operating modes, including a new “Comfort +” profile that tilts the body into bends (by as much as three degrees). Inside, you’ll find sport seats (complete with pneumatically adjustable side bolsters and three-stage heating), Audi’s signature virtual cockpit, a raft of driver assistance systems and the firm’s latest dual-touchscreen infotainment system. For the Quattroporte, an electrically adjustable air shutter has also been added to the front grille, between the air vents and the radiator.
This provides “optimal” control of the engine’s fluid temperature and, together with the new front and rear bumpers, air conveyor and flat bottom, improves the aerodynamic drag of the car by 10 per cent, according to Maserati. All Quattroporte models are furthermore now equipped with an air quality sensor, part of a system that calculates the external pollution levels and prevents polluted air and toxic gases from entering the cabin.