While many other automakers are content to debut one or maybe two vehicles at the, Audi is introducing three new models to the US for the first time. All three are performance models, focusing on the brand's determination to build a wicked-fast variant for just about every vehicle it produces, including the automaker's whale of a flagship, the A8.
Whether you're looking for a two-seater that's more or less a Lamborghini, an executive sedan that'll blow your boss's toupee straight off his head or a racy-looking hatchback sedan that's almost capable of 200 mph, you'll be able to whet your performance whistle. Save the boring cars for another day.
2017 Audi R8
The Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Huracan are built on the same platform, but the R8 injects a more demure nature into the raging bull's nigh-untamable beast. When it launches in the US early next year, it'll come in two varieties -- the standard 540-horsepower V10, and the slightly more ludicrous, 610-horsepower V10 Plus. Both variants mate their engines to a dual-clutch transmission, with power being routed to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
There's plenty of technology for well-heeled geeks to fawn over, as well, including laser headlights (for European markets only) and Virtual Cockpit, which puts everything -- gauges, infotainment system functionality, the whole hat -- into the driver's gauge cluster. US pricing has still not been announced, but EU customers will pay €165,000 and €187,400 for the V10 and V10 Plus, respectively. Directly converted, that's approximately $179,000 and $202,000.
2016 Audi S8 Plus
Audi turned up the wick on its flagship luxury sedan with the S8 Plus trim, which imbues the standard S8's 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder engine with a good deal more horsepower. The S8 Plus puts out a whopping 605 horsepower -- 85 more than the outgoing S8. Sixty mph arrives in just 3.7 seconds, and those ponies reach the ground by way of an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.
There is plenty of standard equipment in the S8 Plus, like its adaptive sport air suspension, but if you want the pinnacle of luxo-barge performance, opt for the Dynamic Package. That adds racing-ready carbon-ceramic brakes, a carbon lip spoiler, a sport exhaust system and a raised top speed from 155 mph to 190.
The S8 Plus launches in the US in December, with a starting price of $114,900.
2016 Audi RS7 Performance
The RS7 Performance, like the S8 Plus, builds on an already powerful platform. In fact, the two cars have an awful lot in common, like the 4.0-liter eight-cylinder engine and its 605-hp power output. The eight-speed transmission is an S8 Plus carryover, as well. However, being a bit smaller, it's 0.1 seconds faster to 60 mph.
Standard equipment on the RS7 Performance includes carbon-ceramic brakes, adjustable sport suspension, standard sport seats, a redesigned rear bumper and exclusive 21-inch alloy wheels.
The RS7 Performance hits US showrooms in December, as well, but its MSRP is slightly higher at $129,000.