Triple S launch from Audi at Frankfurt

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Audi S6 Avant
Audi will unveil three hot S cars at the Frankfurt motor show: S6, S7 and S8. Well, it's actually four if you count the S6 saloon and estate separately.

All will get power from a brand new twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8, concocted with a little help from the boys at Bentley. It's tuned to develop 414bhp in the S6 (saloon and Avant) and S7, and a whopping 512bhp in the S8.

Progress means that as well as being extremely fast, each is more economical that its predecessor (where there is one). The S6 saloon will hit 62mph from zero in 4.8 seconds, while the S6 Avant and S7 will crack it in 4.9. The S8 hits the benchmark in a non-limo-like 4.2 seconds. All are limited to 155mph.

In the S6, fuel consumption improves by up to 25 percent compared to the old V10 version, now 29.1mpg combined. The S7 posts the same fuel economy, while the S8 fares slightly worse at 27.7mpg.

Naturally, each of the newcomers gets a quattro four-wheel drive setup, but while the S6 and S7 feed power through a seven-speed dual clutch S tronic gearbox, the S8 gets an eight-speed tiptronic auto. All get adaptive chassis setups.

New tech on the flagship performance motors includes an ingenious active noise cancellation system. Using microphones buried in the headlining, it picks up cabin noise and feeds it back to software that sends an antiphase sound through the car stereo, cancelling the offending noise out.

Consumption is improved with start-stop and with cylinder shut-off, which closes four of the eight cylinders when cruising, "for an efficiency gain that is particularly pronounced at moderate highway speeds", according to Audi.

No official release date for the new S cars yet, but expect the order books to open well before Santa comes.