Normally reserved for stuffy "suits" and dowdy number crunchers, Audi's A6 and A8 ranges have been bolstered with the addition of a supercar-inspired 5.2 litre V10 and the distinctive "S" nomenclature.
The Audi S6 (top) and S8 (bottom).
Both the A6 and A8 ranges have been on the local market for some time, and the addition of the more athletic S6 and S8 should gain the brand a band of new fans.
Both cars are powered by a Lamborghini Gallardo- derived V10 that in the Audi models weights just 220 kg. In the S6, a massive 320 kW is developed at 6 800 r/min, while the same motor in the S8 produces 331 kW at 7 000 r/min.
The peak torque figure on both models is 540 Nm at about 3 500 r/min, which implies that these machines are able to take off into the stratosphere with the least amount of strain from their drivers.
Effortless would be the word to best describe these models, with both hitting indecent speeds at merely the brush of an accelerator.
Audi claims the S6 should cover the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 5.2 seconds, slower (on paper only, really) than the S8 which covers the same distance in 5.1 seconds. Both are electronically limited to top ends of 250 km/h.
Audi's six-speed Tiptronic gearbox is standard on both the S6 and S8, though the transmission has been significantly revised for use in these models.
It goes without saying that these performance machines are equipped with Ingolstadt's quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with a 40/60 split through a Torsen differential.
This system proved invaluable in the breathtaking route along the Mpumalanga Lowveld with the S6 in particular, quietly maintained traction through a series of twisty mountain passes.
On the road, both the S6 and the S8 are as composed as one would expect two machines both producing well in excess of 300 kW to be. Point the meaty steering wheel where the car needs to be and it confidently surges ahead, allowing just the slightest hint of understeer to creep in.
If it's possible, the S8 is even more unperturbed than its smaller sibling, and merely allows itself to be guided while squatting through the series of bends.
However, that should not imply that the usually straight-laced Six is a total hooligan in its sportier livery.
Temper your throttle control and the S6 could be as sedate as if taking a Friday stroll to the shops with barely a purr rising from the engine bay where the big V10 is housed.
Show some spirit, and the car takes off like a rocket at the slightest encouragement - bear in mind, too, that a more potent RS6 (powered by a twin-turbo version of this V10) is scheduled for the not-to-distant future.
For now, the S6 is distinguished from the outside by its platinum grey grille, xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, subtle rear spoiler, quad tailpipes, V10 badging and other S bits. Eighteen inch wheels are standard.
Its interior gets new sports seats, three-spoke multifunction S-steering wheel and dashes of carbon fibre trim.
The S8 has daytime running lights integrated into the headlight cluster, additional airdams, 20-inch wheels with special "S" calipers painted black, a subtle boot spoiler and a set of quad tailpipes.
On the inside, the S8 too gets a multifunction S-steering wheel and brushed aluminium or carbon fibre trim. Options specific to the S8 include ceramic brakes (R99 000) or a 14-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system developed specifically for the Audi A8/S8 (R50 000).
The S8 features revised adaptive air suspension that is up to 20mm lower in its normal setting and is varied between three stages.
Both models are sold with Audi's five-year/100 000 Freeway Plan. The S6 costs R806 500, while the S8 costs R979 000.