Audi has unveiled what it claims is the most powerful production saloon in the world – a 12-cylinder, 6.0-litre range-topping A8 L 6.0 quattro.
It goes on sale in Germany this month costing the equivalent of £70,000.
The engine is capable of powering the new A8 L 6.0 quattro from rest to 62mph in 5.8 seconds, from rest to 124mph (where conditions allow) in 20 seconds and to an electronically limited 155mph top speed in only 38 seconds.
But it also complies with EU 4 emissions limits, due to come into force in 2005, thanks in part to its six three-way catalytic converters
To create the “ultimate luxury Audi”, the W12 engine has been installed in the long wheelbase version of the A8, which is 130mm longer than the standard car and provides rear seat passengers with an impressive 70mm of extra legroom, plus additional head, elbow and shoulder room.
The new A8 L 6.0 quattro (pictured) features a unique radiator grille design with vertical chrome bars and a W12 emblem, which is also to be found on the side rubbing strips and, inside the car, just above the glove box. It is also given added road presence by 18-inch, 10-hole alloy wheels with 245/55 ZR 18 tyres.
Fitted as standard are front airbags for the driver and front passenger and side airbags for all outer seat occupants, plus the Sideguard head airbag protection system, which covers almost the entire side window area in the event of a side impact. The Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) also backs up the quattro four-wheel-drive system, giving maximum driver control.
The W12 engine, in common with Audi's V8 TDI unit, will not be fitted to right-hand-drive versions of the current A8 saloon, but will form part of the UK line-up of future generation A8 models.