The Audi S8 is this German automaker's flagship performance sedan that has been sold sporadically. Debuting at the start of the new millennium, it was the third Audi for the North American market to bear an "S" badge. Showcasing Audi's performance engineering, S- and RS-badged vehicles compete directly against performance models from divisions like BMW's M and Mercedes-Benz's AMG.
Building on the A8's lightweight aluminum space frame chassis, the S8 adds a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, more powerful brakes and a slightly more aggressive look. Despite being Audi's largest, most luxurious sedan, its combination of a relatively light curb weight, muscular power and the tenacious grip of the car's standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system makes it surprisingly quick and agile. The latter, which obviously optimizes motive traction, is a boon for those who have to drive in inclement weather conditions.
Current Audi S8
Sporting a twin-turbocharged V8 cranking out 520 horsepower, this large flagship sedan can sprint to 60 mph in a claimed 3.9 seconds. Yet considering its size and blindingly quick performance, the S8's fuel economy is pretty good at 19 mpg combined.
Naturally, stunning acceleration is but one facet of this diamond. Road manners are polished thanks to an adjustable, sport-tuned air suspension. As such, the S8 changes direction confidently when pressed on a curvy road, yet delivers a comfortable ride while swallowing up large chunks of interstate. Also helping matters here is the S8's weight of about 4,600 pounds, relatively light in this segment considering the Audi's size, wealth of luxury features and standard all-wheel drive.
Traditionally an Audi strong point, the cabin of the A8 boasts tasteful styling and top-notch fit and finish. A few highlights of this plush sanctuary include dual-pane side windows that, along with active noise-cancelling technology, ensure serenity, while heated, cooled and massaging front seats make long trips a joy. Should you wish to break the silence, there's an available Bang & Olufsen audio system with 1,400 watts of enveloping sonic clarity.
Our few minor gripes are that the trunk capacity is somewhat meager and that there is no longer-wheelbase version available. The S8's rear legroom will certainly be more than adequate for most folks, but it nevertheless isn't as overtly spacious as the Audi's competitors or the A8L. That said, the Audi S8 should pretty much check any box you could envision for a high-performance, full-size luxury sedan.
Read the most recent 2015 Audi S8 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Audi S8 page.