Sportiness, in the case of the S models, is a declared principle, combined with comfort, aesthetics, elegance and uncompromising quality. The Audi S8 with the power of its 331 kW (450 hp) V10 FSI engine combines all these strengths into a high level of confident passion.
Design and interior
The outside of the S8 alone represents an unmistakable promise of performance. At the front, the single-frame grill sports a platinum gray finish with chrome-look vertical double struts. Three low-profile air intakes accentuate the front apron; the large inlets under the headlights contain fog lights. The xenon plus headlights are combined with the adaptive light turning lights and dynamic cornering lights system, as well as with LED daytime running lights.
Alongside the flanks, the aluminum-look mirror housings and V10 badges are telltale signs of the S8’s status. With its 20-inch wheels, the sporty Audi flagship sits firmly on the road. The tail lights are, of course, of an LED design. An integral rear spoiler, a subtle light-refracting edge in the apron and an exhaust system with four oval tailpipes round off the view from behind.
Due to the ASF aluminum construction, the S8 boasts an extremely lightweight bodyshell – it weighs only about half as much as a conventional steel structure. Aluminum also is a determinant factor of the interior, with inlays of carbon and brushed aluminum. The shift paddles on the multi-function steering wheel are in aluminum look as well. The instrument needles are in white.
The sports seats are finished in two-tone leather; they are heated and can be electrically adjusted. By targeted application of insulating materials and a composite film within the side windows the S8 offers peaceful interior acoustics.
Under the hood of the S8, the first V10 engine in Audi history is found. As a member of the family of V engines, is has a 90-degree cylinder angle and is extremely compact and lightweight. A balancing shaft ensures a smoothly running engine. The two-stage variable intake manifold and the four variable camshafts contribute to the optimum filling of the combustion chambers. FSI gasoline direct injection leads to a homogeneous combustion and thus permits a high compression ratio of 12.5:1.
With a displacement of 5,204 cc, the ten-cylinder unit produces 331 kW (450 hp) of power at 7,000 rpm and, at a mere 3,500 rpm, 540 Nm (398.28 lb-ft) of torque. The luxury saloon consequently achieves the road performance of a high-caliber sports car. The Audi S8 sprints from a standstill to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.1 seconds, and effortlessly reaches a top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph, governed). With all its sporty characteristics, the engine still operates with a minimum of vibration and a high degree of smooth running quality. It reacts with high sensitivity to the gas pedal and unfolds a sound that is music to the enthusiast’s ears.
The S8 is equipped with a six-speed tiptronic transmission, with a final drive ratio which is shorter than in the A8. Its management has been optimized for a more dynamic gear change. In typical Audi style, the new S8 transmits its power to the road by means of quattro permanent all-wheel drive. With a standard power distribution ratio of 40:60 between the front and rear axles, this luxury sedan gets an even higher degree of agility.
Like the A8, the S8 also relies on adaptive air suspension including variable ride height, adaptive shock absorber control and aluminum suspension components.
Its elastokinematics and its fine-tuning give the suspension an explicitly competitive firmness. The steering, too, features a direct response and thus ensures enhanced agility.
The Audi S8 is fitted standard with 20-inch cast alloy wheels of S design. The four discs of the 18-inch brake system are ventilated and generously dimensioned. The brake calipers are painted black, and the front ones bear the typical titanium gray S8 badge. The optional ceramic disk brakes are a special feature of the S8 – they are extremely lightweight, have a high endurance and are largely immune to fade and wear.
The S8 extends the luxurious standard equipment of the A8 by a whole series of additional high-tech elements. These include the highly convenient drive authorization system advanced key, the Bose surround sound system, including CD changer, double glazing, as well as a DVD-based navigation system.
With optional solutions such as Bluetooth mobile phone, the Bang & Olufsen sound system, and the Rear Seat Entertainment system with two monitors, Audi confidently marks its electronics competence. As additional options, the S8 offers guidance aids like the Audi side assist lane change system, the lane departure warning system Audi lane assist, the radar controlled adaptive cruise control and the Audi parking system advanced which uses a rearview camera to simplify parking. Additional high-end equipment available are front seats with ventilation and massage features, fold-down tables and cool boxes for the rear as well as power door locks.
The Audi S8 at a glance:
Engine: displacement 5,204 cc, power output 331 kW (450 hp) at 7,000 rpm, maximum torque 540 Nm (398.28 lb-ft) at 3,500 rpm. Performance and fuel consumption: 0 – 100 km/h (0 – 62.14 mph) in 5.1 s, top speed 250 km/h (155.34 mph, governed), consumption (combined) 13.4 liters/100 km (17.55 mpg) with Super Plus gasoline. Drivetrain combination: quattro drive with six-speed tiptronic.
The equipment, specifications and prices stated herein refer to the model line offered for sale in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.