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2008 Audi S8 Overview

Audi adds Italian muscle to their flagship A8 luxury sedan and labels it the S8. Under its rather subdued exterior beats a Lamborghini-sourced 5.2-liter V10 that redlines at 7,100 rpm and produces 450 hp. That power spins through a six-speed Tiptronic paddle-shifted automatic transmission. 0-60 comes up in 4.9 seconds. While you won't catch that S65 Benz AMG, you will flash past the Porsche 911 Carrera S. The EPA estimates 15/21 mpg city/highway.

With 59% of the mass up front, you can expect understeer, but Audi has attempted to counter those forces by sending 60% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels. With the suspension's adaptive air springs and shocks and the Sport setting of the S8's suspension, the big sedan registered only 0.2 mph slower through the slalom than the much smaller Audi RS4. But there is no overcoming that V10 up front, and when pushed close to the limit the S8 naturally exhibits understeer. The six-speed auto is a seamless shifter, and reviewers report that it takes advantage of the V10's prodigious torque curve, feeling "punchier" than either the 4.2-liter V8 or the 6.0-liter W12 offered in the A8.

The cabin is where Audi always seems to excel, and you can expect the best in their flagship sedan. The S8 is elegantly finished with carbon-fiber inserts, which replace wood and are nicely complimented by aluminum trim. Instrumentation is simple and clear. Audi's MMI (Multi-Media Interface), which is their computer interface, rates as the best among its German competitors. That control allows even the finely tuned air suspension to be set to either comfort or sporty mode. Of course, it also offers an automatic setting that tunes the suspension's tautness according to how rough you want to play.

The exterior signs of the Italian soul are subtle - special 20-inch alloys, quad exhausts, alloy-finish exterior mirrors, a discreet S8 mark on the trunk, and two V10 badges. The Audi S8 is a subtle but potent full-size luxury sedan.

Updated by Anonymous

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