2018 Audi S8 Review

S8

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2018 Audi S8 Overview

Within the Audi lineup, the S8 is the ultimate performance luxury sedan offering. Based on the opulent A8 luxury sedan, the S8 will add a healthy dose of excitement to any commute, and is engaging enough to carve up winding back roads.

The S8 announces its arrival with a muted-but-menacing presence. The A8’s chrome details are replaced with black accents, and the integrated exhaust outlets are replaced with pronounced quad outlets. The S8 comes standard with 21-inch titanium wheels and is available with 21-inch high-gloss anthracite black wheels. A rear lip spoiler rounds out the refined look of the S8.

The cabin of the S8 has a luxurious, mechanical aesthetic, combining tech features with soft-touch materials and well-thought-out controls. The dash is available with one of three carbon fiber inlays or a wood inlay option. The standard comfort sport seats provide plenty of cushioning for long drives along with supportive bolstering to keep you in place around tight corners.

Standard features in the S8 include leather upholstery, Bluetooth hands-free calling and streaming music, a Bose 14-speaker stereo, a push-button start, an in-dash DVD player, and heated 22-way power front seats. The S8 also comes standard with four-zone climate control, a power sunroof, and LED interior accent lighting. At the center of the dash is Audi’s MMI screen, the heart of its infotainment system. Operated via the dial in the center console, MMI provides on-screen controls for the radio, climate, phone, and navigation systems as well as vehicle settings. The innovative touch pad next to the shifter allows the operator to “draw” letters and numbers to enter an address or contact. The S8 also comes standard with a head-up display, or HUD. This system projects crucial, adjustable vehicle information in the driver’s line of sight.

While the S8 is undoubtedly a driver’s car, its rear seat is very comfortable and provides plenty of head and legroom for rear passengers. Standard power rear sunshades further enhance the experience. There are plenty of options you can get in the S8, including upgrading the leather to fine Nappa leather upholstery and an available Bang & Olufsen sound system.

The S8 comes equipped with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that takes premium fuel. This engine makes 605 horsepower and 517 pound-feet of torque, sent through an 8-speed automatic to Quattro all-wheel drive. This combination allows the 4,685-pound Audi S8 to jump from zero to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The S8 has a top speed that is electronically limited to 155 miles per hour, but an available dynamic package raises the top speed to 190 mph.

Audi Drive Select allows you to tailor your ride to your driving style. It has presets for Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual drive modes. Dynamic is a performance-oriented setting, while Individual lets you completely customize the driving experience. Each mode has unique settings for the throttle response, shift mapping, steering, and suspension.

The S8 comes standard with a sport differential that distributes torque between the rear wheels for optimum performance in acceleration, braking, and cornering. The optional air suspension further enhances the ride and is integrated into the Audi Drive Select. EPA fuel economy estimates for the S8 reflect its performance-oriented platform: 14 miles per gallon city, 24 highway, and 18 combined.

Standard safety features include ventilated disc brakes, a full array of front- and side-impact airbags, front and rear acoustic parking sensors, reversing camera, 360-degree camera system, automatic headlights, and automatic windshield wipers.

The S8 Executive Plus package adds on a wealth of additional safety technology including lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning and avoidance, and adaptive cruise control with the ability to stop-and-go with traffic. The S8 is also available with night vision and infrared that can detect pedestrians up to 1,000 feet away.

The S8 is backed by a 4-year/50,000 mile limited warranty and a 1-year/10,000-mile, no-charge-for-the-first-visit maintenance plan. The 2018 Audi S8’s top-tier performance and luxury are evident in its starting price of $115,900. The S8 comes standard in the up-rated “Plus” version, and is available with plenty of option packages. The night vision assist tacks on $2,300 to the base price. The S8 Executive Plus package is $2,800, providing additional safety technology and creature comforts such as a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and a rear-seat pass-through into the trunk.

The 190-mph Dynamic Package adds $9,000 to the price and includes ceramic brakes with a high heat capacity to all four wheels. A Black Optic exterior package features a black rear lip spoiler, black exhaust tips, and other exterior accents for an additional $7,500. Inside, several interior design packages are available to choose from, all adding $5,500 onto the final price. With all options selected, a loaded S8 can cost more than $150,000.

With a high-powered V8 engine and a responsive chassis, the S8 is a thrilling performance vehicle. But the S8 also has the wealth of standard and available features to make it one of the most tech-savvy flagship luxury sedans on the globe.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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