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2021 Audi S8 Overview

The Audi S8 full-size luxury sedan was all new for 2020 and carries over mostly unchanged for the 2021 model year, except for minor updates to the features menu. The S8 competes primarily against other European luxury and performance sedans such as the BMW Alpina B7, Jaguar XJR, and Mercedes-AMG S63.

The elegant yet domineering sedan comes fitted with 21-inch wheels (new this year) and can be upgraded with the Black Optic package for more visual oomph. That package brings black exterior trim and side mirror covers, as well as 21-inch, 10-spoke, 2-tone wheels. Though the S8 commands attention—as large luxury sedans tend to do—it looks graceful rather than unwieldy.

The powertrain is unchanged and consists of a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, rated for 563 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. It has a mild-hybrid system for extra power and efficiency, plus all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel-economy ratings are 13 mpg city, 22 highway, and 16 combined. A predictive adaptive air suspension system and a sport differential also come standard.

The sophisticated design carries over to the cabin, which is calm and serene thanks to active noise cancellation. Leather upholstery is standard, and the front seats get diamond quilting, adjustable bolsters, heating, ventilation, and massage. A heated steering wheel also comes standard. Different interior trims and upgraded leather are available.

The infotainment system features dual touchscreens measuring 10.1 inches and 8.6 inches, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging, navigation, voice recognition, and a Bang & Olufsen stereo system. The cockpit also features a 12.3-inch customizable Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster. The system may look intimidating, but the interface is elegant and easy to use. A 23-speaker upgraded Bang & Olufsen audio system is optional.

Standard safety features include a surround-view camera, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and front and rear parking sensors. Options include night vision with pedestrian and large-animal detection, adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist, active-lane assist, intersection assist, traffic-sign recognition, side-assist, rear cross-traffic alert, vehicle exit warning, a head-up display (HUD), and pre-sense side and pre-sense rear for additional protection against imminent side or rear impact collisions.

Audi’s flagship sedan elegantly combines luxury and performance and should be a must-see for shoppers in this class.


Cherise is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience covering the automotive industry. Cherise loves writing about car culture and sharing common-sense car-buying advice. She owns a 2019 Subaru WRX Series.Gray, 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT, 2007 Genuine Buddy Italia 150, 2015 Honda Grom, and 1979 Boston Whaler Montauk.

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