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Review of the Audi S8

Review of the Audi S8

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The model is still going so strong that the German firm has seen fit to introduce an update version for 2022.

Luxury is the name of the game with the Audi S8


What is it?

Audi S8

The performance SUV has become the practical performance car of choice for wealthy buyers, which means fans of super saloons have been left short-changed in recent years. For example, the V12-engined BMW 7-Series and Jaguar XJR are just a fleeting memory.

Fortunately Audi is here to save the day with its brutish limousine, the Audi S8. The model is still going so strong that the German firm has seen fit to introduce an update version for 2022.


What’s new?

This is the flagship model in Audi’s saloon range, but it has resisted the urge to go wild with this update, working on the basis that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

There are a few changes, though. For example, Audi has somehow found the space to make the singleframe grille even bigger, flanked by new LED headlights. On high-spec trims they are fully digital, and can even be customised.


What’s under the bonnet?

There’s no change under the bonnet, either, but that’s no bad thing. The engine is a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 and can also be found in the Porsche Panamera, which hints at its pedigree. It makes 563bhp and 800Nm of torque, which helps catapult this 2.2-tonne saloon from 0-60mph in just 3.6 seconds, while the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.

It uses a 48-volt ‘mild hybrid’ system, which means you won’t be driving on electric power, but there’s a small boost to performance and efficiency.


What’s it like to drive?

Audi S8

There are two sides to the Audi S8, and the first we’ll focus on is its incredible pace. Pop the drive mode to ‘dynamic’ and you won’t believe how quickly this massive car can accrue speed. The speedometer smoothly yet rapidly rises, accompanied by a lovely burbling soundtrack.

However, it’s also comfortable, like a limo should be. It has an adaptive air suspension system that uses cameras to prepare the car for imperfections, ironing out all but the biggest bumps. At high speeds it’s at its best, though – you can tell it was built with German autobahn in mind.


How does it look?

If you’re expecting this high performance model to come with lots of sporty extras, you’ll be disappointed. However, it’s the S8’s understated nature that is part of its appeal. Sure, those in the know will spot the difference with a regular A8, but particularly in more muted paint colours, most will not consider the S8 to have the monstrous power it has.

The bumpers are slightly different, there are a few matte aluminium details and chrome exhaust tips. But little else. It does get those new LED headlights and some new matte paint shades, though.


What’s it like inside?

The engine isn’t the only masterpiece in the S8, because the cabin, too, is worthy of your attention. The S8 costs six figures and has a six-figure-worthy interior, with the highest quality materials used throughout, as well as all the latest digital technologies.

All cars get a digital instrument cluster and twin touchscreens in the dashboard that control media and climate. While it is impressive, it’s still pretty much the same as when the model was originally launched five years ago, so a bit of nip and tuck would have been nice.


What’s the spec like?

Luxury is the name of the game and as such it gets huge equipment as standard, including active suspension, heated seats, 20-inch alloy wheels and a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen speaker system.

A Black Edition provides a stealthier appearance, with larger 21-inch alloy wheels and a black styling pack, wghile the top-spec Vorsprung adds massaging and ventilated seats, a panoramic glass roof and a rear-seat entertainment package.


Verdict

If you’re looking for a performance car, you probably don’t want a limo. And if you want a limo, you probably don’t care if it has a 543bhp V8 under the bonnet. And yet the combination is devastatingly effective.

It might not have the raucous, wheel-spinning abilities of a true sports car, but its incredible refinement and frankly silly pace make it one of the best all-rounders on the market.

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