Audi S8 – High end luxury saloons are a rare beast, becoming even rarer as the SUV tsunami continues.
However Audi, as do many other manufacturers, continues with the prestige saloons for many reasons. Not the least of which is that there is a long history of developing new technology for these pinnacle vehicles that eventually trickles down into other models.
This is how we got AEB, Matrix lighting, adaptive cruise control and many more features we take for granted in normal cars these days.
As with previous models the new Audi S8 continues to push the boundaries with its unique combination of performance, luxury and innovative technology
In Audi’s words, “A triumphant combination of leading-edge technology, exhilarating performance and absolute luxury, the S8 once again sets the standard at the very top of the automotive market. With its sharper new design language, innovative lighting technology and exquisite finish, the S8 is at once the epitome of sophisticated luxury while also delivering extraordinary performance and handling that place it in a class of its own.”
At the recent launch, Jeff Mannering, Director of Audi Australia, said “The new Audi S8 is in rarefied air at the pinnacle of our model range.”
“The Audi S8 is one of those truly special vehicles that is revered by many, but only owned by a few. It stands apart for its unique combination of performance, luxury and innovation that is scarcely found anywhere in the market. The refreshed S8 continues this legacy.”
The Launch was as you would expect a fine evening with excellent dining and hospitality. An experience like what Audi owners can experience through the Audi Experience program.
The S8 rightly sits atop the brand’s luxury A8 range, bringing its own distinctive style and of course, unique performance to the range that has represented the benchmark at Audi since 1994.
Some previous Audi S8, A8 and A8L articles
- Audi S8 continues its sports saloon dominance with 2023 updates
- 2019 Audi A8 Launch Review
- 2016 Audi A8 L extended Exclusive Audi
- 2014 Audi A8 Has Arrived in Australia
- All-New Audi S8 2014 Has Arrived in Australia
- 2012 Audi A8 Hybrid here in 2012
- 2011 Audi A8 3.0L TDi and 4.2 TDi Engines
- Audi S8 at Frankfurt Motor Show 2011
Powered by a potent 4.0-litre TFSI V8 engine, the new S8 delivers blistering performance that draw on the brand’s illustrious motorsport past.
Producing an incredible 420kW and 800Nm of torque from 2,050 to 4,500 rpm, it races from stop to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds, on the way to an electronically-governed top speed of 250 km/h.
The Audi S8 is comes equipped with mild hybrid technology (MHEV), which uses the A8’s 48-volt main electrical system as an intelligent efficiency system to further enhance the engine’s performance alongside standard cylinder on demand technology (CoD).
The 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system can recover up to 8 kW of power while coasting or under light throttle, while the start/stop system also draws on the 48v electrical system, saving up to 0.8 litres of fuel per 100km.
In addition the cylinder on demand (CoD) technology can shut down four cylinders under light throttle load for further fuel savings, resuming within milliseconds when required. All of this remains imperceptible to the driver and passengers yet contributes to the impressive 10.5L/100km fuel consumption on the combined cycle.
With its 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 firing sequence, the V8 produces a sonorous roar not usually associated with the upper echelons of the luxury class, but one that will nevertheless thrill those with a love of performance motoring. This symphony is amplified through the S8’s dual exhaust system, and is easily controlled via Audi drive select.
Audi S8 transmission and suspension
The all-new S8 is equipped with a fast-shifting eight-speed tiptronic transmission, directing power to the road via the legendary Audi quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
Under normal driving conditions, torque is distributed asymmetrically with a 40:60 bias, front to rear respectively. This provides the perfect platform for dynamic handling with optimal traction.
But during particularly sporty driving, up to 85 percent of engine torque can be directed to the rear wheels, further changing the dynamic to suit.
The quattro sport differential can provide further adjustment, directing almost all of the rear axle’s torque to either wheel during particularly dynamic driving.
Boasting one of the most advanced suspension systems in the world, the S8 offers remarkable dynamic versatility. Luxurious limousine ride comfort to thoroughbred sports car.
Predictive active suspension technology works in combination with multiple sensors throughout the car, including the video camera, to influence and actively control the S8’s body, seamlessly adapting to the road conditions.
It can load or unload each wheel with additional power individually via an electric motor and thereby actively regulate the position of the chassis in any driving situation.
With the dynamic mode selected in the Audi drive select system, the large sedan shows its sporty side, turning firmly into corners with reduced roll angles and nary any body dip under brakes.
In comfort+ mode by contrast, it smoothly breezes over uneven surfaces. In bends it seamlessly elevates the side of the body on the outside of the curve and lowers the other side, tilting it into the curve up to three degrees.
At speeds between 80 and 130 km/h and lateral acceleration of up to 0.4g, cornering is scarcely noticeable.
Agility is further enhanced by the standard dynamic all-wheel-steering system, rounding out the long list of attributes to increase driving pleasure in the Audi S8.
Striking exterior design meets innovative technology
Visually, the refreshed S8 boasts a sporty elegance with a striking exterior design. The wide, upright Singleframe grille complements the S8’s flowing and muscular body with its coupe-like roofline.
Quad-oval tailpipes sit beneath the sculptured rear bumper, with rhomboid pattern insert and contrasting diffuser, giving it an elegant, yet purposeful look on the road.
Its undeniable presence is further enhanced by 21-inch Audi Sport, 10-Y-spoke wheels, accentuated with red brake calipers, black exterior styling, metallic paint and privacy glass for the rear windows.
A selection of nine exterior colours are available, while inside, customers can choose from three interior trim colour schemes.
With its standard digital matrix headlights and OLED tail lights, the Audi S8 sports the most advanced lighting system on the market.
Audi was the first vehicle manufacturer to offer Digital Matrix LED headlights and this cutting-edge lighting technology is now employed on the new S8.
Each headlight is made up of approximately 1.3 million micromirrors that break down the light into tiny pixels and allow it to be controlled with incredible precision.
The design is based on a technology abbreviated as DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) sharing the same technology used in many video projectors.
This makes several new functions possible, including advanced coming/leaving home sequences, glare-free high-beam and lane orientation, as well as marking lights for highways.
The enhanced S8 also comes equipped with digital OLED rear lights as a standard feature which include a proximity indication feature which increases visibility thus, safety.
Unmistakeable and dynamic day and night, the OLED light designs differentiate between models, giving the S8 its own unique light taillight signature.
Depending on driving mode, the character of the taillight signature is also adjusted automatically when stationary.
Audi S8 Benchmark luxury interior
Inside the cabin, the all-new S8 is exquisitely finished, providing an enriching experience for both the driver and those who prefer to be driven.
Before the driver or passenger even enters the cabin, the S8’s predictive active suspension lifts by 50mm when a door handle is opened – making entry and exit far more comfortable.
The interior is upholstered in Valcona leather, complete with an elegant arrangement of carbon vector and dark brushed aluminium inlays.
The leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel is heated, matched by heating, ventilation and massage functions in the front seats and armrests.
The colour interior lighting setting creates a peaceful ambience with a unique selection of options available, dependant on the mood.
Stainless steel pedals and the extended leather upholstery package, spanning from the centre console through to the door railings add to the cabin’s sophisticated air.
Comfort and convenience items include optional electric outer rear seats with memory and heating functionality, as well as a panoramic sunroof and electric sunblinds – all operable from the rear remote control.
The Audi S8 also features Matrix LED reading lights in the rear.
All-new S8, comes with the seamless integration of Audi smartphone interface via wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto.
Unique displays in the standard Audi virtual cockpit plus with head-up display provides all necessary information for the driver, enhanced by the high-resolution MMI touch response system.
The S8 boasts a new digital TV functionality as standard. Screens optionally available in the rear are tailored to the expectations of today’s rear-seat passengers, with two 10.1 inch displays with full HD resolution attached to the backs of the front seats.
They display content from passengers’ devices and can receive numerous audio and video streams via casting, including from well-known streaming platforms or TV media libraries.
Audi S8 Safety and assistance a priority
The S8 features the highest levels of safety and driver assistance systems available.
Highlight features include:
- park assist,
- 360-degree cameras,
- adaptive cruise assist with Stop&Go and traffic jam assist,
- Exit warning and rear cross traffic assist.
- Lane change warning detections offering
- side assist,
- turn assist,
- collision avoidance assist and
- Efficiency assist.
Audi pre-sense system can also work in collaboration with predictive active suspension to raise the side of the vehicle in a pending side collision to mitigate the impact.
Another notable passive safety feature is the front centre airbag, which, during the event of a side impact, or if the vehicle rolls over during a collision, the centre airbag is deployed for increased protection inside the cabin.
In addition to the standard equipment of its predecessor, the new S8 also gains night vision assist with marking lights, made possible with the latest Digital Matrix LED headlights as detailed above.
Peace-of-mind for Audi owners
Like all new Audi vehicles delivered to Australian customers from January 1 2022, the new S8 comes with the peace-of-mind of a five-year warranty and five-year Audi Roadside Assist. Audi also provides a 12-year manufacturer warranty for bodywork against corrosion perforation for new vehicle.
Audi owners also receive a complimentary membership during their warranty period to Audi Experience, Audi Australia’s bespoke loyalty program that offers access to exclusive national events, intimate Audi Ambassador experiences and premium partner offers.
Further information on the program can be found at https://myaudi.com.au/experience
Five-year service plans can be purchased at any time during the first 12 months of ownership of a new Audi vehicle, for a cost of $4,030.
Two-year Audi Advantage packages can be purchased in addition, including full factory warranty, 2 years of scheduled servicing and 2 years of roadside assistance beyond the initial warranty period for a cost of $4,800.
These packages can be purchased back-to-back, giving owners the option to include the cost of warranty, servicing and roadside assistance for up to 9 years at the time of purchase.
The refreshed Audi S8 is available now from Audi dealerships.
It joins the A8 and the limousine version the A8L.
The S8 is priced from $273,400 (MLP*) plus the usual costs. That kind of money buys a lot though.
*MLP Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of options. Some features mentioned in the article are options. RDAP means Recommended Drive Away Price (without options but including all other charges)