DRIVEN: Audi S8 TSFI Quattro Review
Here is our first drive review of the Audi S8 4.0 TFSI.
What’s the Audi S8 all about?
The Audi S8 is the largest, most luxurious, Audi that money can buy. It is designed to facilitate a high level of driving performance, mixed with top class refinement, and a dash of subtleness.
The S8 is powered by a very tasty 4.0-Litre V8 engine that puts out 520bhp and 650Nm of torque. This means that using the 8-speed tiptronic gearbox and the legendary Quattro 4 wheel drive system, the S8 can get from 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds, which is hugely impressive considering most lightweight sports cars can’t even achieve this level of brutal acceleration. But for the 1,990kg German powerhouse, this is no problem at all.
The styling on the S8 is very similar to the A8, apart from a few minor details; making this car very appealing to the less flamboyant customers. The S8 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing for sure. The only tell-tale signs are the red S8 badges, the 21 inch wheels, and the large exhausts at the rear. The S8 is ideal for those that want that ultimate power plant, but don’t want the flashy “look at me” exterior.
How does it drive?
So people often judge a car’s performance by how fast they look, and the Audi S8 could easily be mistaken for a base model diesel version, from a distance. It certainly was an eye opener for me. The car is lightning fast, when you put your foot down it just launches and goes. The power is RS7 style deadly. It feels like a race car experience in a business man’s packaging.
Behind the wheel; experiencing the car around corners the S8 is very comfortable and easily manageable for its size, there is little body roll, and a strong sense of grip even in the wet. You know from looking around you that you are in a large car, but that doesn’t really have a negative effect on the driving experience, if anything it helps smooth out the road because of its long and wide dimensions.
The brakes on the S8 are amazing, they are 4 big round tyre smoking monsters. They bring the car to a stop at a speed that you would not expect for a car of this size. These enormous brakes really give the car a sporty feel and fill you with confidence, tempting you to open the car up a bit more.
Overall, the Audi S8 is ideal for those that need to comfortably carry passengers, and want to have that blistering power underfoot just in case you need it.
What’s it like inside?
The Audi S8 has a lot to offer, and if its performance figures don’t do it for you, then perhaps the interior will. There is that much room on the inside of the S8, you could almost quite literally swing a cat, but there are far better things to do inside rather than that. The luxuries inside include a toe curling 14 speaker Bose sound system, Sat Nav using Google Earth and Google Street View imagery, a top view parking camera system, and to make sure the S8 reaches maximum refinement, the car even has active noise cancellation which compensates for road noise inside the car. There are four microphones installed in the roof lining to register background engine noise and, if necessary, a precisely calculated antiphase sound is emitted through the cars internal sound system. Now that is some clever technology!
Moving on, the materials are all of a very impressive German standard and the overall design concept is well thought-out and precise. The majority of the dashboard is cleanly laid out; with the vast majority of controls in the central console area of the car.
The experience of all the above put together is mind boggling. Driving the S8, you feel like you’re undercover. Under the bonnet you have supercar worthy power, but it is on a need to know basis.
Driving any high performance car there will always be the odd occasion that you don’t want to take the car out, maybe because you don’t want to be seen, or it will make too much noise, or people will judge you in that scenario. All this is removed with the S8, it’s respected for letting its engineering and driving characteristics do the talking, rather than big spoilers and large exhausts.
Whether you are looking at the S8 from a performance car perspective, or refinement on the road; you won’t be disappointed. The Audi S8 does both very well, and in one very well shaped package. The only difficult choice with the S8 is whether to drive it, or to be driven in it.
Audi S8 TSFI Quattro
Engine: 4.0-Litre V8 turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed tiptronic with DSP
0-62mph: 4.1 Seconds
Top speed: 155mph limited
Economy combined: 29mpg
CO2: 225 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley