Audi S8 Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.67/5 Average
58 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

The Audi S8 is this German automaker's flagship performance sedan that has been sold sporadically. Debuting at the start of the new millennium, it was the third Audi for the North American market to bear an "S" badge. Showcasing Audi's performance engineering, S- and RS-badged vehicles compete directly against performance models from divisions like BMW's M and Mercedes-Benz's AMG.

Building on the A8's lightweight aluminum space frame chassis, the S8 adds a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, more powerful brakes and a slightly more aggressive look. Despite being Audi's largest, most luxurious sedan, its combination of a relatively light curb weight, muscular power and the tenacious grip of the car's standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system makes it surprisingly quick and agile. The latter, which obviously optimizes motive traction, is a boon for those who have to drive in inclement weather conditions.

Current Audi S8
Sporting a twin-turbocharged V8 cranking out 520 horsepower, this large flagship sedan can sprint to 60 mph in a claimed 3.9 seconds. Yet considering its size and blindingly quick performance, the S8's fuel economy is pretty good at 19 mpg combined.

Naturally, stunning acceleration is but one facet of this diamond. Road manners are polished thanks to an adjustable, sport-tuned air suspension. As such, the S8 changes direction confidently when pressed on a curvy road, yet delivers a comfortable ride while swallowing up large chunks of interstate. Also helping matters here is the S8's weight of about 4,600 pounds, relatively light in this segment considering the Audi's size, wealth of luxury features and standard all-wheel drive.

Traditionally an Audi strong point, the cabin of the A8 boasts tasteful styling and top-notch fit and finish. A few highlights of this plush sanctuary include dual-pane side windows that, along with active noise-cancelling technology, ensure serenity, while heated, cooled and massaging front seats make long trips a joy. Should you wish to break the silence, there's an available Bang & Olufsen audio system with 1,400 watts of enveloping sonic clarity.

Our few minor gripes are that the trunk capacity is somewhat meager and that there is no longer-wheelbase version available. The S8's rear legroom will certainly be more than adequate for most folks, but it nevertheless isn't as overtly spacious as the Audi's competitors or the A8L. That said, the Audi S8 should pretty much check any box you could envision for a high-performance, full-size luxury sedan.

Used Audi S8 Models
After being absent from the lineup for three years, the Audi S8 returned for 2013, ushering in the third generation of the luxury sport sedan. Apart from minor equipment shuffling, this version is identical to the current offering.

Produced from 2007-'09 after a three-year hiatus, the second-generation Audi S8's most talked-about feature was its engine. Audi's engineers took advantage of parent company Volkswagen's ownership of Lamborghini and snagged the Lamborghini Gallardo's 40-valve V10 engine. Audi increased displacement to 5.2 liters and added direct injection to optimize power delivery. The result was 450 hp and 398 pound-feet of torque. All that sonorous power went through a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. Audi claimed it could sprint to 60 mph in just 5 seconds flat.

This S8 delivered the performance goods while rewarding the driver with an opulent experience filled with techno-gadgetry. It had a user-friendly Multi Media Interface, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, a powerful Bose audio system with a glovebox CD changer and power-retractable side mirrors. All of it was wrapped in sumptuous leather and wood trim. A stiffer version of the standard A8's fully independent adaptive air suspension worked with 20-inch wheels, performance tires and speed-dependent steering to deliver exceptional handling in both high- and low-speed maneuvers.

Overall, the combination of luxury, performance and technology added up to an impressive package. At the same time, Audi kept the styling upgrades tasteful so the S8 didn't immediately scream "performance model" like some competitors. Only in terms of maximum performance potential is Audi's finest a bit of a letdown.

When it debuted for the 2001 model year, the first-generation S8 came with a 4.2-liter V8 making 360 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. The aluminum frame body and lowered, stiffer suspension performed well on its 18-inch wheels. The fit and finish bested anything else in its class. It even garnered a starring role in a memorable car chase in the film Ronin directed by John Frankenheimer. Yet the S8 never seemed to have the name cachet of its impressive rivals.

Audi continued to improve the car by small increments until it was discontinued for 2004. It offered new features like a tire-pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking assist and a navigation system. To increase the feeling of exclusivity, Audi released limited-edition color combinations like a silver exterior with a burgundy interior, a Ming Blue exterior with a platinum interior and a black exterior with a caramel interior. As a used model, the original S8 still provides serious performance dynamics that can be enjoyed from the most splendid of environments.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 58.00
  • After 12 years, still the best German sedan - 2001 Audi S8
    By -

    I had many German cars.4 Mercedes,3 BMW, 2 VW,1 Audi and 2 Lexus.I sold my 2006 Audi A8L, to buy a very low mileage 2001 Audi S8. I felt in love with this car, since the first day I saw it, many years ago.The newer A8L is bigger and more luxurious than the older S8, but the S8 gives me a lot of pleasure to drive. It is fast, fun and reliable. I use to get tired of my cars after 6 months. Not this one ! I will keep it for a very long time. The engine on this cars is bulletproof. The main problem they have is the transmission. Most likely it will need a new one, between 120k - 180k. By the way, most cars need a new tranny at that time. It is a timeless masterpiece. My favorite car ever. Icon

  • Makes you smile - 2013 Audi S8
    By -

    The 2013 Audi S8 felt like quality just rolling out of the dealership. Driving it home, it just got better. Solid, fast and quality everywhere you look. It's difficult not to smile every time you're behind the wheel and look for excuses to run and errand.

  • The best Audi I've ever owned! - 2001 Audi S8
    By -

    The S8 was an over-engineered vehicle by Audi. This has been, hands down, the most reliable, most value-for-the-buck Audi I've ever owned. It's virtually impossible to make the decision to trade it in for a $10k-$12k downpayment for a...mid-size sedan of any type! Amazing build quality, power (even 11 years since first rolled out), comfort, and passive/active safety. My 2001 S8 has 75K miles, and I intent to keep it until it reaches into the 100Ks...

  • Fantastic vehicle - 2007 Audi S8
    By -

    Fun to drive. Incredibly fast when in "S" mode. Comfortably seats 5. Great interior craftsmanship. Even my wife said she could see what was "so special" about the car. Definitely consider Certified Pre-owned if available because potential repair costs would be astronomical.

  • Audi D2 S8 - 2002 Audi S8
    By -

    Beautiful car, beautifully made and engineered. S8 with Alcantra/Recaro interior. Some of the best seats I have ever sat in. Leather is amazing, very nice solid feel to every bit of the interior. The engine looks/sounds/feels teriffic. Brakes, suspension, and handling are all very sharp and precise for a car this size. Fuel economy is nothing spectacular, but the car is geared very short compared to its A8 counterpart and is very hard to stay off of the go pedal. The car does need to be maintained properly. A coil pack and some disconnected vacuum lines have happened. Also an unknown problem with the catylitic conversion system. Overall a great work of engineering by Audi

  • Amazing Automobile - 2001 Audi S8
    By -

    This German car is for drivers people who love to drive. Of any car I have ever owned this is the one I would pick if I had to drive across the country. It reminds me of an NFL linebacker, big, swift, powerful and nimble all at the same time. I originally purchased it with 92000 miles. It now has 140000 and all I have replaced is tires, idler pulley and serpentine belt and fuel pump. I use 0W40 synthetic oil in it. My wife is now driving it and has fallen in love. She says that it spoils you as you start rating all cars against it, which is unfair. Only 531 imported into us in 2001-2003. It is a German muscle machine made for drivers. DOT governed at 155 mph. (too bad)

  • Amazing - 2002 Audi S8
    By -

    I purchased this with 49,000 miles a few months ago. What an amazing, comfortable car. It handles nearly as well as my Porsche 968 cab, but is so much more comfortable & quiet! Bose Stereo/Nav is rubbish and will be replaced in the next few weeks. If the chance to look at one comes your way, make the effort.

  • Supercar - 2001 Audi S8
    By -

    My S8 has a few years on it and I am still absolutely in love with it. I was looking for a sports-orientated car that could carry car seats and groceries and get around in the snowy Pittsburgh winters. This car manages to do that and more - it's like three cars in one! An SUV for winter, a sports sedan for summer and a 4 dr family hauler for all times in between. It's rock solid at high speed, fun to drive and pulls like a locomotive from a stop light! Plus it's faster than almost everything that's going to line up next to you on the street - and you always look like a hero pulling away without wheel spin. It's a true German sleeper.

  • The perfect all-weather supersedan - 2007 Audi S8
    By -

    After 3 years in a Porsche 911 Carrera S, I decided I'd been battered & deafened long enough. The S8 is the perfect replacement - a coddling, comforting living room when you need peace and quiet. But when you need to scream, it will gladly scream for you. The baritone bark of the V10 is unrivaled by any other luxury sedan, and the acceleration is phenomenal, with quick "whomp whomps" of the paddle shifted transmission. Yet, unlike the 911, the S8 feels utterly stable -- no wiggly sense of instability or choppiness. On the highway, it is impeccable, quiet, yet ready to blast into triple digits at a moment's notice. It is subtle looking, yes, but people still notice it due to rarity.

  • New Car - 2001 Audi S8
    By -

    This car is a sports car in a sedan body. Even though it's technically a large car, it doesn't drive like one. The acceleration is almost instant and is plenty fast for all street driving.

Audi S8 Reviews By Year:
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