After taking a few years off, Audi’s big performance sedan returns stronger and quicker than ever. Let’s look at the numbers, yes! The 2013 Audi S8 features a twin-turbocharged V8, generates no less than 520 hp and delivers a constant 650 Nm of torque to the crankshaft between 1,700 and 5,500 rpm. The result is outstanding performance: The sprint from zero to 100 km/h takes just 4.2 seconds, and top speed is electronically capped at 250 km/h.
How fast is your new XX? Doesn’t matter — this full-size, four-door Audi is faster. That’s right, unless you’re driving one of the absolute quickest cars on the market, the 2013 Audi S8 luxury sedan will probably show you its taillights.
Audi S8, The luxury performance sedan that comes in a single trim level. Unlike the A8 on which it is based, the S8 does not offer the option of a longer-wheelbase variant. Fine design details signal the special position that the 5.14 meter-long S8 occupies in the Audi range. The single-frame grille is platinum gray and its eight double bars are covered in chrome. An aluminum-look blade makes the bumper appear sharper, and there are high-gloss black slats and aluminum-look ribs in the side air intakes.
On the sides, body color trim strips on the sills, door handles with strips of aluminum and polished aluminum-look mirror housings catch the eye. The diffuser insert at the back of the car includes a blade with a two-layer aluminum-look finish offset with parts in platinum gray. The exhaust system ends in two oval dual tailpipes in a chrome-look finish. S8 or V8 T badges can be found in the front, on the back and on the sides. The color range includes 13 shades, two of which – Daytona Gray and Prism Silver – are reserved for the S8.
As it is based on Audi’s flagship A8, the S8 is expectedly dressed in the finest materials. A clean design with superb fit and finish helps affirm that this is simply one of the finest cabins in any luxury sedan, regardless of cost. Pampering features in this land-locked Lear jet include front seats that both cool and massage their occupants. This multi-way, power-adjustable comfort sport seats have been designed exclusively for the S8. And the cabin’s serenity is assured via dual-pane side windows and active noise cancellation.
S models, these have gray dials with white needles – a design which is repeated in the classic analogue clock. The illuminated door sill trims with the S8 logo are a further eye-catcher. The display of the driver information system and the MMI monitor greet the driver with special S8 screens. The shift paddles and pedals are in an aluminum-look finish; a red ring frames the start button.
Let’s check, what’s truly remarkable is how the S8 drives. There are cars that seem to shrink around you when driven hard and cars that don’t; the S8 is the former. Every time you drive this car quickly, you get out and gape at the size of it. It simply shouldn’t do what it does. Like the lightening-fast launch down the dragstrip, the S8’s handling is directly attributable to its Quattro all-wheel drive system. Grip in corners is unshakeable, and the all-wheel drive allows you to roll hard into the throttle early and rocket out. We couldn’t screw up a corner bad enough to get understeer on the road; nor were we willing to push it to the extremes necessary to induce a wiggle of oversteer at corner exit that we produced on the figure eight.
The eight-speed tiptronic in the S8 also unites sportiness and efficiency. It uses tall gears at low revs whenever possible, but downshifts quickly and comfortably when requested by the driver. The tiptronic delivers the power to a quattro drivetrain combining a self-locking center differential with the sport differential at the rear axle. During dynamic driving, the lion’s share of the power flows to the outside wheel to literally push the large sedan into the corner.
Classy style, effortless performance and a pampering cabin are all requirements of a luxury performance sedan, and the 2013 Audi S8 has them all.