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12 Oct 2022

What We Dislike
Incredibly niche appeal, with a price tag to match
Interior isn't very bling or fancy

The Audi S8 is a precisely niche car for enthusiast business executives, boasting performance and luxury in equal measure.


Alongside the facelifted fourth generation flagship A8, Audi Singapore also introduced the S8, a high-performance version of the brand's flagship limousine. This also marks the return of the S8 to the lineup after a brief hiatus (it was not offered when this current generation A8 first debuted locally). 

So, is it any good, and perhaps more pertinently, who's buying a $740k V8 limo?

Subtle muscularity

The well-proportioned S8 is muscular yet refined, and always appealing to look at
As the name suggests, the S8 is the high performance model within the lineup, though you wouldn't really know it by simply looking at it. The S8 has a pretty modest exterior look - clean, sharp lines with sporty touches like the air intakes and aluminium look wing mirrors. Hell, even the grille looks slightly less expressive than the one on the facelifted A8 that we drove.

A key thing to note, though, is that this is the standard wheelbase model (the A8 is only offered here as an A8L, meaning long wheelbase).

It is a handsome, well-proportioned car. It certainly photographs very well (make sure the ride height isn't raised). It's subtle in its muscularity, which is very representative of this car's character.

One way to identify the S8 is at the rear - quad tailpipes highlight its high performance nature
Inside, it's pretty standard Audi fare. It's perhaps not the fanciest interior, and some buyers might want more bling for your $700k, but it works easily and well.

There are plenty of amenities. Ventilated seats, massage seats, all the connectivity you need, it's all there. This car has basically everything on the equipment list - on the brochure, there are only three optional equipment to further add on (park assist package, black appearance package and sport wheels).

As far as space goes, there's still ample space at the back, but it will be less than the long wheelbase A8L, understandably.

Endless go

The 4.0-litre V8 churns out massive amounts of power, delivered in buttery smooth fashion
Powering the S8 is a hefty 4.0-litre V8 engine producing a beastly 563bhp and 800Nm of torque, able to haul this mighty limo to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Ludicrous.

However, traffic light launches aren't really what this car is about. Rather, this is an absolute long distance tarmac muncher. There's a muscularity and effortlessness about the way the S8 pulls that is deeply satisfying. It never ever feels like it's going to run out of puff, even at Autobahn speeds. And you can tell that a car like this was designed for those sort of speeds - it is so stable, whether at 50km/h or 200km/h. 

The air suspension helps with the overall comfort, of course. The car sheds imperfections in the tarmac effortlessly, and the overall refinement is stellar. It is exactly what you want out of a flagship limo. 

The predictive active suspension can detect bumps ahead, and adjust accordingly to provide a seamlessly comfortable ride
And, all of this performance is delivered in such a subtle and refined manner. The car doesn't make a ton of noise (though extend the engine at it does sound good). It's not shouty. Noise insulation is excellent. It's a grand touring beast. And that's very appealing, though admittedly in a specific kind of way.

The S8 also never feels big and long, even though it is. The steering is accurate and responsive, the all-wheel steering certainly helps, and there's an athletic litheness about the car that really makes you think you are driving something a class smaller. It really does drive well - more dynamic than you might expect from a car in this segment. 

All that performance does mean that the engine generates lots of heat, and you will feel it when getting out of the car after a long drive. Even standing next to the car, you can feel the heat emanating from the body.

Standing out

The S8 is deeply satisfying to drive, but it occupies an incredibly niche place within its segment
All of this is weird, of course, considering the segment that the Audi S8 exists in. And that is precisely both what makes it so compelling, and also so challenging as a sales proposition.

This car is so, so niche. Some would argue too niche. It is a car for the car-loving business executive - it excels in the driving experience, and stands out because owners of cars in this segment perhaps get driven around more than drive. It's an enthusiast car in a segment that generally isn't catered to enthusiasts.

I personally find that very appealing. But I'm not sure how many other people do. The appeal of the S8 is so incredibly specific, but there's no denying it excels at its unique proposition - a deeply satisfying blend of grand touring performance and business luxury.
Car Information
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Audi S8 Mild Hybrid 4.0 TFSI qu Tip (A)
Rate it

Price

: $743,080

Engine Type

:

V8 Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

3996cc

Horsepower

:

420kW (563 bhp)

Torque

:

800 Nm / 4000 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Tiptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

3.8sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

8.3km/L

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audi  s8  audi s8  v8  a8  a8l  audi sport