True meaning to the term "fast four-door" Raw. Vicious. Exhilarating. Those are some of the words you may come to expect from a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 engine.
Raw. Vicious. Exhilarating. Those are some of the words you may come to expect from a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 engine. In the 2013 Audi S8, however, the first two words are missing.
Exhilarating is the word best equipped to describe this vehicle. Rather than being raw, it is quite refined, smooth and quiet.
The 2013 Audi S8 features a new engine, rather than the previous V10 that provided 450 hp, the new design is a direct injection, twin turbo 4L V8 matched with an 8 speed automatic transmission putting out 520 hp.
That’s enough to get this near 5,000 lb luxury sedan from standstill to 100 kph in 3.5 seconds. Ridiculous.
It’s the same V8 that’s in the new Bentley.
But where there would be a usual drop when comparing such a car to the latest offerings from Bentley, I think this new Audi may stand toe-to-toe with its luxury counterpart.
Audi installed active microphones in the interior compartment to provide noise cancelling. It works. The ride on the S8 is so smooth and quiet that you can whisper to your passenger and still be heard. Unless you turn up the fantastic Bang & Olufsen sourced stereo. The drivers rise from the front dashboard like the S6 and the side speaker grilles are trimmed with aluminum.
The rest of the interior is pure carbon fibre; centre console, lower dashboard, and the fantastic airplane like shifter are all carbon. There’s no overlay or cheapness to any of that. It’s perfect. Behind you, the passengers are treated to the same level of respect with carbon fibre climate controls in the rear centre console. Outstanding.
When you step outside, that level of precision remains, and it is clearly evident with the front grille. It’s huge and awesome. It says this S8 is sporty but has presence. “Don’t mess with me.”
It’s a warning that goes on deaf ears. At almost every light, every junction, people will try to race you. The level of awareness of what this new model is capable of doing is astronomical. It is like common knowledge. You’d expect such a reaction with exotics, people know they are bonkers but this is the odd exception for a mainstream automaker.
It does seem to lack some of the rear legroom in comparable models such as the Mercedes-Benz S550 or the Jaguar XJ, but you don’t mind as it’s still adequate.
One major gripe with the S8 is the braking. Despite featuring substantial brake rotors and calipers, the distance to a full stop is mediocre. Perhaps it has more to do with the weight of the vehicle but it isn’t a proper balance of acceleration and deceleration. Also, the middle ring of the brake rotors isn’t powder coated. Usually that isn’t a big deal but on this almost-brand new S8, signs of corrosion were present. Infiniti coats the middle black to prevent such a thing. It’s a little damning when casual observers point out “rust” on the brakes. Especially when you consider a starting price of $140,000 on such a car, it’s like a giant pimple in the middle of your forehead.
And yet I sit here, pondering the future of Audi. Since the release of the Gallardo, I find myself thinking that this manufacturer might have taken the Lamborghini DNA, spun it around in a centrifuge and injected it right into the heart of the company.
It is incredible what they are doing these days with their latest models. I found myself in love with the S6 and that feeling continued with the S8. It isn’t just a pure numbers game, sure both cars are stupid fast and made quite a few passengers yell ‘Holy f*** balls’ upon acceleration but this is different. It’s almost as if Audi is on a hot streak, hitting 3 point shot after 3 point shot with nothing but net.
It is a smooth, sweet stroke that inevitably will break down their opponents unless they can keep pace and it is a very tough act to follow.
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