“Something very fast. Audi S8. Something that may shove a little bit. I’m also going to need a nitrous system. I’ve obtained the specs. ”
Those had been the immortal lines spoken simply by Larry, the wheelman in Ronin, that cemented the idea in my then-15-year-old head that the S8 was outstanding on every level, many years just before Tony Stark and his R8 demonstrated that an Audi could be properly great.
I can see why Lewis wanted one. Even before a shot associated with nitrous (which Ronin deserves an additional bit of kudos for getting mentioned inside a film some four years prior to the Fast and The Furious landed), the particular gen-one S8 was good for 335bhp. An impressive output back then, but you wouldn’t know it from the outside – discreet badging and silver mirror caps apart, it looked like any other A8. The best getaway car.
twenty-four years on from the launch from the D2 S8, the fourth and newest version of the luxobarge rocketship is here now. And it still flies under the adnger zone, perhaps even more so than the original : you can spec sportier-looking alloys in the standard A8 than you can about this thing.
It’s much more potent now, of course. The current S8’s 4. 0-litre twin-turbo V8 builds up 590lb ft of torque, getting on pertaining to double the figure managed by naturally-aspirated original. It’s the same tale with the power, which over 4 generations has reached 563bhp. However, mighty V10 S8, the design line’s one flirtation with something other than a V8, is thoroughly outgunned by the new one.
It’ll do 0-62mph in 3. 6 seconds, but you’re so properly insulated from the outside world in this pills of leather and screens that this S8 doesn’t feel as shockingly fast as the numbers suggest it will. The V8 also doesn’t create a great deal of fuss about all the forwards momentum it’s generating. Even in Powerful mode, it’s hushed, although the rumbly noises you do hear are very pleasurable.
Previous S8s had been all about what they could do in the straight line rather than their handling abilities (the hero car within Ronin was converted to rear-drive for all those slidey shots), but the latest vehicle has some measures to address this. There is a torque-vectoring limited-slip differential, rear-wheel steering, and an adapted edition of the A8’s predictive air suspension system.
All of this stuff works. The S8 is far more sports than a two-tonne luxury car needs to be, even if a Mercedes-AMG S63 draws off the same trick while sensation even sharper. There’s very little move, and changes of direction can be achieved quickly without the chassis having a fit. The caveat is the steering : whether it’s to do with the speed-dependent power assistance or the way front side and rear-wheel steering works jointly I can’t be sure, but it seems downright odd in Dynamic setting.
It’s not easy to forecast how much steering angle you’re likely to get at first, making placing front side end tricky. Thankfully, it feels a lot more natural if you stay away from the Powerful setting for the steering, but anything you do, there isn’t a whole lot associated with feedback going on.
There are also only so much that framework tech can do before you’re reminded that this is, after all, a big, large waft-mobile. Push on enough, especially in the wet, and understeer is commonly the order of the day. You might have the occasional loss of traction from the back axle instead, but this is a traditional Quattro Audi in the way its awd system works.
Plus that’s just fine. The S8 might not handle like the RS6 we attempted a few months back, but it’s not meant to. Comfort is a bigger priority, and that realm, the S8 experience it nailed. I don’t quite understand the stage in a ‘Comfort+’ setting when there is no standard ‘Comfort’ mode, yet damn, is the S8 smooth whenever set thusly.
It’s calm, too, and has all the toys you can ever want. It’s not quite a wonderful as S8s of old because of Audi’s current obsession with intense lines and lashings of piano-black plastic, but it’s a log cabin I’d happily spend many hours within. Audi has even tuned out there that awful off-the-line automatic transmission lag that has afflicted so many from the products over the last few years. So , that will leaves precious little to get anxious about.
There’s some thing satisfying about enjoying the S8’s relaxed attitude in full knowledge it could tear down the road at a moment’s notice. And most importantly, on very first glance, it doesn’t look like it could. Yes, there may be sharper luxo-barges around, but most tend to shout about it. The particular S8, on the other hand, might just be the last correct sleeper car.