2009 Audi S8

 Audi S8 is the German auto maker's flagship performance sedan. Debuting at the beginning of the new millennium, was the third vehicle for the North American market to sustain an "S" badge. Used to produce Audi's engineering achievements, S-and RS-badged vehicles compete directly against other automakers performance models from divisions like BMW's M and Mercedes-Benz's AMG. As a high-luxury, high performance and high-technology platform, the S8 is the standard bearer of Audi's arsenal.

There are two generations of the Audi S8 and each has been based on the A8 luxury sedan from the same period. Based on the A8's lightweight aluminum-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 sedan, a combination of a relatively light curb weight, muscular and tenacious grip of the car's standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system makes it surprisingly quick and smooth. Audi's Quattro system is a key advantage over S8's competitors by providing more traction, especially in the weather.

Audi has ensured that luxury amenities were not sacrificed in favor of direct speed. A premium leather-trimmed interior, real wood accents and exemplary fit and finish complement both S8 models, which makes a whole gang of safety devices. If there is a mistake to Audi S8, it is certain that it does not quite match the performance potential of some competitive sports sedan. Our editors have described it as an impressive luxury sedan first and a performance sedan second. But for those who need AWD security or simply wishing a speedy, stealthy and relatively rare luxury sedan, either S8 generation will do nicely.



Current Audi S8

Returns to LINEUP for 2007 after a three-year break, the latest Audi S8 is based on second-GEN A8. Its most talked-about feature is its engine. Audi's engineers took advantage of its 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 FSI petrol direct injection to optimize the delivery. The result is an operatic 450 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. All this sonorous power is pushed through a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, so you can happily keep my fingers tapping the steering wheel paddle shifters. The sound of the engine wailing through four exhaust pipes are so sweet, you can ask premium audio system to take five.

The current Audi S8 delivers performance products, while rewarding the driver with a rich experience filled with techno-gadgetry. It is easy to learn Multi Media Interface with Bluetooth navigation, a 350-watt, 12-speaker Bose audio system with a glovebox CD changer, power lifting just outside mirrors with tilt-in-reverse and everything is wrapped in sumptuous leather and wood trim. A stiffer version of the standard A8's fully independent adaptive air suspension works in the unit with 20-inch wheels, performance tires and speed-dependent steering to provide exceptional handling in both high and low speed maneuvers.

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

Former Audi S8 models

When it debuted for the 2001 model year, the first Audi S8 came with a 4.2-liter V8 making 360 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. The aluminum frame and body are lowered, stiffer suspension performed well in its 18-inch wheels. The fit and finish besteden something else in its class. It even won a star packed role in a memorable car chase in Ronin movie directed by John Frankenheim. But S8 never seemed to be named Cachet of its impressive rivals.

Audi continued to improve the car by small increments over the next two years. It offered new features such as a tire-pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking assist and a navigation system. To increase the feeling of exclusivity, Audi released a limited edition color combinations like a silver exterior with a red 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 gives serious performance dynamics, which can be enjoyed from the most beautiful of environments.
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