If I asked most of y’all to rattle off your top five coveted automobiles, you’d probably respond along the lines of “Bentley Coupe, Phantom, Range Rover, Lamborghini [mispronunciation], and uhhh…” Well these are busy times and we all got a lot of important things to think about, so let me help you finish that thought; “Audi S8.”
Understatement always has the ability to take you far. It’s true in fashion, and translates to cars verbatim. Audi seems to have kept that in mind while designing this latest sport version of their flagship sedan. All-new for 2013, the 8 platform could have easily flexed some of the brand’s bold, fresh styling cues – ala the A7 or R8 – but instead exudes a very recognizable dose of the DNA that has taken them so far; maybe more so than anything else in the current lineup. Sleek, yet not overly-sculpted, hints of the S8 being an executive-level rocketship are so subtle, they might only be caught by Audi brand loyalists. Trust though, this is a trait you can definitely have fun with.
Beneath the bonnet, the latest S8 gives a further toned-down first impression, courtesy of a smaller powerplant than its predecessor. However, you’d be foolish to turn this into a measuring contest. Though the 5.2-liter V-10 (essentially a detuned Lambo motor) has been replaced by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, the car’s new heart is lighter, more fuel-efficient, and of course, faster. The bump from 450 horses up to 520, coupled with loads more torque (479 lb-ft to be exact) translates to a 0-60 time of 4.0 seconds flat; a full second quicker than the old V-10. Top speed is governed at 155mph, and be warned – with the right track spilling through its speakers, you may top out quicker than you’d think.
For the spacious people-mover that it is, the S8’s cockpit still manages to be incredibly driver-oriented. From the traditional chronograph cluster, to the well-placed paddle shifters, right down to its generous (yet exquisitely tasteful) use of carbon fiber, the pilot’s seat is no place for kicking back. (It does still recline way, way back when needed – do with that info what you will.) Couple this action-packed atmosphere with the buttery-smooth onslaught of power from the V-8, and – unlike Funkmaster Flex Night with David Letterman – it ain’t hard to get a ticket in this bad boy. Like dating a Puerto Rican chick, you’re gonna have your hands full here; but the good times are going to feel really, really good.
Rounding out the S8’s “Top 5, dead or alive” appeal is a tricked-out, well designed technology suite that is as simple to learn and navigate as it is to impress. Finger the push-button start, and a pair of Bang & Olufsen tweeters rise from the corners of the dash, while a full-color display flips out to greet you. Pairing your smartphone, for music streaming or (gasp!) talking is a breeze, and thanks to Audi connect® – a T-Mobile powered onboard Wi-Fi system – you’ll easily find any destination or waypoint via Google Earth™, while your car acts as a mobile hotspot for anyone else bucked in.
Yeah, I accept that even after all the praise, I may have not sold you on rounding out your picks with something not often rapped about. It may in fact be your decision to wake up in a new Bugatti, or toss them Maybach keys, and there’s nothing wrong with either. Me though? Well you could easily spot me in any of the aforementioned four; but I’ve always enjoyed flying under the radar, and can’t think of any better vehicle to do it in. You flashy types should try it sometime.
2013 Audi S8 Sedan
Engine: 4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V-8
Power: 520 hp, 479 lb-ft
0-60: 4 seconds
Fuel Economy: 15 city/25 highway
Price as Tested: $130,000