Welcome aboard the Audi S8, one the most luxurious sedan experiences you will ever have. Think Queen Mary 2 elegance on the road, where the S8 has been Audi’s flagship vehicle for more than 25 years.
Your luxury experience begins even before you even enter the S8 with the vehicle’s predictive active air suspension that raises the S8 up to assist your entry. Take your seat, pull on the beautifully machined door handles and the soft close doors will shut without the need to slam them. The S8 repeats this sequence when you exit the vehicle as well.
One of the first things you will notice in the cabin is the sweet scent of high-quality leather that covers almost every surface in this particular S8, which is fitted with the Sensory Package that includes extended elements in leather with contrast stitching.
Driving the S8 is a pleasure thanks to the sport leather steering wheel with lovely metal paddle shifters that are a delight for your fingertips to touch if you want to take manual control of the 8-speed Tiptronic transmission. Press the voice control button on the steering to do things like changing radio station as long as you use the station name and not the frequency, making a phone call or setting a destination on the sat nav, all of which worked well for me.
Behind the wheel is Audi’s virtual cockpit plus that can be configured to your personal preference and displays the night vision camera that electronically visualises the road and surroundings, including identifying and marking out people and larger wild animals. The headlight technology fitted to the S8 is immense, the HD Matric headlights with laser light illuminate the road ahead so brightly and when you get home the extended light sequencing display bids you Good Night.
Almost every function in the S8 is an entertaining encounter, like the ambient lighting or the front air vents that are hidden behind carbon fibre covers that roll back to expose the vents when the car is started. To open/close the vents there are illuminated touch pads rather than manual controls and the rest of the climate controls in the S8 are operated from the lower screen. As a result, it gets a lot of fingermarks on it. So does the no cost option High gloss styling package, possibly the only thing that I didn’t like about the cabin design.
The cabin is quiet in the S8 unless you decide to turn it into a concert hall thanks to the Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System. Seamless connection to the wireless Android Auto allows you to stream your favourite music to this immense sound system, which is one of the best I have ever heard. A wireless charger is located under the arm rest on the side of the cubby with a clamp to hold it in place. Here there are also two USB-C ports and wireless charging for the key fob, with a 12V outlet located under the cover in the centre console with the two cup holders with grippy sides and rubber mat in the base for easy cleaning.
The Valcona leather seats are quite possibly my favourite feature of the S8 and all four of them are very comfortable for long drives to the seaside like the one I took with my family. Both of the S customised contour front seats front seats have power adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat height front and rear, 4-way lumbar with the controls located on side of seat. Then if you select the seat menu on the lower touchscreen in the S8 you can also adjust side bolster and seat base bolster. Once the perfect setup has been found you can save it on one of the two memory positions.
This is just the start of your indulgent seating experience because the front seats and armrests are heated, plus the S8 has seat ventilation and multiple massage types to choose from. My favourite massage was the stretch combined with seat heating on, it was like I had been transported to my favourite day spa.
In this S8 the ultimate automotive seating event was not limited to the front seat passengers because the Sensory package also includes heated and ventilated rear seats with massage function, and electric rear outer seats with lumbar support and powered adjustment for recline, forward/back, front seat height and one memory position. There are also two built in rear seat settings one for recline and one for upright position and the rear occupant sitting on the passenger side can move the seat in front of them forward.
All of this is controlled from the screen at the front of the arm rest on the fold down centre seat as is the 4-way digital climate control. The two central air vents have touch controls also and there are air vents in the B-Pillar and under the front seats. I did find if my children had the air speed on anything above 3 that it made a loud wind noise for front seat passengers.
For younger passengers the S8 has two ISOFIX/two rear tether child seat restraint points and powered blinds on the rear windows and a rear blind. There are two cup holders at the front of the arm rest and a cubby within it with two USB-C ports. Below the two central air vents is a pop out compartment with two 12V outlets also. The drink bottle storage in the rear doors is suitable for slim drink bottles only.
A statement vehicle like the Audi S8 must have a statement powerplant to go accompany its poise. Here that power is provided by a 4.0 litre, V8 petrol engine with twin turbocharging in a hot V configuration that delivers 420kW of power at 6,000rpm and 800Nm of torque between 2,050 – 4,500rpm combined with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. The official combined fuel consumption is 10.5L/100km and for my week I used 13.4L/100km.
The Drive Modes that you can select include Comfort Plus, which definitely the choice for highway driving the S8 feels as relaxed as the occupants inside it. Then you have Dynamic mode and when I pushed the S8 along one of my favourite roads it performed exceptionally. Thus demonstrating the S8 is an all-rounder, cruisy when you want and sporty when you need it, with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.8 seconds. The other drive modes available include Auto, Efficiency, and Individual. Under Individual mode can customise the Drive System, Suspension, Steering, and Engine Sound.
The S8 has a very large boot space with plenty of room for the weekly shop or your family’s luggage when you take a weekend away. The boot has gesture open or can be opened from the button under the boot lid, on the key fob, or in the cabin. There are four substantial tie down points and a cargo net, one 12V outlet in the boot and tyre repair kit under the boot floor. The rear seats do not fold down, but there is a hatch between the two rear seats for longer items to be carried.
The Audi S8 has an extensive list active safety systems but does not have an ANCAP safety rating. These include Audi active lane assist, Audi side assist, Attention assist, Audi pre-sense front with Autonomous Emergency Braking – provides collision mitigation from 5km/h up to 85 km/h (pedestrians and cyclists) and up to 250 km/h (vehicles), Audi pre-sense rear collision avoidance assist, Turn assist, Cross traffic assist rear, Intersection crossing assist, and adaptive cruise (operated via a stalk behind the steering wheel). Passive safety includes front airbags for driver and passenger, side airbags for front and rear outer passengers, head level curtain airbag for front and rear, centre airbag between driver and front passenger.
The 360-degree reversing camera incorporates four wide-angle cameras cover the entire area immediately around the vehicle, providing a range of different views for even easier maneuvering with front and rear parking sensors and it is very impressive.
All new Audi vehicles sold come with a 5 years/unlimited kilometres manufacturer warranty and Audi Care 24-hour roadside assistance is complimentary for the first 3 years and may be extended if you continue to have your vehicle serviced at an Audi Service Centre. The service interval for the S8 is one year or 15,000kms, whichever occurs first, and you can purchase a five-year service plan upfront currently for $4,520. When you have your Audi scheduled servicing performed at an Audi Service Centre in the first three years of ownership, you also become eligible to join the Audi Experience program, offering a calendar of events, masterclasses and bespoke partner offers.
The Audi S8 is the epitome of performance offering you and your family a luxury driving experience like no other. Prices for the S8 start at $273,400 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs and as tested this Firmament blue S8 with the Sensory package ($19,000) was $292,400 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs. You can shop for an Audi S8 online or visit your preferred Audi dealer for more information.
|The comfort of all four seats||Fingermarks on the touch screens|
|The driving experience||Noise from the rear air vents|
|The technology on offer||Cruise control operated from stalk behind steering wheel|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.