The high-performance version of Audi's prestigious A8 sedan, the S8 offers the same first-class comfort and amenities, but with the thrill of a 605-horsepower turbocharged V8. The S8 remains one of the fastest full-size luxury cars available at any price.
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2017 Audi S8 Overview
What's New for 2017
Aside from additional interior trim choices, the S8 is unchanged.
Choosing Your Audi S8
The centerpiece of the S8 is a twin-turbo 4-liter V8 that lays down 605 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. There's also a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension and 21-inch wheels with summer performance tires. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive complete the mechanical setup. The S8 wears some aggressive styling bits on the outside, but nothing to spoil its classically Audi looks. The S8 rides on Audi's "standard" full-size wheelbase, while the A8 comes only in extended-wheelbase form.
The S8 is available in single trim level known as Plus (the base model departed last year), which includes everything most buyers expect in this class. Inside, you get 22-way heated and ventilated front seats with massage function, and diamond-stitched leather upholstery throughout. The cabin features four-zone climate control, power rear sunshades, and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound system. Also on hand are power soft-close doors, a web-based navigation system, blind-spot monitoring, and rear collision alert.
For an extra measure of performance, the Dynamic package adds a less restrictive speed limiter (190 mph), ceramic brakes at all corners, a sport exhaust system, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler. Other packages are shared with the A8 line and include Driver Assistance (adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, active front collision mitigation) and Cold Weather (heated rear seats and steering wheel).
Individual options are as swanky as you would expect in a car like this. You can get a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system, infrared night vision, and a dual-screen rear entertainment system. Upgraded leathers and interior finishes are also available.
We consider the Driver Assistance and Cold Weather packages to be essential for a car in this league, and they don't add much to the price. The more exotic (and expensive) individual options are simply icing on the cake.
2017 Audi S8 Review
Take one already potent large luxury sedan and beef up the turbochargers, change the valve timing, and bring in new exhaust valves, and you have the “plus” in the 2017 Audi S8 Plus. For 2017, the all-wheel drive Audi is now one of the fastest models in its class, better suited to take on the likes of the BMW M760Li xDrive or the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic.
Pricing and Equipment
The Audi S8 is a large, four-door sport luxury sedan offered in one trim with numerous package and option updates.
The price begins at $116,850 (including $950 for destination). Top options include a Dynamic Package ($11,000), that brings in front and rear carbon-ceramic brakes, a carbon fiber rear lip spoiler, and a sport exhaust system with black finishers. Exclusive exterior colors ($3,900), interior leather color options ($5,500), and decorative inlays (no charge) add personalization.
Other options include a Driver Assistance ($2,100), Night Vision Assistant ($2,300), Black Optic ($5,500), Rear Seat Entertainment ($3,000), and Full Leather ($5,500) packages, as well as a Bang and Olufsen sound system ($6,300). With every conceivable option taken, your final price could top $150,000.
We think customers will opt for the Driver Assistance Package with its active lane assist and adaptive cruise control. For performance enthusiasts – and if you're buying an S8 Plus, you're going to fall into that category – the Dynamic Package is hard to overlook, while audiophiles will appreciate the 19-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system, although the standard Bose system is still excellent.
The top standard features include:
- Voice-control navigation with head-up display
- 14-speaker, 630-watt Bose audio system
- Audi Drive Select (driver-selectable driving modes)
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Top and corner view camera system
- Valcona leather interior with heated front seats
- Power trunk
- Power tilt and telescopic steering column
- Power side and rear window sunshades
- Quad exhaust tips
The 2017 Audi S8 Plus offers one powertrain, a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine makes 605 horsepower and 517 pound-feet of torque (up to 553 pound-feet with overboost). This engine comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting capabilities. All models feature Quattro all-wheel drive and a sport differential. The S8 Plus returns 15 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, which isn't terrible for a 4,600-pound sedan that can hit 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds.
- Some like it fast and the S8 delivers neck-snapping power on demand. Seriously, the S8 is ridiculous quick, not just for its size, but full stop.
- Audi’s Drive Select system dials in changes to the steering weight, throttle response, shift speed, suspension damping, and rear differential action as desired. Choose the Dynamic mode for the ultimate in S8 performance.
- The available dynamic package brings in fade-free carbon-ceramic brakes and an even sweeter exhaust note. Audi also raises the speed limiter to 190 mph from 155 mph.
- The dynamic steering system makes changes on the go and sometimes while cornering in automatic driving mode. The result is steering that sometimes seems unnatural.
- Combined city and highway fuel economy is just 18 mpg. We’ve seen worse and it is doubtful that this would be an issue for most drivers, although paying extra for premium grade gasoline is a must.
- The S8 Plus' twin-turbo V8 is really excellent, but it's not as smooth or refined (or as deliciously ostentatious) as the V12 engines available on the standard A8 and the BMW M760Li.
- Audi interiors are outstanding across the model line, offering excellent fit and finish. The S8 with its top-notch leather, Alcantara headliner, wood inlays, and metal touches is simply beautiful.
- The front seats are exceedingly comfortable for the driver and passenger alike. Plush and bolstered, you’ll find massaging and heating functions, along with 22-way power adjustment with power lumbar support.
- The center display screen emerges from its hiding place to showcase an almost glare-free screen with a black background along with white lettering and orange highlighting.
- Interior space seems small, due to the short wheelbase. Rear seat passengers will find cramped legroom. Moreover, the 14.2 cubic-foot trunk is small for the segment; the BMW 7-Series has 18.2 cubic feet of trunk space.
- The S8’s infotainment system isn’t the most up-to-date version offered by Audi. We can’t wait for an update, one that will finally bring in proper USB ports instead of the current cable connectors, as well as Audi's excellent Virtual Cockpit.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Valcona is Audi’s top range of leather, similar to full grain Nappa, but it supplies an even softer and smoother feel than. It's a seriously plush hide befitting of a six-figure super sedan.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
Audi raised the base price by $1,055 this year for no apparent reason. The S8 is already a costly car and with customers choosing the many options available, so we're a little baffled by the increased price. Then again, customers in this class probably won't be bothered.
The Bottom Line
Large and fast, the Audi S8 doesn’t scream “performance sedan” like its competitors, delivering a more subdued look instead, without giving an inch to BMW or Mercedes-Benz. The S8 Plus matches the others in price, but quite easily you can add tens of thousands of dollars in amenities as you outfit this intoxicating performance luxury sedan.