The latest sports sedan from Audi is indeed large – we are talking about the Audi S8. The car manufacturer has built this car with the North American market in its mind and it has indeed been successful with this approach, with the 2013 Audi S8 registering more than 30% of its sales in this market. We take a look to see what else has been provided in this king-sized car built for the sports sedan segment.
The latest offering from the luxury car maker, the 2013 Audi S8 is indeed a huge car despite the fact that it has been built over a short wheelbase. The body has been primarily built of aluminium, which has helped in keeping its down to 4400 pounds (around 600 pounds lighter in weight than the S63 AMG from Mercedes Benz).
The Engine Aspects and the Power Game:
The erstwhile version of the Audi S8 had been powered by 5.2L V10 engine, which somehow did not fit into the equation of a luxury sedan. The present Audi S8 gets its power from 4.0L V8 engine having twin turbochargers. It is obvious that this engine is smaller but what is interesting is that it has been packed with more power. It generates a peak power of 520Hp (the previous version had power restricted to 450Hp) and the torque achieved is tremendous at 479lb-ft that can be attained between 1700-5500rpm (torque in the previous version was only 398lb-ft). This provides great tidings as far as the straight line performance of the Audi S8 goes as the vehicle blasts to 60mph from rest in just four seconds, which is a significant improvement over the erstwhile variant (the previous model took 5 seconds to achieve this feat). Top speed has been, however, restricted to the same 155mph. The growl that the car emits when driven increases with power, but does not really hurt the ears.
The Driving Experience:
Other than lowering its cylinder count as well as lowering its displacement, the engine of the 2013 Audi S8 has also been equipped with the feature of cylinder deactivation. Active mounts provided on the engine has been able to significantly lower down the unwanted vibration. The car is an all-wheel drive and the power is transmitted through an 8-speed automatic ZF gearbox. Though the maker has provided the option of manually playing with its transmission through paddles provided on the Audi S8’s steering column, sooner rather than later, the drivers would prefer the auto transmission for driving this behemoth. Although front torque and rear torque have a 40/60% split and the S8 can be steered on gravel roads using its gas pedal, this ability should not confuse us into thinking that this is a sports segment vehicle. There is significant body roll in the vehicle and it can be under-steered on tarmac. Though a setting for dynamic driving can be achieved by modifying the S8’s steering weight, damper thickness, exhaust sound and throttle response, it still leaves a lot to be desired dynamically. The sports setting of the car is almost similar to its auto and comfort settings and does not come in with anything extra. This is an aspect in which the Audi S8 had been expected to perform much better.
Like in case of all performance derivatives that is brought out by Audi, the S8 does not differ much in the styling aspect than the regular A8 variant. The change that is most obvious is that the standard model of the Audi S8 has been provided with 20-inch wheels. The option of 21-inch wheels is also available. Minor changes have also been provided in mirror caps made of aluminum as well as in the detailing of the grille. The vehicle has also been provided with 4 tailpipes as against the standard two pipes, for letting the exhaust past.
Although the company is yet to finalize the pricing of this car, it is expected by the market experts to be somewhere in the range of $100,000.
The Final Word:
The 2013 Audi S8 is smart, offers king-sized space and is a good car in the executive category. Where it unfortunately lacks is that its sportiness leaves a lot to be desired.