Audi S8

12 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Audi S8
Audi S8

Audi S8

Meet what#8217;s almost certain to become one of the rarest Audis ever. The company#8217;s official anticipation is that no more than 150 S8s will be sold in the UK each year-volumes to make the R8 look positively commonplace.

It#8217;s a prediction that#8217;s based on a realistic understanding of how the market for XXL saloons works here. Company users willing to take the tax hit of a big petrol engine tend to be looking for a flashier badge, while keen drivers are likely to select something more agile. It#8217;s also a statistic that makes it a bit easier to understand why the S8 fails to deliver on British dynamic tastes.

Audi S8

More of that in a moment, but first the new engine. We#8217;ve already driven a pre- production version of the S8#8242;s new 513bhp twin-turbo V8 (evo 163), but this is our first chance to experience it on proper roads #8211; in this case the fast, flowing tarmac around Pamplona in northern Spain. This is the same engine that#8217;s set to find its way into the Bentley Continental and #8211; in downnined form #8211; the forthcoming Audi S6 and S7.

It#8217;s a storming powerplant, mustering the sort of effortless urge that the previous S8#8242;s naturally aspirated V10 struggled to deliver. Now the combination of a torque peak that starts at just 17()()rpm and a quick-acting eight-speed autobox translates into an any-speed surge of seemingly relentless acceleration.

Audi S8

Audi S8 Interior

Most pre-launch attention has been won by the new motor#8217;s clever cylinder- deactivation system, which turns it into a V4 under gentle use, helping to deliver a 27.7mpg combined economy figure. In the real world the cylinder shuffling is effectively invisible, as even the gentlest throrrle application will get all eight cylinders fired up again.

Sadly, when it conies to the business of corners, the S8 comes straight hack to the too-familiar fast-Audi script of relentless competence. The steering lacks feel behind its artificial weighting, and although there#8217;s lots of grip and a commendable enthusiasm to stick to a chosen line, on slower stuff the S8 starts to feel nose heavy, with driving quickly becoming the customary story of managing understeer. Audi#8217;s sport differential can Ik* felt doing its thing by vectoring torque to the outside-rear corner #8211; hut you have to really drive through front-end slip to persuade it to step in and tighten the line.

So, another dynamically inert fast Audi. The S8 is enormously fast, impressively stable and equipped with everything bar the kitchen sink #8211; but for excitement you still need to look elsewhere.

Audi S8
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