Driven: Audi S8 – PistonHeads

19 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Driven: Audi S8 – PistonHeads

Audi S8

DRIVEN: AUDI S8

The V10’s but there are two turbos and a V8 – and a lot of – to help keep happy

In a world where are struggling to tread water, debt crises are enveloping nations, and where fuel and swingeing taxation are making the most ardent fossil-fuel just a teensy bit worried green issues, cars the new Audi S8 should not exist.

needs a 513bhp, 5.15-metre capable of lunging from in 4.2secs. For a start, that of acceleration makes it hard for average company director to on that morning’s FT, pinned as would be to the leather upholstery of the rear seat. And besides, you seen the pump-price of fuel?

Surely every sensible chap makes sure his glides along on a pillow of turbodiesel efficiency?

Fortunately Sure, the vast majority of luxobarges do run on the black stuff, and nothing wrong with But for the chap (or chappess) who wants performance from their express, and hang the logic of it, are still a few choices: the 503bhp XJ Supersport, the 536bhp Mercedes S63 or this, the 513bhp Audi S8.

And boy is mighty performance here. A light weight (1975kg make it the automotive equivalent of but it isn’t bad for such a large and all that power, not to mention a of torque (479 lb ft of the stuff) is with you for several thousand gives the S8 genuine near-supercar of straightline speed. It’s when you compare it with the S8’s ability to muster 360bhp and a 0-62mph sprint of

But the S8 also sings for its supper in terms. Despite its prodigious the fastest A8 manages a creditable on the EU combined cycle. It does so of a bag of tricks that includes the (a lowest-in-class drag coefficient of and the innovative (as well as stop-start, the new twin-turbo V8 now has cylinder de-activation

It’s clever stuff, shutting down of cylinders: on how consistently or gently you’re and as long as you’re running 960 and 3500rpm, the S8 becomes a four-cylinder And Audi reckons this is a 10 per cent improvement in fuel during normal, everyday

You don’t want to be aware this is happening, of course, so counters the naturally more tones of four-cylinder internal with active engine and active noise cancellation via the system’s sub-woofers. This tricks you into hearing and that you are running a super-quiet V8.

It’s as efficient as it is effective to the extent that Audi’s felt the need to show us how it is by demonstrating the effect of running the car the active engine mounts and trickery. Without that we would have been to its effects. It’s that

The sharper PHers out there also have noticed we keep talking about V8s and for the new S8, the old V10 has been replaced by an all-new twin-turbo motor. And very it is. Apart from those power figures, the new engine is light (at 220kg) and compact just 497mm long) and of the ancillaries, including the exhaust turbos and intercooler, are nestled the vee of the engine.

The effect of this on the S8’s is notable. Yes, it will in extremis but, as with its humble A8 brethren, it feels light on its toes for such a car. the steering is nice, with a suitably meaty to it, and a firmness around the straight-ahead helps to give the car a rock-steady gait.

On twisty roads the S8 a pretty impressive job of hiding its The sport differential metes out to the rear wheels as you accelerate out of and the quick steering helps it to nimble. It’s pretty stuff.

The optional ceramic brakes can get though. They stop you enough, but you can gather sufficient that prolonged, repeated braking can cause more a whiff of smoke to rise the wheelarches – though then you won’t find any But this is a two-tonne car; the of physics can be stretched, but they be beaten.

The Audi S8 is a fine bit of then: it’s fast, clever and it handles pretty And we haven’t yet mentioned the truly cosseting interior. Or the price: the starts from below whereas a Merc S63 AMG won’t you change from Ј112,000.

And yet the S8 doesn’t quite make If you really want performance and fun from your fast then you’ll probably the route of something like an M5 (or wait and see if Audi makes an because the S8, despite its manifest j¬ust doesn’t feel sporty enough.

It’s only little the gearbox occasionally putting you in too a gear out of a slow corner, the that, even under acceleration, the trick V8 doesn’t quite beefy enough. But it is enough to make committed look elsewhere.

If, however, you a comfortable, swish long-distance then it would be hard to against the V8 diesel A8, with its 590lb ft of torque. The S8, in short, like a car that’s ended up the wrong badges; more an than a full-on S model. And a shame, because the S8 is a car made up of great parts.

It’s that the sum of them doesn’t add up.

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