There are few cars which surprise and delight in equal measure, or set the pulse racing, but the AUDI S8 Sport is one of them.
The Audi S8 is the zenith of the Audi range, and has the acceleration of a Ferrari, and the comfort of a Rolls-Royce, making for an impressive combination. That such power is disguised by Audi’s restrained styling makes it even more unexpected, and therefore impressive, and this performance is matched by a luxurious interior in keeping with the top-end of the Audi range.
We actually drove the S8 ‘Sport,’ but since then, Audi have introduced the S8 Plus, which compared to the Audi R8 V10 sports car’s capabilities is just four-tenths of a second slower to 62mph and only 8.5mph off its top speed! But that delight is for another day.
Meanwhile under the bonnet of the Audi S8 is a whopping V8, 4.0 litre twin turbo engine, the same engine that powers the Bentley Conti GT so do not be surprised that within a very short space of time you are doing a deeply illegal speed. For a car that weighs close to two-tons and can seat four passengers in luxury, this is an extraordinary achievement.
In ‘Comfort’ mode, it feels as if you are sitting in a very comfortable armchair, but in Sport mode, it drops down on its suspension and delights with precise steering, and sensitive responses. Its top speed of 155 mph is unlikely ever to be tested on a public road so that at 40 mph which is the more likely speed that you will be travelling at on our congested roads means that the car is barely awake and your ride will be effortless.
The interior boasts a dashboard and central console support system to meet your every need and even some which you had no idea would be so important to your comfort level and those little Audi finishes that just ouse quality.
For example, the interior lined with fine Nappa leather with decorative stitching on the door armrests, central console Airbag cover on the steering wheel, the door panels and pockets and the aluminium trim strips framing the windows. Also the Valcona leather sports seats with memory function to twenty two adjustable positions including pneumatic lumbar support. And little attention to details like the illuminated door sill trim with S8 logo and again the logo on the painted brake callipers.
On the dashboard, I particularly like the ‘retro’ analogue clock and the central console with enough buttons to aid landing an airbus!
And of course there is the tell-tale special touch that only the cognoscenti know what distinguishes the S8 from the S8 Plus – the S8 has a dual branch oval twin tailpipes in chrome finish but for a further £16,000, the S8 Plus’ sports exhaust tailpipes are in high-gloss black!
We have to admit that although this is a ‘sport’ model, it is just too comfortable to give one the sport’s car experience, they have left the driver with nothing to do other than to sit back and enjoy the ride and there is certainly no throaty exhaust sound to disturb your listening to the top quality BOSE surround sound system.
In summary, the S8 is a thing of beauty, a joy forever, and by any measure, the Audi S8 Sport is a wonderful machine: blisteringly quick and beautifully built. This is a car for the man who has everything, and who likes speed in comfort and is willing to spend upwards of £83,375.
Robert Jarman has spent a lifetime observing and commenting on the habits and habitats of that endangered species, the British Aristocracy, including their houses, art collections, sports and pastimes.
He was a part-owner and Managing Director of Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage, which he acquired and rescued from near extinction in 1976, and built into an international publishing company.
He published the catalogues for a number of major Exhibitions at the V&A and the Royal Academy in the UK, the Cooper Hewitt and MOMA in New York, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
He also conceived and created an important contemporary reference book called, ‘People of Today’, first published in 1981which is the ultimate study of the UK’s most successful and influential people.
He is therefore well-qualified to publish and edit The Vintage Magazine, an on-line publication aimed at, but not limited to, the affluent and active, over 50s who number over 23 million in the UK, and control 80% of the wealth of the country.