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2015 Audi S8: A collision of sport performance and high-tech luxury (pictures)

The Audi S8, the high-performance version of the A8, delivers nimble handling, but also makes use of a built-in data connection for its navigation system.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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The S8 is the sport version of Audi's A8 flagship sedan, the current generation of which has been around since 2010.

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LED headlights remain an advanced feature, but plenty of competitors have caught up.

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The big grille remains a signature Audi design cue.

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The S8's 4-liter V-8 engine makes use of twin turbochargers and direct injection, boosting it to 520 horsepower.

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The S8 retains a basic sedan design, making for comfortable cabin space in front and back.

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These 21-inch wheels show what Audi calls "Titanium finish."

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The S8 comes standard with an air suspension, adjustable between Dynamic and Comfort modes.

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Quattro all-wheel drive comes standard, and Audi also throws in a torque-vectoring rear differential, which makes the S8 handle extremely well in the turns.

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Quad exhaust pipes and the S8 badge reveal this car's sporting character.

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Audi calls the leather seat color Vermont Brown, and it's a free option for the interior. Massage seats are an option.

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Instead of a typical bench, the rear seat consists of two buckets.

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The S8 model includes many features as standard that would be options on the A8.

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Audi was early to the data game, building in a 3G data connection to the S8. Newer Audi models get 4G connections.

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Electric power steering adjusts between Dynamic and Comfort modes.

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Audi maintains analog gauges here, but the next generation will likely get Audi's new Virtual Cockpit interface.

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The head-up display shows speed and limited turn guidance.

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The eight-speed automatic transmission shifter doesn't actually have a gate, as it toggles back and forth to engage each drive mode.

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The Multimedia Interface controller includes a touchpad for tracing letters and numbers.

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The main menu on this 8-inch LCD uses an elliptical format.

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DriveSelect lets you choose between Comfort, Auto and Dynamic modes for suspension, throttle, steering and even exhaust noise.

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Google Earth imagery in the navigation systems looks extremely cool, but it does not necessarily improve route guidance.

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You can switch to more normal maps, which are very detailed.

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Among the destination options, Audi includes online destination search.

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Destination search results come from Google.

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Audi uses the built-in data connection for a number of other features.

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HD Radio comes standard, and give a single radio station multiple channels.

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Onboard audio sources include Bluetooth streaming, iOS device integration, USB drives and the car's own hard drive.

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The Bang & Olufsen audio option includes its own digital signal processing, 19 speakers and 1,400 watts of amplification.

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Although expensive for a car stereo, the Bang & Olufsen audio option is an excellent deal when compared with home systems.

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The surround-view camera makes parking quick and easy.

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