2009 Audi S8
The S8 is the sport version of Audi's flagship A8 sedan. It adds performance elements to the A8's considerable luxury refinements.
The distinctive Audi look is apparent in the S8, with the large grille and rounded body work.
The S8 gets a 5.2-liter V-10 engine producing 450 horsepower. This same engine is also available in the R8.
The S8 has more than enough room for passengers, with plenty of leg room in the back. An extended wheelbase version is available in the A8 model.
The S8 uses an air suspension that can be adjusted for sport or comfort. The suspension on the S8 is designed to be lower than that of the A8.
Junk in the trunk
Car Tech editor Wayne Cunningham finds that the trunk is almost as comfortable as the passenger compartment.
Optional interior appointments
This S8 is equipped with an optional leather package, putting stitched leather over the dashboard. It also has optional carbon fiber trim elements.
The S8's handling is enhanced with speed-sensitive power steering and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Instrument cluster display
As with other Audis, the instrument cluster is complemented by a color LCD between speedo and tach, which shows everything from fuel economy to route guidance.
The six-speed automatic transmission is standard on the S8, with no manual transmission available. Audi's Multimedia Interface controller is mounted on the console behind the shifter.
Audi's rearview camera has always been excellent, offering turn guidance overlays. This one is complemented by a graphic showing sonar object distance detection.
The maps in this system look OK, but the navigation offers no advanced features. Audi is correcting this in an upcoming system.
The music interface works very well for iPods, displaying artist, album, genre, and playlist menus.
Bang & Olufsen audio
The Bang & Olufsen audio system is a $6,300 option, and produces sound that's just too good for compressed audio tracks. We recommend only playing lossless digital audio or full CDs.
This audio system has 14 speakers, including these pop-up sound lenses, and over 1,000 watts of power.
Cell phone system
The Bluetooth cell phone system works very well, making your contact list available in the car's interface.
Blind spot detection
The S8 has a number of optional driver aids, including blind spot detection, which can be turned on with this button. There is also lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.