It goes without saying that sedans have over the years become less and less popular with car buyers, and this is no different for high-performance iterations too. Consumers simply desire SUVs, and the same goes for consumers’ hunger for high-performing high-riding SUVs. It’s however refreshing to know that the once highly sought-after high-performance, ultra-luxury sedan segment still lives on, albeit somewhat niche.
Audi S8 TFSI Quattro Fast Facts
- Price: R2 759 000
- Engine: 4,0-litre bi-turbo V8 TFSI
- Power: 420 kW
- Torque: 800 N.m
- Transmission: Eight-step Tiptronic transmission
- Fuel consumption: 10,8 L/100km (Claimed)
- 0-100 km/h: 3,8 seconds
- Top speed: 250 km/h
- Rival: BMW M760e xDrive
What are we driving?
Wrapped in the Ultra Blue exterior hue, I could easily spot the Audi S8 TFSI Quattro which underwent surgery at the end of 2022, from several streets away before it arrived on my driveway. Its striking looks and low grumble from the 4,0-litre bi-turbo V8 motor instantly caught the attention of bystanders. On offer of course, is a mouthwatering 420 kW and 800 N.m of torque. The boffins at Audi have paired the monstrous V8 to a fast-shifting eight-step Tiptronic transmission, with power being sent to all four wheels via the Quattro all-wheel drive system for maximum traction ability.
Why is the Audi S8 TFSI Quattro significant?
The Audi S8 TFSI Quattro finds itself in quite a unique position as a luxury-based high-performance limousine, especially in a world where these have made way for their high-riding counterparts. The low-slung model boasts an understated yet striking exterior design. There are no extroverted and ‘in your face’ styling elements, at least not like other German vehicles playing in the same segment. The S8 TFSI Quattro instead blends in much more in suburbia, and one may even argue that it at times goes unnoticed.
Related: Audi R8 Successor Going Electric
More important to customers however is the sheer level of comfort offered by the sports limousine. Thanks to the standard fitment of predictive active suspension, the S8 TFSI Quattro can iron out even the roughest and most uneven road imperfections which we’ve become so accustomed to in Gauteng. A neat party trick is the ability of the predictive active suspension to detect speed humps using the vehicle’s front camera, and to quickly raise the suspension upon approach to ensure that passengers hardly notice them. Further to this is the vehicle’s ability to raise and lower the ride height by up to 50 mm making getting in and out much easier.
Lastly, the sports limousine boasts impeccable luxury appointments in the interior. The cabin not only looks special but feels amazing too. Fitted to my test unit is the optional Audi design selection Pastel Silver, which costs a pretty penny at R105 000. This option adds light-coloured grey suede/Alcantara trimming on the door cards and other surfaces around the vehicle. My only concern regarding this feature would be keeping it clean over an extended period. Four doors mean a family and a family means the likelihood of small children.
What’s new on the Audi S8 TFSI Quattro?
As mentioned, the updated Audi S8 TFSI Quattro went under the knife towards the end of 2022. Some of the updates include a single-frame grille which has been widened and now includes chrome design elements, side air intakes which are now more upright, revised headlights which sport Digital Matrix LED technology and OLED taillights with four different designs to choose from.
What does the Audi S8 TFSI Quattro cost?
- Audi S8 TFSI Quattro – R2 759 000
What are the Audi S8 TFSI Quattro rivals?
The Audi S8 TFSI Quattro currently finds itself as a lone wolf as it is the last of its kind to not feature hybridization in its drivetrain. Looking closely at what rival vehicle manufacturers offer may reveal that the BMW M760e xDrive, which also happens to be a plug-in hybrid, would be a competitor based on its 420 kW and 800 N.m outputs, bang on with the S8. However, it wouldn’t be entirely fair to compare the two, at least not directly. The first reason is that the Audi isn’t hybridized, and second being the significant starting price difference between the two. The BMW M760e xDrive comes in at R3 090 000 – a whopping R331 000 more than the Audi S8 TFSI Quattro.
What is the Audi S8 TFSI Quattro like to drive?
The Audi S8 TFSI Quattro needs to perform two main tasks quite well – the first being the ability to ferry passengers in the utmost comfort and serenity, and the second being the ability to transform into a capable sports limousine. I’m happy to report that it indeed exceeds both high expectations and rather well at that.
With the Audi Drive Select dialled up to ‘Dynamic’ and transmission placed into ‘Sport’, the S8 transforms into a different beast. There is noticeable turbo lag however once the large sports limousine gets going, it accelerates with great vigour. Shifting the cogs manually via either the gear selector or the steering-wheel-mounted paddles certainly does help but only just.
Performing a standing launch will result in a claimed 0-100 km/h sprint time, with brutal gear shifts on each upshift. The sound of the growling V8 in the background as the speedometer quickly climbs to unmentionable speeds is another reason why the S8 TFSI Quattro receives a big thumbs up from this writer.
Handling and cornering prowess are just as impressive as straight-line abilities and aiding this is the standard fitment of a self-locking sport differential which assists fast cornering by actively distributing torque between the rear wheels. The S8 TFSI Quattro feels agile and quick on its feet – traits that one wouldn’t necessarily attribute to a large limousine.
The Quattro all-wheel drive system impressed as it had an opportunity to showcase its abilities during my testing when the Gauteng heavens opened. ‘Confidence-inspiring’ could be the best way to describe how composed and unbothered the Quattro system handled itself, even with the roads soaked with rain.
The Audi S8 TFSI is certainly the last of a dying breed as a pure-bred turbocharged V8 devoid of electrification. It is for this reason then that it may still appeal to those still not willing to accept the inevitable change, that is motoring as we once knew it. With an asking price just below R2,8 million, it offers a great deal of luxury appointments, superb comfort levels and performance attributes to match too.