Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Sublime Audi S8 ensures sedans are far from extinction

The best of the SUV brigade will struggle to match this ride in terms of driveability.

Sedans are being pushed to the brink of extinction in the ever-growing SUV revolution. But with the likes of the Audi S8 fighting on the frontlines their immediate survival is guaranteed.

The S8’s low centre of gravity offers the type of surefootedness and rock-solid cornering, like the rally cars of yore which put Audi’s Quattro badge on the map. Hook this carriage up to a stable stacked with healthy purebreds and the end result is nothing but sublime.

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Audi S8 a purebred

At the heart of the R2 841 800 Audi S8 is the familiar 4.0-litre V8 powerplant which serves on many of Ingolstadt’s RS products. In this case, it’s slightly detuned to offer “only” 420kW of power and 800Nm of torque. This goes to all four corners via eight-speed Tiptronic transmission.

Audi says the S8 can reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 3.8 seconds. It’s top speed is limited to 250 km/h.

After spending a few days in the Audi S8, The Citizen Motoring have no reason to doubt these numbers. The latter will be a letdown on Germany’s Autobahn because you’ll feel it will have plenty left to give once you’re up to 250 km/h. That is how good this car is.

Audi S8
Our Audi S8 rode on 21-inch Evo alloy wheels. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

It’s deceptive how fast the 2.2-ton Audi S8 accelerates through its buttery smooth gear changes. And not only in a straight line. It is so well balanced through corners, you will be tempted to throw it into every turn. Whether on a school run or on the way to church on Sunday.

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Top-notch technology

Adding to its ride quality is what Ingolstadt calls predictive active suspension. This technology loads or unloads each wheel individually with additional power via an electric motor to actively regulate the position of the chassis in any driving situation.

What we liked about the S8’s styling, is that it is unassuming. It features the Audi single-frame grille with chrome angles along with distinctive blades around the air intakes. Plus digital matrix LED headlights at the front and OLED tail lights with a distinctive light strip running along the width of the boot. Classy 21-inch alloys and a sloping roofline stand out when the 5 190 millimetre-long sedan is viewed from the side.

Quad chrome tailpipes and the S8 badging are the only indicators that it might be unwise to take on this distinguished sedan when the light turns green.

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Luxury lounge

Inside, the Audi S8 is a plush and spacious affair, featuring full Valcona leather with diamond stitching. Up front there are two displays, 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch, which include Bang and Olufsen Premium sound system with voice operation and navigation as standard.

Audi S8
The cabin of the Audi S8 is very plush. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

Front passengers have ventilated and heated seat with massage function and lumbar support. The driver has the added benefit of a digital Audi virtual cockpit and head-up display.

The optional package gives each of the back seats individual settings, with 505-litres of boot space enough to gobble up plenty of luggage.

It doesn’t matter what the SUV brigade throws at a proper performance sedan, the Audi S8 performance sedan is hard to match.

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