Sunday, 2 August 2020

2021 Audi S8 Review


For speed freaks with a penchant for comfort and luxury, there's few flagship sedans that do it as well as the 2021 Audi S8. 

With a twin-turbocharged V-8 quietly toiling away under the hood, the S8 can effortlessly blast you and three others to high speeds. And when the going gets twisty, Audi's big four-door can gobble pavement at an eye-opening pace. 

Based on the more mellow A8 luxury sedan, the S8 receives a performance suspension, upgraded brakes, and a punchier power-train, but its exterior styling barely whispers "high-performance"—which makes it a stealth bomber for the road. 

Inside, the S8 offers just as much space and as many creature comforts as rivals such as the BMW 7-series and the Mercedes-Benz S-class, including massaging front and rear seats, the latest in infotainment features, high-quality materials, and excellent fit and finish.

2021 Audi S8 Review, Pricing, and Specs
2021 Audi S8

What's New for 2021?

The S8 is coming off a complete redesign for the 2020 model year so it sees few changes for 2021. 

New standard equipment includes 21-inch wheels, summer tires, and heated armrests for the front-seat passengers. The Black Optic package receives a new 21-inch wheel design.

2021 Audi S8

Pricing and Which One to Buy

  •  S8: $131,895

    That six-figure starting price is steep, but the S8 comes fairly well-equipped even by luxury car standards. 

    We'd suggest the Cold Weather package to buyers in northern climes as it adds heated rear seats and adaptive windshield wipers; 

    The Executive package is also appealing and comes with Audi's cool laser headlamps, automatic high-beams, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. 

    It also includes Audi's OLED tail-lamps, which stage a quick light show when you unlock the car with the fob.

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    2021 Audi S8

    Engine, Transmission, and Performance

    The S8's sole engine choice is a potent one: a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine making 563 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, and the transmission is an eight-speed automatic. 

    Audi claims a top speed of 155 mph, and there are fuel-saving systems, too, including cylinder deactivation and a mild-hybrid setup with a small electric motor and battery. The S8 goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. 

    An active suspension system can control each wheel individually to improve ride quality, and it is tuned differently than that of the standard A8, promising improved cornering prowess thanks to reduced body roll. 

    Audi also includes equipment such as a torque-vectoring rear differential and rear-wheel steering to increase agility; powerful carbon-ceramic brakes are optional.

    2021 Audi S8

    Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

    Even though the S8 is technically a hybrid, buyers shouldn't expect Toyota Prius-level fuel efficiency. The EPA estimates that the best we can expect is 22 mpg on the highway, with the city rating dropping down to just 13 mpg.

    2021 Audi S8

    Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

    Fine materials line nearly every square inch of the S8's cabin, including diamond-stitched leather upholstery, a faux-suede headliner, and a stitched leather dash cover. 

    2021 Audi S8

    The front seats offer standard heating, cooling, and massage, while the rear cabin offers tons of space for passengers to stretch out. 

    To pamper those in the back seat even more, consider the Rear Seat Comfort package, which adds power-adjustable outboard seats with heat, ventilation, and massage, plusher headrests, heated armrests, and a remote control for the car's infotainment system. 

    2021 Audi S8

    Four-zone automatic climate control is standard, as is a multi-color ambient interior lighting system. 

    The trunk is generously sized and identical to that of the A8, which proved its mettle in our testing by holding six carry-on suitcases. For comparison the S-class held 5 and the 7-series held just three.

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    2021 Audi S8

    Infotainment and Connectivity

    As with the standard A8, the S8's interior is a rolling tech showpiece. Multiple touchscreens control climate, audio, navigation, and myriad connectivity functions. 

    Audi's 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster is standard, as is a 10.1-inch upper infotainment system and an 8.6-inch lower display. 

    Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot, and in-dash navigation are all standard, and occupants can charge their compatible smartphones wirelessly using the S8's charging pad. Audiophiles will be happy to find that a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen system is standard; for $5900, Audi will substitute a 23-speaker setup.

    2021 Audi S8

    Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

    Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have performed crash tests on the S8. 

    Audi offers several safety features as standard, but more desirable driver-assistance technologies such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist are optional. Key safety features include:

    •  Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
    •  Standard lane-departure warning
    •  Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode

    • 2021 Audi S8

      Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

      Like its stablemates, the S8 is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile warranty policy, and Audi provides the first scheduled maintenance visit at 10,000 miles free of charge. 

      Buyers may find more value in the BMW 7-series' or Volvo S90's three-year complimentary maintenance plans.

      •  Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
      •  Power-train warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
      •  Complimentary maintenance is covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles.


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