Global Test Driver | New Car Reviews & Worldwide Automotive News


November 7, 2011

Dream Car: 2013 Audi S8, One Car For All?

More articles by »
Written by: Pete
Tags: , ,

The 2012 Audi S8 is about to launch here in the United States with its official debut happening at this months’ Los Angeles Auto Show.  It will then go on sale sometime in the spring of 2012 as a 2013 model.

What makes this car so special to me is its ability to seamlessly perform virtually any and all tasks any driver might require from a car, at least this driver for sure.  It’s ability to coddle passengers in ultimate luxury with features and amenities most didn’t know existed.  Also, its ability to burn up the stop lights with the straight line speed of many sports and exotic cars today.  And finally its ability to bring some efficiency and practicality to the equation.  Let me explain;

Autobahn Cruiser

The 2013 Audi S8 is of course based on the current SWB Audi A8.  A car that has received numerous accolades since the newest generation hit the market about one year ago.  What that means is that this nearly 17 foot long car has everything one could imagine to make even the longest trips feel not quite long enough.

Packaging for the 2013 Audi S8 has yet to be released but the A8 has now been on the market for about 12 months so we can get a pretty good idea of what to expect inside the Quattro GmbH flagship.  What this means is that features that are likely to be found are vast, just as with the A8.  I find it best just to list them out there is so many, so here goes;

  • Audi Connect – This turns your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing passengers to retrieve information on the Internet.  This can be done either via an external device such as a laptop, tablet, or smart phone or any of the 3 large screens present in the car itself (One 8” up front and two 10” in the rear)
  • Audi MMI Touch – Audis newest navigation and infotainment interface allows users to actual write (or speak) commands for any and all controls from the HVAC settings to audio settings to navigation and vehicle diagnostic settings.
  • Audi Drive Select – Provides control of the adaptive suspension.  The system offers multiple settings such as; Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, or Individual (a custom setting)
  • Automatic Four-Zone Climate Control – Allows each of the front seats and the outboard rear seats to adjust HVAC settings to their desired requirements, independent of the other occupants.
  • Full LED Headlights – In place of more conventional Bi-Xenon headlights will be LED headlights which are brighter and use less energy than either Xenon gas or Halogen gas.
  • Bang & Olufsen Audio – A 19-Speaker, 1,400 watt audio system featuring digital signal processing and acoustic lens technology.

The list goes on and on but these are the features that this editor finds most interesting.  There are almost too many to count and too many to afford too.

Autobahn Burner

The standard Audi A8 features a choice of either a 4.2L V8 making 372 hp or a 6.3L W12 making 500 hp.  The 2013 Audi S8 trumps them both with a Twin-Turbocharged 4.0L V8 making 520 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque.  Plenty to get this nearly 4,400lb luxo-cruiser from a standstill to 60 mph in a claimed 4.2 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

This power is connected to the ground via Audis Quattro AWD system and is wrung through 8 speeds while doing so.  Making sure things don’t get a bit hairy, Audi is fitting the car with standard 20” wheels and optional 21” wheels.  Several choices will be available.

Once you’ve decided that you have had enough, the massive 15.75” brakes up front and 14.37” brakes in the rear while bring things back to reality.  Optional for the European-Spec car are a set of carbon-ceramic discs.  It is unknown if these will make it Stateside.

In order to achieve the best handling possible from a car of this size Audi has used an extensive amount of aluminum in the chassis, frame, and body.  Keeping things in check weight wise, this allows for the 202.2” Audi S8 to weigh approximately 4,354 lbs.  To put this into perspective, the S8’s main competitors, the BMW Alpina B7 and Mercedes S63 AMG, tip the scales at 4,564 lbs and 4,916 lbs, respectively.

How can 520hp and 4,400lbs be efficient?

To make sure the reality of $4/gallon gas doesn’t spoil the fun that can be had in a car like this, Audi has made sure to give it some dose of efficiency and practicality that is sure to appease the wife and even kids.  What that means is that Audi says the 2013 S8 achieves fuel economy ratings of 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.  While certainly not as good as a Prius, it is much better than the 450 hp, 5.2L V10 model that it replaces which returned a less than impressive 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway rating.  Also aiding to the practicality of this car is the standard Quattro AWD.  This provides all weather capability typically not seen with a car of this performance.

Dream Car

Certainly all of this comes at a price as one would expect.  Audi estimates the base price for the 2013 S8 when it goes on sale in the spring of 2012 to be around $110,000, a modest increase from its predecessors’ base price of $96,200 in its last year, 2010.

I am sure many of you are questioning my choice of the 2013 Audi S8 as my current dream car.  Thinking to yourself that a Nissan GT-R or Corvette Z06 is quite a bit faster for $20,000 less.  Or that a Porsche 911 Carrera or a Jaguar XKR or a Mercedes SL550 has more ‘panache’ at the six-figure threshold.  Or that a Land Rover Range Rover or a Porsche Cayenne provides more utility and near levels of luxury and refinement.

The reason why I like the S8 so much is just that.  It, to me, is all of those cars.  With 520 hp it is as powerful as the Nissan GT-R or Corvette Z06.  With a 0-60 of 4.2 seconds (or better) it is as fast as a Porsche 911 Carrera S or Jaguar XKR or Mercedes SL550.  And with 5 seats, 13.2 cu.ft. cargo-capacity, 24 mpg highway rating, and Quattro AWD it is as capable and/or practical as the Range Rover or Porsche Cayenne.  It is all these cars wrapped in to one package.

And that is why the 2013 Audi S8 is my ONE dream car.  Sure, if I had a fleet of cars, the S8 may not make the cut.  But since I have a one-car garage, one will have to do, and this is the car I could see filling that space.

Related posts:

  1. 2013 Model Year Changes for Audi RS5
  2. 2013 Audi A4 to Arrive Next June
  3. Freshened 2013 Volkswagen CC Revealed, headed to L.A.
  4. Fisker Karma Officially for Sale

About the Author


  1. [...] 19 mpg highway rating. Also aiding to the practicality of … … Read the original: Dream Car: 2013 Audi S8, One Car For All? | Global Test Driver … ← How to Use Jumper Cables | on Z (The) Wheels – Auto News, Car [...]

Leave a Reply

  • RSS Reader
  • Newsletter
  • Fan Page
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn Group
  • Twitter