By 1910, August Horch had been forced to leave the helm of his automobile manufacturing company. His penchant for racing and other behaviors that were considered to be too dangerous for the CEO of a company were the determining fa
ctors in his ouster. So, what is a man to do when his passions are racing and automobile manufacturing? Build another company, but give it a sports car pedigree of course. Thus Audi was born.
To many, Audi is more of a luxury sport sedan builder than a manufacturer of pure sport cars, but a new player out of Ingolstadt may change all of that. Buyers the world over are familiar with the driver-pleasing Audi A8. A great sedan, with more than enough power to compete with BMW and base Mercedes-Benz units, yet it falls short when you look at the products coming from MB’s AMG section. Classics like the S65 AMG breeze by the A8 in every category. Not to be outdone, Audi has answered with an A8 derivative, the S8 Plus. Since the new S8 Plus is looking to compete with AMG, we thought it at least deserved a closer look from us.
The Audi S8 Plus: Under the Bonnet
Cars, like women should not be judged by what is on the outside, so let’s take a tick to have a peak under her bonnet, shall we? A quick peak shows you a 4.0L(3993 cc) powerhouse that looks vaguely familiar. That would be because it is a tuned version of the engine found in the standard S8. As mentioned, this one has been tuned, and quite nicely at that. The S8 Plus is rated for 605 bhp, a boost of 85 bhp over the base S8, because 520 ponies just weren’t enough! The bonnet-beast is mated to Audi’s fun-to-drive eight-speed Tiptronic transmission. A manual may have been more fun, but would take a very skilled driver to keep under control on take off.
So, what can this monster engine do for you? How about jumping from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds? After you get that whiplash treated, you can test out the top speed. Germans, being an impatient people, like to get places fast. The base Audi A8 has an electronic damper that places top speed a 250 km/h. After years of complaints, Audi bowed to pressure to raise that limit. As a result, the S8 Plus has a top speed of 305 km/h. A very sensible speed for those times when you have forgotten something at the store and need to get there fast. Granted, you have to opt for the Dynamic package in order to hit that speed, but you are already shopping, so why would you order it up? That top speed also allows you to separate yourself from the AMG owners who are still stuck back around 250 km/h.
Driving Experience of the Audi S8 Plus
Now that you know that BMW and AMG owner’s will get a better look at your S8’s quadruple exhaust tips than anything else, you may be wondering how the thing drives. Smoother than that girl from the pub last night, that’s for sure.
Start the beast and you will immediately appreciate its deep throat, The rumble can drown out most other noise and will turn heads by itself, but a great exhaust does not a car make, so let’s push on. Audi built the S8 on the tried and true A8 chassis, but had to make a few adjustments to accommodate the added horsepower. After modifying the chassis and air suspension systems, Audi added a torque-vectoring system to better man the rear axle. The electronic programming had to be brought inline with the tuned engine, as well. Past A8 owners will notice that the Comfort mode is virtually unchanged and will still allow quite a bit of body roll in turns and while cornering. The programming changes rear their collective head in the Auto and Dynamic driving modes. In these modes, every aspect of the S8 Plus becomes firmer; more agile and precise than those in the A8 or the base S8, for that matter.
Drivers who opt for the Dynamic trim package(don’t confuse this with the Dynamic driving mode), giving them the aforementioned 305 km/h top speed, will want a few added bits for safety, handling, and the all important ability to stop. To that end, Audi adds a carbon-fiber rear spoiler and carbon-ceramic brakes. The brakes are designed to bite hard and decelerate harder.
Despite the barely restrained beast under the bonnet, the S8 Plus remains a luxury sport sedan, so Audi did not let Quattro GmbH turn it into a sport first auto. Buyers can still expect to be sequestered in total comfort, with every control at their fingertips. Buying an S8 Plus guarantees that while cloistered in comfort and serenity, you will be able to tackle open road or twisty turn with aplomb. The S8 Plus is by far the top offering within its segment, topping perennial favorites like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. While a new Audi A8 is outside of most buyers’ price ranges, BE FORWARD offers gently used exports from Japan at a fraction of cost. Search our Audi A8 listings for your dream car today!