Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue
The updated Audi S8 is now available in SA. Perhaps one of the most understated performance offerings in the firm’s catalogue, this luxury saloon merges under-the-radar aesthetics with the same powerhouse engine as in the RS6 Avant and RSQ8, albeit with a slight detune.
Still, 420kW and 800Nm is nothing to sneeze at, with Audi saying the S8 will go from 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds and hit a limited top speed of 250km/h.
Cog-swapping duties are handled by an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox while a variable Quattro all-wheel drive system equipped with a self-locking sport differential provides traction in all conditions. Up to 85% of available torque can be sent to the rear wheels, which should make the S8 — like its RS3 sibling — entertaining through corners.
Another notable feature standard on this saloon flagship is Audi’s predictive active suspension system that “reads” the road ahead via a host of advanced sensors and video cameras and then adjusts the car’s dampers, ride height and 48V active roll system to better suit whatever is coming. When set to Dynamic mode this system will focus on maximising handling performance; when dialled back to Comfort+ mode the S8’s digital brain will do everything to deliver maximum ride comfort.
To aid slow-speed manoeuvrability and boost high-speed stability the S8 is equipped with dynamic all-wheel steering, and 21-inch five-double-spoke star style wheels are standard.
Compared with the outgoing model, the 2022 S8 sports a host of cosmetic updates including a refreshed front end that boasts a single-frame radiator grille with a wider base and new chrome-licked grid accents. This is flanked by a fancy pair of upgraded digital matrix LED headlights that offer the ultimate in night-slaying lighting technology. Other subtle tweaks include more upright side air intakes and, at the rear, a pair of OLED tail lights.
Audi has gone to town on the S8’s cabin with a plethora of enhanced technologies including the German marque’s latest MMI Navigation plus infotainment system. Connected to a duo of high-definition displays (a 10.1-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.6-inch touchscreen), this set-up supports smartphone mirroring and voice commands as well as a range of online services including Audi safety and service.