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2022 Audi S8 Review: Hail S8-tan

Derryn Wong
12/09/2022
2022 Audi S8 review - CarBuyer Singapore - car driving on the road

Audi’s S8 high-performance limo’s luxury and understated style belie its technology-driven, demonically-quick performance


2022 Audi S8


Launched: August 2022 – Price: S$732,546 with VES and COE
Four-door luxury limousine, five seats
571hp, 4.0-litre mild hybrid, VES C2, 12.0L/100km


PROS
Does everything from warp speed to wafting
Packed with tech for pace and poshness
Still a luxury limousine under it all

CONS
Devilish appetite for fuel
High-tech detracts from driving feel


SINGAPORE 

The Audi S8 has always been a stealth fighter (or Q Car) par excellence, with its S8-tanic side always such a joyful, hedonistic contrast to its straight, lux-limousine mien.

2022 Audi S8 review - CarBuyer Singapore -  static low front 3/4 view

High-powered A8s are infamous thanks to movies like The Transporter (A8 W12) and Ronin (S8), but the S8 itself has been a longtime CarBuyer favourite with its V10-powered models pairing devilish pace with demonic howling. While the third-gen model lost the howl and gained some growl thanks to V8-powered, it was still feted by us for packing superb, and fun, handling with excellent ride quality. 


In its new form, the S8 has become packed with tech that make it easier than ever to fry your licence to crisp, though it does lose a little of the pitchfork involvement in the process. 

The new S8 here is part of the fourth-gen A8 lineup that debuted in 2017, and has now been facelifted.  Read our news story for the full details, but in short, the A8 lineup also includes two other normal A8 L models, one with the 3.0-litre V6 and another with the 4.0-litre V8. 

2022 Audi S8 review - CarBuyer Singapore -  rear tailpipe lights

The S8 is quite different from the A8 L 4.0, although they do look largely similar. Audi’s typical S-car approach doesn’t deviate from the norm here, with subtle sporty tweaks including more dark bits on the front, the silver mirrors, and quad-tailpipes. 



More significant is the fact that the S8 is the only non-extended wheelbase A8 here, measuring 5,190mm in length, with a 2,998mm wheelbase, compared to the A8 L at 5,320mm long, with a 3,128mm wheelbase. This means more agility, but less legroom. 

Under the bonnet is a 4.0-litre biturbo V8 packing 571hp with the power channelled to an eight-speed auto, quattro all-wheel drive with sport differential. This is up from 520hp in the standard previous S8,  although there was also a 600hp S8 Plus model, but that didn’t make it to Singapore. It’s a mild hybrid, which adds a tiny bit of boost and allows for engine-off coasting under low-load conditions.

2022 Audi S8 review - CarBuyer Singapore - front grille lights close up

But even before you hear it go, this devil charms with first impressions too. The S8 packs Audi’s super-techy LED light system (specifically the ‘​​Digital matrix LED headlights with dynamic extended light sequencing and dynamic indicators and ‘OLED rear lights with specific rear light signature 1’) plays a complex unlock sequence. With the latest active air suspension powered by the 48V mild hybrid system, it also rises to meet you once you unlock the door, so it’s easier to step into.

2022 Audi S8 review - CarBuyer Singapore - cockpit steering wheel displays

As the S version of Audi’s flagship limousine, it looks as if there’s enough material here to build Audi’s eventual F1 car, with seemingly every major surface covered in deep gloss carbonfibre.

Audi’s restrained design language meets more perforated leather and red stitching but everything else is A8 business as usual, with the triple-screen layout and more comfort features than you’d ever know what to do with, from cooled, massage seats to a rear armrest infotainment control.

If you resist the diabolical whisperings of the V8, you’ll find that the S8 is a great limousine too. Our first run in the fourth-gen A8 showed brittle ride quality that upset its otherwise impressive refinement, but the new-gen active suspension turns that around. 

It irons out most of the bumps on the road, although small bumps still do tend to come through because of the large 21-inch wheels. Comfort Plus mode. All-wheel steering also comes in extra handy in the daily grind, making the big limo easy to U-turn and park.



The ‘short’ wheelbase makes for less legroom than other, garden-variety limos, but for an S car though, the focus is on the driver’s seat. Is the Audi S8 fast? The title says it all, but it’s also gained an extra layer of refinement that hides the devilry deeper. 

Poke it into Dynamic mode, and the S8 simply rips from point to point, the classic S8 traits of being able to cover lots of ground with nary a whiff of brimstone. The 4.0-litre V8, so enjoyable in everything from the Bentley Flying Spur to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, is no different here doling out mega torque with a stirring V8 soundtrack.

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In fact, the S8 has 100kgs and 30-ish horsepower on the Big Bentley, but feels a lot more alive because of the added tech we recommend prospective owners spec on the Flying Spur. The S8’s all-wheel steer means it rotates like nobody’s business and rockets around bends, with a total lack of understeer seen on the regular A8. It’s riotous fun for the driver, but it may make passengers uneasy if they’re unused to such violent yaw. 

2022 Audi S8 review - CarBuyer Singapore -  car on the road dynamic shot

Singapore simply feels too small for the S8 to unleash its full fire and brimstone, but there’s no doubt it will be as quick as anything over anything but the tightest roads. Our quibble here is that, if anything, the V8 is a little too quiet now, even in Dynamic mode. 

Where you pay the devil is the fact that all this tech does make the S8 feel a little less analogue than its predecessors, but you can level that accusation at nearly every other performance car on the market. You also pay – almost literally – at the pump since we never saw anything better than 15.0L/100km.  

Want more S? We’ve tested Audi’s SQ5 and SQ7 in Singapore too


But who wants/needs a mad luxury limo that dashes to 100km/h in less than four seconds? There’s actually no shortage of competitors, and the Audi’s ironically quite wallet friendly at the fat end of the market. 

2022 Audi S8 review - CarBuyer Singapore - driving behind the wheel

BMW had the V12-powered M760Li, though it’s less agile compared to this S8, and it’s also on its way out. The next 7 Series will still have a V8 model but we’ll only find out Singapore availability next month, while Mercedes-Benz’s S 580 L has V8 power too, but costs quite a bit more at S$809,999 with COE. There’s also the angelic alternative in the electric lux sedan, the EQS, which has an AMG model.

Graduating up to the super-lux segment costs even more, with the S$900k+ (without COE) Bentley Flying Spur, which is sort of the polar opposite.The Bentley is loud, proud, and powerful, the Audi walks quietly but carries a larger stick, plus more technology onboard. It’s the Dapper Deceiver to the Bacchanalian Behemoth. But the sheer understatement of the S8 also means you’ll be free to worship whatever’s under the bonnet most of the time.  

2022 Audi S8 

Drivetrain type Petrol-electric mild hybrid 
Engine 3,996cc, V8, biturbo
Power571hp at 6000rpm
Torque800Nm at 2050-4000rpm 
Gearbox8-speed automatic 
Electric Motor11.2hp/55Nm
BatteryLithium Ion, unknown capacity 
System PowerNot stated
System Torque Not stated
0-100km/h3.8 seconds
Top Speed250km/h
Fuel Efficiency12.0L/100km 
VES Band C2 / +S$25,000
AgentPremium Automobiles 
PriceS$732,546 with COE and VES
Availability Now
Verdict A great Q-Car: A properly luxurious and comfy luxury limousine paired with a hidden demonic side

Tags:

4 door 5 seats Audi gasoline Hail S8-tan Luxury limousine s8

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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