In 1998, Audi introduced the Audi S8 4.2 quattro (Typ 4D) into the European market, a high-performance version of the Audi A8 in the vein of Mercedes-Benz AMG models, sharing the A8's all aluminium monocoque "Audi Space Frame", and Volkswagen Group D2 platform.
Production of this original S8 ended in 2003, shortly before the introduction of the current D3-platform A8.
The D2 S8 was also featured in the 1998 film Ronin.
The S8 featured a re-tuned, 350PS (257kW; 345bhp) version of the standard 4,172cc (254.6cuin) 90° V8 petrol engine.
A sports-recalibrated version of the five-speed tiptronic automatic transmission (gear ratios - 1st: 3.571, 2nd: 2.200, 3rd: 1.505, 4th: 1.000, 5th: 0.804), featuring "Dynamic Shift Programme" (DSP) was standard, with European-spec. models having a six-speed manual transmission option. Torsen T-2 based quattro permanent four-wheel drive was also standard. Final drive ratio (for automatic transmission) is 3.730.
At the same time of the A8's facelift in 2001, the S8 received another 18kW (24PS; 24bhp), taking the output of the engine to 268kW (364PS; 359bhp) at 7000rpm, and torque 430N·m (317ft·lbf) at 3400rpm. This was the first model to be introduced to the North American market.
D2 suspension, brakes, wheels and tires
A retuned, 20mm (0.8in)-lowered sports suspension included a 30% stiffer spring rate and 40% more compression damping in the shock absorbers. Speed-sensitive "Servotronic" power assisted steering was also standard.
The brakes featured Bosch ABS5.3 Anti-lock Braking System, with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), and worked radially ventilated front discs of 345mm (13.58in) in diameter by 30mm (1.18in) thick. The rear vented discs measured 280mm (11.02in) by 22mm (0.87in). From 2002, an upgraded Bosch ESP5.7 Electronic Stablilty Programme became standard fitment.
Standard alloy wheels were 8Jx18" cast aluminium alloy "Avus" 6-spoke style, with 245/45ZR18 performance tyres. In 2003, 8Jx18" polished 9-spoke RS wheels became a no-cost option road wheel.