The History Of AUDI S8

The Audi S8 quattro is a high-performance version of the German automaker Audi's flagship vehicle, the Audi A8. It is a large luxury executive car, and was introduced in 1998, four years after the A8's introduction to the European market. It is only available as a four-door saloon/ sedan.

The S8, like all Audi "S" models, is fitted as standard with Audi's trademark quattro four-wheel drive (4WD) system, with the S8 using the Torsen-based permanent 4WD.

Its main market competitor could include the Mercedes-Benz S63/ 65 AMG.

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.

D2 powertrain

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.

D2 body and interior

Whilst the S8 shared the aluminium monocoque of the A8, subtle detail included solid aluminium alloy door mirror housings, chrome-effect beltline and lower front grille trim, and polished twin exhaust pipes, along with subtle "S8" badging. 14-way power adjustable and heated sports front seats with memory function compliment heated rear seats.

In the last quarter of 2005, Audi introduced the latest Typ 4E S8 5.2 FSI quattro, based on its Volkswagen Group D3 platform stablemate, the Audi A8.

Audi's factory performance claims for the V10 S8 indicate a 0-100km/ h (62mph) time of 5.1 seconds (whilst consuming "SuperPlus" / "EuroSuper" 98RON unleaded petrol). This places the S8 in a competitive range with the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and S600 (powered by a twin-turbo V12), the BMW 760Li (powered by a naturally-aspirated 12-cylinder engine), and the company's own A8L W12. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/ h (160mph).

D3 powertrain

This latest D3 S8 is powered by an all aluminium alloy 5,204cc (317.6cuin) Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) 40-valve 90° V10 petrol engine, derived from the Lamborghini Gallardo 5.0litre V10. A longer stroke and wider bore increases the displacement of the engine, and produces more torque at lower revs, making it more suitable for the larger and heavier Audi. It has been retuned to produce 331kW (450PS; 444bhp) at 7000rpm and 540N·m (400ft·lbf) of torque at 3500rpm. It utilises twin chain-driven double overhead camshafts (DOHC), and variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust valves. Engine management is by way of Bosch Motronic MED9.1 engine control unit, which controls the mapped direct ignition, ten individual spark coils, common rail cylinder-direct sequential mulit-point fuel injection, and drive by wire throttle.

A sports-optimised six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission (gear ratios - 1st: 4.171, 2nd: 2.340, 3rd: 1.521, 4th: 1.143, 5th: 0.867, 6th: 0.691) with "Dynamic Shift Programme" (DSP) and "sport" mode, with steering wheel mounted paddle-shifters, is the only offering. Output is transmitted via the trademark quattro permanent four-wheel drive system, initially using the Torsen T-2 50:50 dynamic centre differential, and from 2008 model year, utilising the latest Torsen T-3 asymmetric dynamic centre differential, with a 'default' torque distribution of 40% to the front axle and 60% to the rear. Final drive ratio is 4.055, and is assisted with Audi's "Electronic Differential Lock" (EDL).

D3 suspension, steering, brakes, tyres

The S8, like its related A8 utilises a multi-link suspension layout front and rear, with pressurised air springs. However, for the S8, the effective spring and damper rates are noticeably firmer, along with re-engineered suspension mounts. "Servotronic" speed-dependent power assisted rack and pinion steering point the S8 in the desired trajectory.

The brake system consists of radially ventilated discs all round, the fronts sized at 386mm (15.2in) in diameter by 36mm (1.42in) thick, and the rears at 335mm (13.2in) by 22mm (0.87in). The discs are clamped with black painted dual-piston calipers up front, and a single-piston sliding caliper at the rear, coupled to an electro-mechanical parking brake. A Bosch ESP8.0 Electronic Stability Programme, with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), brake assist, and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) complete the brake system.

Standard alloy wheels consist of 9Jx20" cast aluminium alloy "S design", shod with 265/ 35ZR20 99Y performance tyres. A direct-acting tyre pressure monitoring system is also standard.

D3 body and interior

The S8 includes subtle detailing to distinguish it from its related A8. The trapezoidal "single-frame" grille bears the characteristic Audi "S" model vertical strut detail which are highlighted in a chrome finish. "S8" badging is displayed front and rear, whilst "V10" badges are displayed on each front wing below the side-repeater indicators. The rear boot-lid incorporates a subtle rear spoiler, and the rear is finished with four oval exhaust tailpipes.

Adaptive xenon-plus high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps include static turning lights, along with 'swiveling' dynamic cornering lights. Daytime running lamps are five LEDs incorporated into a cloverleaf designed reflector, incorporated into the main headlamp housing.

The interior equipment includes two-colour leather-clad sports seats, a widescreen colour display for the Multi Media Interface (MMI), and white illuminated needles for the instrument dials.

An optional 1000watt digital Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System can be specified to replace the standard BOSE surround sound system. Other notable options include the "Advanced Parking" system, which includes a rearview camera, whose output is displayed on the colour MMI monitor, with "trajectory" lines which move in conjunction with steering wheel movements.


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