2013 Audi S8 Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 14, 2013
  • All-new model for 2013
  • V-8 engine delivers 520 horsepower
  • Valcona leather seating is optional
  • Quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) and rear sport differential are standard
  • Drive has 40/60 front/rear torque split


The Audi S8 is the highest-performance version of the Audi A8: a full-size luxury sedan with an aluminum chassis. It features the most powerful engine Audi makes for a sedan, and the biggest brakes and wheels. The A8 is now in its fourth generation of production, but the S8 is new for the 2013 model year. The S8 features the maker's proprietary AWD system, and is offered in a single trim that corresponds to the highest trim level of the A8, although the S8 is not offered in a long-wheelbase version as the A8 is. Both vehicles are based on the Volkswagen Group MLB platform. The S8 competes mainly with the BMW Alpina B7 and the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG.

Exterior Features

The Audi S8 is available in six colors--white, silver, Havana Black, Phantom Black, Night Blue, and grey--and features Audi's Singleframe grille, which has angled corners and horizontal chrome struts, plus a rear with squared corners that emphasize the vehicle's wide stance, the automaker says. Standard are 21-inch 5-triple-spoke design wheels with 265/35 summer performance tires. All lights feature full LED technology. Other standard features include power soft-closing doors and a power trunk, Audi Drive Select, and an adaptive air suspension. The side mirrors and grille boast aluminum optic surfacing. S-exclusive quad exhaust outlets are present as well.

Interior Features

The 2013 Audi S8 features Valcona leather seating surfaces, available in black, grey, beige, and two shades of brown. Heated front sport seats offer 22 ways of adjustment and multiple settings for warmth, ventilation, and massage functions. The vehicle seats up to 5 passengers and offers 13.2 cu. ft. of trunk space. Audi's proprietary Multi Media Interface (MMI) touch-screen system, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound system are standard; so are 4-zone automatic climate control, Audi Advanced Key, and a choice between decorative interior inlays of natural fine-grain ash brown wood or layered oak wood. Inlays of carbon atlas and brushed aluminum decorate the leather-covered gear shift lever and the lower trim, respectively. Dual-pane glass on the side windows mutes exterior noise, and power sunshades on the rear and side-rear windows minimize outside glare, claims Audi.

Optional Features

The Cold Weather package adds a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and a rear-seat pass-through with a ski bag. The Full Leather package adds Nappa leather upholstery to the upper and lower instrument panels, head restraints, and door trim, including the door pockets. The Auto Design Selection package includes balsamic brown natural fine grain ash wood upper decorative interior inlays, brushed aluminum lower decorative interior inlays, balao brown Valcona leather seating surfaces with Snow White seat stitching and piping, and a Snow White Alcantara headliner. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go, Side Assist, and Pre Sense Plus. The Audi Lane Assist package adds a 4-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles, and lane assist.

Under the Hood

The S8's standard drivetrain includes a 520-horsepower V-8 engine that delivers 481 lb.-ft. of torque. Audi says the vehicle can be propelled from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The start/stop efficiency system can turn off the engine at a standstill, while Audi Cylinder on Demand engine efficiency technology shuts down half the cylinders when cruising on the open road. Audi Servotronic speed-sensitive power steering varies assistance based on vehicle speed. The S8 features AWD and a shift-by-wire 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Audi S8 are 15/26/19 mpg (city/highway/combined).


Standard safety features on the 2013 Audi S8 include anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, front-seat and rear-seat side air bags, front knee air bags, and side curtain air bags. Many other safety features are optional. The available adaptive cruise control's radar sensor detects impending impact and slows the vehicle to avoid a collision.

As of this writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the 2013 S8 for crashworthiness.


The S8 is the showcase for the full range of Audi's technological enhancements, including upgrades to the drivetrain, suspension, seats, entertainment/information system, and climate control.
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