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2008 Audi S8 Review

The S8 is a high-performance version of the standard-wheelbase A8 (as opposed to the longer "L" version), and sends its 450 horsepower to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission and Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Car geeks may note that the V10's peak output isn't as high as it is in the high-strung Lambo Gallardo, as it has been tuned for a broader powerband that's better suited to a luxury car. No worries about performance -- this executive express can sprint to 60 mph in the mid-5-second range and will effortlessly run at autobahn speeds all day long.

2008 Audi S8 2008 Audi S8 More than just a powerhouse engine, the S8's features list also includes a sport-tuned adjustable air suspension, 20-inch alloy wheels, upgraded brakes, unique styling tweaks (including distinctive front and rear fascias) and aggressively bolstered, multiadjustable front sport seats.

The 2008 Audi S8 sits squarely in the middle of this group, not as overly sporty as the B7, though more so than the Jaguar. Compared to all but the XJR, the S8 lists for around $20 to $30 grand less. In the real world of city traffic and a 70 mph maximum speed limit, the finely crafted Audi S8 doesn't give much away to its pricier rivals. And let's face it; those well-to-do folks chatting it up at the country club didn't get to be that way by ignoring value.

Powertrains and Performance
The Audi S8's 5.2-liter V10 makes 450 hp and 398 pound-feet of torque. That thrust is sent to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission that allows manual gearchanges via paddles behind the steering wheel. We've clocked the 0-60-mph sprint in 5.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The only dynamic downside to the 2008 Audi S8 is brake pedal feel. Though the S8 certainly has capable stoppers (halting the 4,600-pound sedan in 112 feet from 60 mph), brake pedal feel is too soft upon initial application and somewhat out of step with the solid, confidence-inspiring sensation of the chassis as a whole.


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