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- Highs Brawny V-8 engine, plush, tech-forward cabin, sharp handling despite its size.
- Lows Truck-like fuel efficiency, sedately styled for a performance sedan, princely starting price.
- Verdict The S8 offers gutsy acceleration and playful handling in a size-large package, making it a truly dual-purpose luxury sedan.
If a full-size luxury sedan is what you're after but you find Audi's A8 too sedate, the 2022 S8 turns up the heat with a 563-hp twin-turbo V-8 engine and a tautly tuned suspension. Handling is sharp by big-sedan standards, and the S8 offers more driving enjoyment than rivals such as the BMW 7-series and the Maserati Quattroporte. The cabin is spacious and comfortable, with plentiful standard tech and luxury features including available massaging seats and enough screens to keep everyone entertained for long drives. The S8's design is purposefully low-key for a performance car, which allows it to remain relatively inconspicuous, for better or worse.
What's New for 2022?
Like the A8 on which it's based, the S8 sedan receives an exterior styling makeover which sees a revised front grille, updated front and rear bumpers, reworked exterior lighting, and new wheel designs. The interior gains a new rear-seat entertainment option and a few other tweaks to the car's available trims. A host of driver-assistance features is standard.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
That six-figure starting price is steep, but the S8 comes well-equipped even by luxury car standards. We'd suggest the Comfort Plus package as it adds heated rear seats, a leather-wrapped dashboard, a head-up display, and fancier LED headlamps; the Executive package is also appealing and comes with blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist, and 21-inch wheels.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The S8's sole engine choice is a potent one: a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine making 563 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, and the transmission is an eight-speed automatic. Audi claims a top speed of 155 mph, and there are fuel-saving systems, too, including cylinder deactivation and a mild-hybrid setup with a small electric motor and battery. At our test track, the S8 blasted to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. An active suspension system can control each wheel individually to improve ride quality, and it is tuned differently than that of the standard A8, promising improved cornering prowess thanks to reduced body roll. Audi also includes equipment such as a torque-vectoring rear differential and rear-wheel steering to increase agility; powerful carbon-ceramic brakes are optional.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Even though the S8 is technically a hybrid, buyers shouldn't expect Toyota Prius-level fuel efficiency. The EPA estimates that the best we can expect is 22 mpg on the highway, with the city rating dropping down to just 13 mpg. Ouch. We haven't had the chance to test the S8 on our 75-mph highway fuel economy route, but when we do, we'll update this story with results. For more information about the S8's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Fine materials line nearly every square inch of the S8's cabin, including diamond-stitched leather upholstery, a faux-suede headliner, and a stitched leather dash cover. The front seats offer standard heating, cooling, and massage, while the rear cabin offers tons of space for passengers to stretch out. To pamper those in the back seat even more, consider the Rear Seat Comfort package, which adds power-adjustable outboard seats with heat, ventilation, and massage, plusher headrests, heated armrests, and a remote control for the car's infotainment system. Four-zone automatic climate control is standard, as is a multi-color ambient interior lighting system. The trunk is generously sized and identical to that of the A8, which proved its mettle in our testing by holding six carry-on suitcases. For comparison the S-class held 5 and the 7-series held just three.
Infotainment and Connectivity
As with the standard A8, the S8's interior is a rolling tech showpiece. Multiple touchscreens control climate, audio, navigation, and myriad connectivity functions. Audi's 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster is standard, as is a 10.1-inch upper infotainment system and an 8.6-inch lower display. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot, and in-dash navigation are all standard, and occupants can charge their compatible smartphones wirelessly using the S8's charging pad. Audiophiles will be happy to find that a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen system is standard; as an option Audi will substitute a 23-speaker setup.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Audi offers several safety features as standard, but more desirable driver-assistance technologies such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist are optional. For more information about the S8's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Like its stablemates, the S8 is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile warranty policy. Buyers may find more value in the BMW 7-series' or Volvo S90's three-year complimentary maintenance plans.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2022 Audi S8
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 4- or 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 244 in3, 3996 cm3
Power: 563 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 590 lb-ft @ 2050 rpm
Wheelbase: 123.2 in
Length: 209.5 in
Width: 76.6 in
Height: 58.5 in
Passenger Volume: 111 ft3
Trunk Volume: 13 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 5250 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 3.2 sec
100 mph: 8.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.6 sec
Top Speed: 155 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 17/14/23 mpg