New Car Review

2016 Audi S8 Plus: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The 2016 Audi S8 plus is all that's left of the high-performance S8 range. But that's just fine. After all, it's the ultra-powerful version of a car based on the regular-wheelbase A8, which is already one of the best sedans in the world. We're talking 605 horsepower here, which is on the crazy side of phenomenal.

Naturally, the engine isn't the only thing that's special about the S8 plus. Subtle styling tweaks are found inside and out, while the suspension and brakes have been beefed up to cope with the extra muscle. Yet this is hardly a punishing performance machine. On the contrary, it's basically an A8 large luxury sedan with world-class acceleration. Cars don't get much better than this.

What's New for 2016?

There's no standard S8 this year, or any high-performance versions with the longer wheelbase. The S8 plus now has a rear lip spoiler as standard. Its air suspension and steering systems have been re-calibrated to levels more appropriate to a 605-hp luxury/sport sedan, and there are new designs for the 21-inch alloy wheels.

What We Like

Fantastic twin-turbo V8; even better handling than the ordinary A8; standard all-wheel drive; stellar interior; impressive fuel economy

What We Don't

We'll get back to you.

How Much?

$115,850

Fuel Economy

The S8 plus has a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 developing 605 hp and 517 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic is the only transmission and all-wheel drive is standard.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy at 16 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg combined, which is impressive for a car with this much power and this much mass.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Audi S8 plus ($115,850) comes in one well-appointed trim level.

Standard equipment includes 21-in alloy wheels, keyless entry/ignition, LED headlamps/running lights/tail lights/fog lights/turn signals, sport-tuned adaptive air suspension, a sport rear differential, quad exhaust tips, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot monitoring, Audi Drive Select (which provides electronically adjustable steering, suspension and throttle settings), a sunroof, leather upholstery with diamond-pattern stitching, quad-zone automatic climate control, a head-up display, 7-in driver information display, a top-view/corner-view camera system, front and rear parking sensors, a power trunk lid, soft-close doors, power side and rear sun shades, 22-way power heated/cooled/massaging front seats, a Bose audio system, mobile Wi-Fi capability, Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) with an 8-in power-retracting thin-film transistor display screen, full iPod/Bluetooth integration, twin SD card slots and a navigation system with Google Earth street views.

Options include a raised top speed of 190 miles per hour, a sport exhaust system, ceramic brake discs, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a rear entertainment system, a Bang & Olufsen 19-speaker/1,400-watt surround sound system (with motorized dash-mounted tweeters), adaptive cruise control and night vision that can detect pedestrians and animals in the dark at distances of up to 300 feet.

Alas, the S8 plus shares the regular A8's modest-sized trunk of 14.2 cu ft.

Safety

The S8 plus comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, active front head restraints and 10 airbags (front, front-side, front-knee, rear-side and full-length side-curtain). Blind spot monitoring, forward-collision alert and post-collision automatic braking are also standard.

A Driver Assistance package brings a more advanced forward-collision mitigation system and active lane-keeping assistance.

The A8 range has not been crash-tested in the United States.

Behind the Wheel

The regular A8 has one of the nicest cabins ever, and the S8 plus differs only in its sporting accents. Carbon trim adorns the dashboard, and the badges and classic grey-faced S gauges are constant reminders that this model is something special. The materials are uniformly superb; practically everything looks and feels expensive. The 8-in power-retracting MMI display screen is a work of art, especially when calling up Google Earth via the navigation system for a 3D street view of your destination.

The S8 plus accelerates more quickly than Audi's smaller, lighter S cars, even though it uses a conventional 8-speed automatic transmission instead of a dual-clutch automated manual. Audi claims a standstill-to-60 mph sprint of just 3.7 seconds. That's really fast.

There's a supreme confidence in the way the S8 plus builds velocity. This incredibly refined power defines the car's character, making it feel massively capable in virtually any situation.

The S8 plus doesn't handle dramatically better than the already agile A8, but its standard sport rear differential, sport-tuned dampers and meaty 21-in tires maximize grip in all conditions, whether negotiating a rainstorm or attacking corners on a favorite road. Predictably, the ride is firm with such large, low-profile rubber, but the adjustable air suspension makes it more than tolerable.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 BMW M760i xDrive -- The fresh generation of the 7 Series is sensational, and this upcoming model makes the most of those great bones with 610 hp, plus all the suspension and luxury features appropriate for a high-performance flagship sedan.

2016 Jaguar XJR -- The XJR is a little short on power (550 hp from a supercharged V8) and rear-drive only, but it comes with a distinct ambiance, style and driving character.

2016 Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- In a straight line, few cars can touch the big S (especially the AMG versions).

2016 Porsche Panamera -- If you don't mind driving a rather controversially styled hatchback, you should give the Panamera a shot. It's arguably the most athletic luxury car on the road today.

Used Bentley Flying Spur -- The Spur is slower to 60 mph than the S8 plus, but it enjoys 616 hp and a superb hand-crafted cabin.

Autotrader's Advice

The S8 plus is one of the finest automobiles in the world. Anyone who can afford to buy the best of the best should give this model a test drive.

Find an Audi S8 for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Audi S8 Plus: New Car Review - Autotrader