The 2018 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. In fact, it’s the only non-long-wheelbase version of the A8 you can get for 2018. 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. With an all-new A8 on the way for 2019, this is the final model year for this generation of this outstanding S8.
What’s New for 2018?
There are no major changes for the 2018 model year. See the 2018 Audi S8 models for sale near you
What We Like
Fantastic twin-turbo V8
Even better handling than the ordinary A8
Standard all-wheel drive
Impressive fuel economy
What We Don’t
Expensive, but so are its competitors
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 15 miles per gallon in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined driving, which is impressive for a car with this much power and this much mass.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Audi S8 plus ($115,900) 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, a 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 sunshades, 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 mph, 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.
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 warning, 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 gray-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
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 0-to-60 mph sprint of just 3.7 seconds. That’s really fast.
There’s 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
2018 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.
2018 Jaguar XJR575 — The XJR is a little short on power compared to the S8 Plus (575 hp from a supercharged V8) and rear-drive only, but it comes with a distinct ambiance, style, and driving character.
2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class — In a straight line, few cars can touch the big S (especially the AMG versions).
The S8 plus is one of the finest automobiles in the world. Anyone who can afford to buy the best of the best and wants to have it all in terms of both performance and luxury should give this model a test drive. Find an Audi S8 for sale