2023 Audi S8 (car review)

In a society where showing one’s wealth with fancy cars has become increasingly normal, the 2023 Audi S8 bucks the trend by flying under the radar. It doesn’t make a scene or scream look at me, yet it’s fast, luxurious and decidedly inconspicuous.

With a 4.0-litre V8 twin turbo under the hood, that probably makes it the perfect car for a crime lord. That aside, the $292,400 (plus on-roads) S8 has a sleek and sophisticated exterior design.

It features a single-frame grille with chrome accents, aggressive front and rear bumpers, and quad exhaust tips. Being an S model, it gets the customary satin silver door mirrors, as well as 21-inch bespoke alloy wheels.

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The Audi S8 comes with sophisticated Matrix LED lighting, and dynamic indicators. Every time you decide to lock or unlock this near limousine, you’ll also get a light show (at night of course). It’s all very understated and yet commands attention.

As you proceed to enter the S8, you are assisted by air suspension that raises the ride height to make it easier to get in and out of. Once you’re on board, you’ll find luxurious and spacious interior, offering high-quality materials and impeccable craftsmanship.

2023 Audi S8
2023 Audi S8

More modest than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series, it’s every bit as opulent. Featuring a lot of Gloss Black and Carbon accents (possibly too many), the S8 has a bit of a sport-meets-luxury feel.

The seats are comfortable and supportive, and there is ample legroom and headroom for both front and rear passengers (although less than you might expect in the back row). The front seats are heated and ventilated.

Adding the Advanced Sensory Package (a $19,000 option) takes things up a notch. It ensures every seat is heated, cooled and electronically adjustable, and a massage function is available to everyone.

For that price you also get full leather trim with contrasting stitching and a Bang & Olufsen surround sound system. In a super cool touch, the speakers rise from either side of the dash at start up.

Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, a customisable digital instrument cluster, is a standout feature that provides clear and vibrant graphics and is easily the best driver’s display on the market. Sitting alongside it is a 10.1-inch infotainment screen.

dash
Inside the 2023 Audi S8

It controls all your customary applications, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite navigation, media and even satellite TV. Below the infotainment screen there is another 8.6-inch screen.

That one controls the climate system and some other functions. It’s a little distracting though, forcing you to divert your eyes from the road to alter the air conditioning settings while driving.

Nice touches like a physical volume control and heated centre arm rest add to what is already a pleasant experience. The ambient lighting changes colours depending on your climate settings as well, and the door cards will flash red if someone is in your blind spot.

LED lighting and a small infotainment screen hidden in the rear centre armrest make it easy to navigate controls in the second row. Space is at a premium back there thanks to the reclining function.

You’ll also notice very quickly that both outer seats are definitely sculpted to accommodate one person each. That aside, there’s plenty of practicality about the S8, with door bins and cup holders big enough to hold a protein shaker or large water bottle.

rear seats
Inside the 2023 Audi S8

You also have a wireless phone charger hidden inside the middle console, complete with a clip that stops your phone moving around. That rear centre arm rest also houses two more cup holders and dual USB-C ports.

There’s even a 12-volt outlet in the back row, and access to the 505-litre boot from the seats. As we mentioned, the 2023 Audi S8 is powered by a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 engine producing 420kW of power and 800Nm of torque.

It’s sent to all four wheels thanks to Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system via an 8-speed automatic transmission, allowing this 2295kg behemoth to sprint to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Despite its large size and weight, it handles exceptionally well.

It has sports-tuned adaptive air suspension that provides a comfortable ride while also minimising body roll during aggressive cornering. The AWD platform further enhances the S8’s handling capabilities, offering stability and traction in all driving conditions.

Cameras at the front of the car also aid the S8 to achieve optimal comfort, allowing the car to adjust the ride accordingly. What was pleasantly surprising was the fuel economy, despite spending all our time in Sport mode.

boot
Inside the 2023 Audi S8

We were able to achieve 10.5-litres/100km, which is pretty decent. Flick the S8 into Efficiency mode and a 48-volt mild hybrid system will kick in and help save fuel as it shuts down the engine while coasting.

If that’s not enough, the S8 also has cylinder deactivation to conserve fuel. Manoeuvring this beast is quite easy as well, with 4-wheel steering making this big car feel like a pocket sized S3.

On the safety front, the Audi gets a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and a suite of driver assistance features, including lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring, a night vision camera, autonomous braking, a 360-degree camera and much more.

The 2023 Audi S8 is a remarkable sedan that delivers exceptional performance, comfort, and technology. It offers a perfect balance of power and refinement, making it worth considering when looking for an exhilarating driving experience with the utmost luxury.

The tech is a bit dated when compared to its rivals, and some of the components have clearly been lifted from other brands within the Volkswagen Group, including the Golf GTI sourced accelerator and brake pedal.

engine bay
2023 Audi S8

Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that the S8, and its performance engine and drivetrain are sure to be superseded by an EV in the future, meaning it’s worth the price of admission to own a piece of history.

Backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, you can find out more or build your own on the Audi Australia website, or by talking to your local dealership. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.

Our test vehicle was provided by Audi Australia for review purposes.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
8
Exterior styling
8
Interior look and feel
8
Technology and connectivity
7
Family friendliness
7
Value for money
7

SUMMARY

Pros - twin turbo V8; incredibly comfortable; timeless design; feels smaller than it is.
Cons - the price tag; climate controls are a distraction; dated tech; interior items lifted from elsewhere.
Salvatore Gerace
Salvatore Gerace
Salvatore is an avid car enthusiast. His passion for European cars is thanks to his Italian heritage, but it’s the German marques that excite him the most. Having owned everything from a BMW e46 325i to a Mitsubishi Evo 6, he’s a fan of exotic performance cars. When he’s not driving, you’ll find him at the gym, or sampling some of Sydney’s fine burger fare.

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<strong>Pros -</strong> twin turbo V8; incredibly comfortable; timeless design; feels smaller than it is.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> the price tag; climate controls are a distraction; dated tech; interior items lifted from elsewhere.2023 Audi S8 (car review)