2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

Audi’s flagship limo got some revisions this year – did they ruin it? Don’t be absurd!

By Shahzad Sheikh

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

Doesn’t seem that long ago that I tested the A8 LWB, which I liked (read review here from 2012) and the S8 which I absolutely loved (read review here from 2013). This year though, the A8 and S8 models went through a mild nip-and-tuck update.

So what were the changes and have they improved the cars at all? C’mon, this is Audi we’re talking about – of course they have!

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

Audi A8 changes

  • Resculpted bonnet, revisions to the grille and bonnet, new lights, chrome strip in the rear and sides, diamond shaped tailpipes
  • 10-litre bigger boot
  • Google Earth satellite navigation & 360 degree view for parking and manoeuvring, enhanced heads-up display plus wifi
  •  Windscreen with a wedged-shaped film prevents ghost images (I have no idea what it means, but I can pretend I’m driving Ecto 1!)
  • All the engines now meet EU6 standards – yet each has more power despite less emissions and better fuel consumption (better by 10%)

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

Audi S8 changes

  • Styling changes are similar to the A8 and pretty much all of the above applies
  • It gets clever front LED lights as standard – dubbed MatrixBeam – which you can basically leave on high-beam all the time, and it automatically dips them for drivers of cars in front of you, or oncoming traffic and even pedestrians, whilst continuing to light the surrounds. In town it will automatically switch them off. Basically you get optimum high beam lighting all the time, without you having to worry about blinding other road users – genius
  • Power from the 4.0-litre TSFI twin turbo goes up from 513bhp to 520bhp, torque remains the same, and 0-100kph acceleration is quicker by a tenth at 4.1seconds now, whilst the fuel consumption has improved and the price has only increased by AED8000.

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

What’s the A8 like?

I drove the 60 TFSI with the 4-litre V8 putting out 435bhp which is up about 25bhp, shaving a tenth off the 0-100kph time – now at 4.6 seconds. We had the long-wheel base car with the luxury rear compartment complete with screens and reclining and massaging seats.

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

The A8 is maturing nicely and the subtle revisions have improved its looks. I’ve certainly warmed to it a lot more than the last time I drove one.

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

It’s a grand and stately thing with a very high creature-comfort quotient, sublime levels of cosseting, and decent performance. What it still isn’t though, is a sporty thing. You just want to contentedly glide about town in this, imperious and bombproof. It’s a solid and classy hunk.

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

I like it and I appreciate it, and it’s certainly near the top of its segment, if not quite in touch with the bright Star at the top, if you get my meaning. But I don’t want it.

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

And how about the Audi S8?

Oh now this torque-tastic tornado of a luxury-lined chariot really did get to me when I thrashed… sorry… drove it last year. Not only is the way it delivers its power a breath-taking joy to strain your neck against, but the Quattro grip really comes into its own, aided and abetted by sports adaptive air suspension and a sports differential.

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

Actually it’s mostly because of the latter. In Dynamic mode where you get to choose your settings for performance, suspension, steering etc, I put everything in dynamic except for the ride because, especially fitted with the optional 21-inch rims, it’s a bit knobbly in the firmer settings, but reasonably supple in Comfort mode.

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

As before the response, turn-in, grip and go are astonishing, the little pretend rear-drive jig is delightful, and this short-wheel base car feels even shorter from the helm, despite ample rear cabin space.

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

I can’t honest say that the performance differential is vastly superior compared to last year’s car – particularly as the bonkers RS7/RS6 have raised the sensational-speed bar very eloquently and firmly within the Audi line-up since then – and the steering feel is certainly no better, but this is definitely one of the best sports luxury-barges out there right now.

What a brilliant brute!

2014 Audi A8 & S8 review

2014 Audi A8 & S8 Review – The Specs

(4.0 V8 versions)

Price:
A8 L 60 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: AED384,000 ($105k)
S8 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: AED478,000 ($130k)
Engine:
A8 L 60 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: 4.0 TFSI twin-turbo V8, 435bhp @5100-6000rpm, 443lb ft @1500-5000rpm
S8 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: 4.0 TFSI twin-turbo V8, 520bhp @5800rpm, 479lb ft @1700-5500rpm
Performance:
A8 L 60 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: 4.6secs 0-100kph, 250kph (limited), 9.2L/100
S8 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: 4.1secs 0-100kph, 250kph (limited), 9.6L/100
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Weight:
A8 L 60 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: 1975kg
S8 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic: 1990kg

Which one would you have? Let us know in the comments below. 

2 responses to “2014 Audi A8 & S8 review”

  1. Utk says:

    Great review.
    By saying “But I don’t want it” do you mean the A8, or the Benz?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *