Audi S8 V10
MOTOR Magazine Australia|July 2021
Everything a sleeper car should be, and one never to be repeated
Alex Affat

IF SEDANS ARE a dying breed, a car like the Audi D3 S8 can only be thought of as functionally extinct.

While buyers turn away from traditional saloons in droves (especially niche, opulent long-wheelbase limos) and carmakers increasingly trade-off cylinder counts for turbochargers, the notion of an Audi-badged S-Class rival with a Lamborghini-derived 5.2-litre V10 in its snout seems simply unfathomable in a contemporary context. And yet, Audi produced exactly that from 2006 to 2010, costing more than $250,000 when new.

Today, you can find D3-generation S8 V10s asking between $35,000 and $45,000, which is virtually unmatched on the ‘lot of car for your money’ equation.

However, don’t buy into the experience expecting a cut-price four-door Lamborghini Gallardo.

While its V10 is closely related to the Lamborghini unit, the Audi powerplant utilized different injectors, manifolds, engine management, and even differed in cylinder bores, cylinder spacing, and compression–yielding 331kW compared to the facelifted 5.2-litre Gallardo’s 368kW output.

Peak torque matches the updated Gallardo’s 540Nm output and is delivered at a lazy 3000rpm – half that of the Italian coupe’s heady 6000rpm peak.

And despite the large limo’s all-aluminum body, its large stature, big engine, and Quattro underpinnings yielded a hefty 1940kg curb weight. The V10 limo will still hang with modern traffic, however, with a claimed 4.9-second sprint from 0-100km/h.

As the brand’s flagship luxury offering, it was filled to the gills with tech and amenities. In fact, there’s little missing on the original equipment list that one could want in a car today. The list of kits includes: 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, SatNav, four-zone climate control, power memory seats, LED daytime running lights, front and rear parking sensors, auto headlights, adaptive air suspension, keyless entry, and even fingerprint keyless start!

Visually, the Audi S8 flies well under the radar and, as a package, is one of the most compelling modern sleepers you can buy. Audi will never build a car quite like this again, and a Lamborghini-tinged V10 may never be more attainable. Go on, you know you want to...

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