We like the Audi A8. We really like it. There may be more accomplished limousines on the market, but none of them can match the A8’s style-led gravitas or its deeply imbued sense of quality. If you’re susceptible to its charms, it will glide up your motoring wish list with ease. Which brings us to the even more imposing hulk of Teutonic menace sat before us today, the Audi S8.
Even the on-paper concept has a delicious ring to it. Take the aforementioned glamour-limousine, spice it diligently with all the quality trappings of a go-faster Audi and then drop in a, um, Lamborghini Gallardo engine. Yes, that’s the killer blow. Our favourite limo is available with an entire stable of Italian supercar ponies jostling under its precisely fitting bonnet.What’s it like? Press the go pedal in the S8 and you’ll hear a surprisingly loud growl - no opera, just a deep, monotone rumble that develops into a determined howl. Where has the music gone?
Well, the S8 has the same basic V10 as the Gallardo, but it’s been considerably reworked for this application. In comes Audi’s direct fuel injection and a bore-out to 5.2 litres and down goes the power in search of greater flexibility.
Instead of the Lamborghini’s 520bhp, you get 444bhp, which is not much more than the RS4’s V8. There is 398lb ft of torque, however - more useful than the Lambo’s 376lb ft at a higher 4250rpm.