THE Audi S8 tends to blend into the scenery.
Except for the telltale meshed grille with the red S8 badging and aluminium wing mirror housing, this large sedan looks pretty tame in a parking lot.
It certainly looks comfortable, and it is, not just for the ample seats, but also due to the technology that ensures a smooth ride for its passengers.
Being an S version, it’s also loaded with the required oomph to keep drivers happily engaged.
In this case, it’s a four-litre, biturbo V8 under the hood that streams out 420kW of power and 800Nm of torque. Translated into raw speed and power: 0-100kmh in 3.8 seconds. And it doesn’t break a sweat getting there, either.
When it’s happily pushing itself, the S8 sounds the part, with a raspy burble that supports rather than dominates proceedings. Sound flaps in the exhaust system have a part to play in that sound.
With predictive active suspension, the S8 adjusts itself during cornering so that passengers don’t get thrown about. The steering works with the front camera in the car to spot unevenness so that the ride remains stable.
As a top-drawer model, the S8 is loaded with the technological capabilities to ensure a comfortable and safe drive. But it is lacking in one area, which we will talk about later in this review.
The mild hybrid also comes with constant all-wheel quattro which distributes torque between the rear wheels during fast cornering resulting in more assured handling.
Cool Seats in the Audi S8
In the cabin, the accommodating seats are designed to give you the best sitting position. Equipped with seat cooling function — which may cause back aches in some instances if you’re not used to it — it serves as a firm anchor that lets you have access to most functions you would require.
A head-up display gives you crucial information on the windscreen — speed and navigation.
The dashboard display can be adjusted to suit your preferred array of information in a variety of styles.
The sleek centre console is dominated by a large carbon fibre shifter.
The dual air-conditioning system is managed via touch controls. You can charge your mobile phone in the centre armrest, which also has USB ports.
There’s also a glove compartment, which has a CD-changer taking up most of the space. A bit pointless given that music and navigation can be accessed via your smartphone.
Nestled in the cluster of buttons in the centre console are the drive mode changing buttons to allow you to switch between eco, comfort and sport profiles. These buttons take some effort to locate and their haptic responsiveness is inconsistent. And toggling between a few options means you’re going to be distracted.
This function used to be something you could access on the multi-function steering wheel. Why it was removed and placed near the passenger is baffling. For left-hand-drive cars, these buttons are easier to access, since they are placed near the driver.
With a price tag of $743,080* why couldn’t these buttons be switched to be near the driver in a right-hand-drive model?
Don’t drivers of right-hand drive cars deserve to have access to these buttons without risking their lives?