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A8 / S8 (D3 Platform) Discussion Discussion forum for the D3 Audi A8 produced from 2003-2010 and Audi S8 produced from 2006-2010

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Old 07-12-2006, 12:04 AM   #1
TheBrit
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Default 2007 S8 at Silverstone

Yesterday evening, I was invited to an S8 event at Silverstone, to drive the new 2007 model year S8.

We arrived at Silverstone and were directed to the Audi Driving Experience area, where we parked up next to the assembed TTs and RS 4s.






A brief registration form had to be filled in, and then it was time to examine the UK-spec S8 on display.










Then when it was our turn to go, we were ferried in A6s up to the track edge. We were going to drive the TT then the S8 round the Southern Circuit (in/out at Stowe, round Club to Abbey, then across the middle of the full circuit to Becketts and Chapel and down Hangar straight, if I remember it rightly).

First the TTs. We take a car each and follow one of the instructors in line, so he can show us the lines. The turn in points and apexes are helpfully marked with little blue cones. We run three laps, each time pushing slightly faster as our instructor not only drives, but also keeping an eye on our progress in his mirrors.




Next, we go in twos with an instructor in the S8, and take three laps then driver change, then another three laps.

On my run, we get to the first chicane set up at Abbey, and I realise that the instructor is 'assisting' with gears (as he said he might if people missed the changes), but I'm trying to do the same with the paddles, so I mention this and he says "OK, you do the gears". That's better!

The S8 is fast, and it handles well for a big car. There is the usual safe Audi understeer, but it's possible to induce controllable lift-off oversteer on demand and then balance the big car on the throttle in a diagonal drift, then progssively power through the apex while unwinding the steering. Even with ESP on, the S8 is allowing a significant amount of tyre howling action round the corners and still isn't stepping in and curtailing the fun.

Down Hangar straight, we're easily going over 220km/h, but I don't spend too much time looking at the speedo, so I can't tell you just how fast we went. "Brake! Turn in! Off the gas, off the brakes! Now gas!" calls the instructor as we hammer through Stowe. The S8 responds deftly, the ceramic brakes swiftly scrubbing speed off despite having done this already a couple of dozen times without a cooling off rest.

On my second lap, braking into the chicane at Abbey, I get what I consider a great compliment - "Do you race?" the instructor asks me. "No, I'm just enthusiastic" I reply. We push through the chicane and on the next gentle right to put us into the chicane that gets us back on the main track at Becketts, I back off the throttle as instructed on my first lap, but my instructor urges me on, "No, go fast, go, go!", so I oblige with a dash of gas and then balance it through the chicane, to chuckles and a quiet "Oh yes" from the instructor.

Next lap, he's telling me to brake later, becuase as well as braking on the mighty ceramics, I'm using the tiptronic paddles to brake on the gears, the S8's smart gearbox programmming blipping the throttle and making perfect rev matches as the lower gear engages. With a bit more confidence in the handling differences to my W12, I'm pushing a bit harder, and getting plenty of encouragement to continue doing so.

It's over all too soon, three laps seemingly going by in mere seconds, and then it's time to indicate in down Hangar and pull back off at Stowe. "Very good, well done" says the instructor. As we pull up and climb out, am I struggling to get out because of the helmet or my head swelling?




After the instructed laps, we're taken out three at a time by the instructors, who show us how it's really done. The S8 performs ballet in their skilled hands, back end dancing out on the entry into corners, and the car sliding gracefully sideways through the chicanes. Those guys blast through Stowe at a pace you couldn't believe possible in a car that big with three passengers, but the S8's air suspension detects the onset of roll and dials it out by stiffening up the outside dampers and the car hunkers down and grabs the tarmac like a limpet. The tyre pressure monitor shows the front tyres hitting 85 degrees centigrade, but the S8 keeps on the racing line and the instructors keep pushing it harder.

When we get out after out two hot laps, the rear wheels are coated in a fine spray of melted rubber flecks and the smell of hot metal and rubber surrounds the car like a fog. The cars are brought back into the compound after some twenty hot laps each, cooling fans making them sound like jet turbine engines, but after a ten to twenty seconds they've shunted a plume of hot air (visible by the heat shimmer) out of the front wheel arches, and the cooling fans kick back into normal operation.

You might just be able to make it out on the last picture, the S8's front brake calipers have changed from battleship grey to a metallic yellow with the heat, and the brakes emit a rather acrid smell and ping and crack as they start to cool down, but the drivers seem unconcerned and shrug off the idea of a cooling lap or two - "It just doesn't need it."






When we leave, I let the W12 warm up on the way round the Silverstone site and down to the A43, then I hammer it off away from the sliproad. In my humble opinion, and I am prepared to accept that I'm possibly just not adjusted to the S8 after driving the W12 (SWB remember), the W12 is faster in a straight drag, or on gentle curves below the understeer threshold. It does have 40Nm more peak torque and a wide band of 90% of peak available, so that's not surprising. On a track, the S8 would demolish the W12, and would surprise a significant number of much smaller sports cars.

It's not an out-and-out sports car, nothing that size really is, but nor is it merely an over-powered straight-line sledgehammer. It's a luxury executive saloon with a surprising turn of speed and cornering ability, and approached as such, it's the business.
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Old 07-12-2006, 03:07 AM   #2
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Default Great write-up, super pics...bet you can't wait!

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Old 07-12-2006, 08:42 AM   #3
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Default Thanks for the great write up and pics. Audi could have done

a better job with the pedals and footrest - they look terribly cheap in a car of this caliber. Aluminum pedals and footrest would have been better.

Is the upper dash leather or still plastic?

Were any of the cars equiped with the B&O sound system? Your assessment?
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Old 07-12-2006, 09:11 AM   #4
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Default Great write-up. Now I really want one!

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Old 07-12-2006, 09:27 AM   #5
Angus Beef
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Default D2 S8 priced will hit the floor once those are available to lease in the US

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Old 07-12-2006, 10:49 AM   #6
TheBrit
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Default Upper dash is plastic, UK spec is Leather Pack 2 which covers

The armrests, centre console sides and front console lower panel in leather. Because I'm going for alcantara/leather seats in black/black and black alcantara headlining, it should blend in well with the alcantara door panels.

I heard the B&O briefly, but I've already heard it in Dubai where I got chance to sit in side and have a quick blast. It's loud! It's also (from the limited time I got with it) very clear, but in my opinion, the S8 with harder suspension and 20" wheels will make reasonable amounts of noise on rough UK roads, so some element of audiophile quality will be lost, just leaving raw volume as it's remaing talent. Given that Bose is more than loud enough for my ears, I'll give it a miss for 3775 GBP. It would be nice in an A8L 4.2 if you were being driven around and your driver had headphones linked to external microphones so they could still hear what was going on outside. ;-)
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Old 07-12-2006, 03:48 PM   #7
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Default TheBrit.... nice write up.... let me ask you since you have owned a D2 S8 and RS6 which I currently

own both. I am considering trading in my RS6 for the new S8. The D2 S8 is a wonderful car and very comfortable for trips. I really enjoy the RS6 but it feels heavier then the D2 S8 and is not as nice on my body for long trips. I do really enjoy the motor in the RS6 but feel the chassis and suspension is kind of lacking oh and the confortable <insert sarcasim here> US spec seats. If you were presented with my choice which car would you trade in for the new S8 and why? Or would you not and keep the current cars (mine)?

I am actualy considering putting an RS6 motor and 6 speed in our D2 S8 and getting the new D3 S8. I have a possible line on a new RS6 motor at a very reasonable cost. Seems like a fun project.
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01 S4 Custom STaSIS built 6 speed w/shorter gearing, STaSIS LSD, STaSIS center diff, STaSIS MotorSport Ohlins, STaSIS Alcon 6 pot, 14" rotors, STASIS rear Track Sport brakes, front and rear STaSIS control arms, *Revolver Cams*, plain KO4's....for now;^), custom exhaust, AWE fueling kit, X-1 Intake, RS4 IC's, 6 puck CM clutch, LW flywheel, Recaro's, RS4 bumper etc, etc, etc.... (now Chip Herr's...and being properly driven)

"My stomach still gets queezy thinking about the drive in Ben's car in the rain. When I think back to the moment I have to concentrate so as to not crap my pants", guy who got a ride in my car with Jason driving (via IM to Jason)

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Old 07-13-2006, 02:55 AM   #8
TheBrit
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Default Gosh, that's a toughie; US seats notwithstanding, the D3 S8 is really the best of

an RS 6 and D2 S8 rolled into one with an added fairy dust sprinkling of MMI and other toys.

My D2 S8 had the Recaro sport seats, and the RS 6 had sports seats too, and I found both seats to be not only comfortable for long-distance cruising, but also supportive enough for throwing the car about a bit.

The D3 S8 might not feel fast compared to the RS 6, but that's mainly because it will be so much smoother. It will be as fast, but adjusting from the lazy V8s you have now to the 7200 rpm V10 might take a few enthusiastic miles.

On balance, if you find the RS 6 to be less comfortable than the D2 S8, and don't enjoy the handling as much as the D2 S8, but enjoy it's straight-line performance, then trading it in for the D3 S8 might be the better option.

The acceleration and straight-line grunt of the D3 S8 should not have you hankering for your RS 6, not once you adjust to having to work it a little bit more and not just drive on the bottom half of the rev range like you can in the RS 6.

The handling won't have you missing your RS 6 at all; lots less understeer and far more nimble. You might also find that the D3 S8 suspension is more compliant in town than the D2 S8, in comfort mode the air suspension softens the springing and damping quite well, and it will certainly be less crashy than the RS 6 DRC suspension.

If you can get an RS 6 engine in your D2, that would be quite something! I always wished the RS 6 engine had been transplanted into the D3 A8, but the W12 does make a very good substitute.

Actually, it's a shame there isn't an SWB W12 in the US (it's being dropped in the UK now the S8 is here), as that might have been the best of both worlds for you; the comfort of the D3 with the handling of the D2 S8 and the lazy performance of the RS 6.

When will D3 S8 test drives be available in the US?
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Old 07-13-2006, 10:57 AM   #9
Bauer
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Default Thank you very much for the insight!! As for test drives... who knows? We don't even have a hard

price list yet... atleast I don't think so. They are saying end of the year for delivery.

I think I may do it.... I know my wife wants the new S8.

Thanks again.... and looking forward to your write up when you get yours;^)
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03 RS6 She will be missed
01 S8
01 S4 Custom STaSIS built 6 speed w/shorter gearing, STaSIS LSD, STaSIS center diff, STaSIS MotorSport Ohlins, STaSIS Alcon 6 pot, 14" rotors, STASIS rear Track Sport brakes, front and rear STaSIS control arms, *Revolver Cams*, plain KO4's....for now;^), custom exhaust, AWE fueling kit, X-1 Intake, RS4 IC's, 6 puck CM clutch, LW flywheel, Recaro's, RS4 bumper etc, etc, etc.... (now Chip Herr's...and being properly driven)

"My stomach still gets queezy thinking about the drive in Ben's car in the rain. When I think back to the moment I have to concentrate so as to not crap my pants", guy who got a ride in my car with Jason driving (via IM to Jason)

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Old 07-13-2006, 10:57 AM
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