Audi S8 Plus: the best of the big barges

Put yourself in the big, quilted leather seats of the Audi S8 Plus, and unwind with the built-in massage feature.


Here we have yet another fast Audi, says John Howell in Autocar. So what is it that makes this new S8 Plus so special? That question is best answered with a quick test.

Put yourself in the big, quilted leather seats of this limousine, and unwind with the massage feature built in. Bask in the glory of one of the most solidly built interiors money can buy. Start the engine and plant your foot. Just over three seconds later, you'll be doing 62mph. That makes this the fastest-accelerating limousine you can buy. And even at mammoth speeds, it just keeps pulling it would probably crack 200mph if the top speed weren't electronically limited.

Yet even at very startling speeds, the road and wind noise never startle. Of course, a luxury car that can whisk you along at such speeds is ultimately pointless, bonkers and unnecessary. "But do I want one? Well, I do, very much as it happens. The S8 Plus made me smile. A lot."

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This Plus model is £16,320 more than a standard S8. That's a pretty hefty premium on an already pricey car, says AutoExpress. It is an exemplary cruiser: it will waft you with ease down Germany's arrow-straight, derestricted autobahns at frightful speeds with composure and poise. But on Britain's potholed roads, the flaws become apparent. The brutish muscle car charm disappears on twisting country roads and the car generally lacks sporting feel.

Perhaps, but in Britain these days most of us spend most of our time doing 40mph on motorways, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times. And because the car is barely awake at 40, it is supremely quiet and dreamily smooth at those speeds. "Honestly, I've been in noisier and less comfortable beds."

You may imagine that a car this squidgy is incapable of being exciting and you'd be right. But it transcendsits flaws. I've always said the BMW 7 Series is the best of the big barges, says Clarkson. Or maybe you're already perfectly happy with your Mercedes AMG S 63. But don't be. The A8 is a nicer place to be when you're doing 40. Which you will be.

Price: £98,395Engine: 3,993cc, twin-turbocharged, petrolPower: 597bhp at 6,100-6,800rpmTorque: 553lb ft at 2,500-5,500rpm0-62mph: 3.8 seconds. Top speed: 189mph (limited)Economy: 28.2mpgCarbon dioxide: 231g/km

Stuart Watkins

Stuart graduated from the University of Leeds with an honours degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and from Bath Spa University College with a postgraduate diploma in creative writing. 

He started his career in journalism working on newspapers and magazines for the medical profession before joining MoneyWeek shortly after its first issue appeared in November 2000. He has worked for the magazine ever since, and is now the comment editor. 

He has long had an interest in political economy and philosophy and writes occasional think pieces on this theme for the magazine, as well as a weekly round up of the best blogs in finance. 

His work has appeared in The Lancet and The Idler and in numerous other small-press and online publications.