Audi S8

You cannot talk about the Audi S8 without noting it proper place in popular culture. The previous S8 model took the spotlight in the 1998 movie Ronin, starring Robert De Niro, where its dramatic speed combined with its size became a useful plot element, and gained the car enormous international attention. But in more serious terms, in 2001, Audi introduced the United States market to the Audi S8 variant to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz AMG models. It shared the standard model's platform, yet it featured a re-tuned, 360 PS (265 kW) version of the standard V8 engine, enlarged brakes, a re-calibrated version of the 5-speed Tiptronic transmission and a re-tuned suspension with larger wheels. Thankfully, Audi offered the quattro as standard. Sadly, in 2003, production of the first-generation S8 ended, which was shortly before the introduction of the D3 platform A8. Finally, in the last quarter of 2005, Audi introduced a new S8, now powered by a 450 PS (331 kW) V10 engine derived from the engine used in the Lamborghini Gallardo. The public was confused with Audi's choice in engine selection because its power output is identical to that of the W12 motor, inducing people to ask why Audi would bother with the development of the V10. Audi responded by saying that the V10 revs more quickly than the W12, and that its lighter weight helps give the Audi S8 a lower overall curb weight and better weight distribution. Consumers must have accepted this response because initial reviews from European automotive magazines seem generally positive. Perhaps this is in par due to the Audi S8's 0-100 km/h time of 5.1 seconds, which places it in a competitive range with the Mercedes-Benz S 55 AMG, the S600 and the BMW 760Li. Additional competition includes the company's own A8L W12.