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The History and Evolution of the Audi S8

The Audi S8 made its debut appearance to the world at the 2013 Toyko Motor Show. The creation of Audi Sport GmbH was first presented as a prototype three years before production models rolled off the assembly lines in Neckarsulm, Germany. The executive class 4-door sedan was available for purchase in 1996 and continues to be manufactured today.

The First Generation (D2) 1996 through 2005

The 1996 Audi S8 replaced the Audi A8 with a longitudinal F4 layout seen in the Quattro, powered with a V8 4.2-liter engine. The 1996 edition cranked 335 horsepower and accelerated from zero to sixty mph in 6.6 seconds in official test runs. This would change with a power boost the following year than decreased the acceleration time to a more impressive 5.4 seconds thanks to the bump in horses to 364. An electronic limiter kept the top speed down to 155 mph. This model appeared in the film "Ronin."

1996 Audi S8 Interior

The interior was every bit a luxury car from the comfortable leather padded seats to the generous amount of current state of the art tech inclusions. It lived up to the title of a luxury executive sedan in creature comforts on the inside and sporty performance that required electronic restraining to keep the power reigned in as the engine was tweaked to put forth even more power.

2001 Audi S8

The Second Generation (D3) 2006-2010

The D3 offered the next step in the evolution of the S8. It came equipped with a German engine that was modified from the Quattro in the form of a Lamborghini V10 in a 5.2-liter volume that kicked out an increase in horsepower that amounted to 444. It was detuned slightly by 49 hp for the sake of fuel efficiency. An improved acceleration rate took this sedan from zero to sixty mph in a mere 5.1 seconds, beating its previous time. It was still electronically limited to a top speed of 155 mph though.

The interior received the appropriate upgrades in technology with the addition of a generously sized touchscreen and a few optional tech packages that offered the latest in entertainment and assistance features.

Third Generation (D4) 2012-2015

It wasn't until 2013 that the Audi S8 received its first major facelift. Although not a complete redesign, the brand saw fit to freshen the model with V8T fender badges, a quad-exit exhaust, brushed metal mirror caps, chrome horizontal bars on the S grille and all LED headlights. The engine was a new 4.0-liter V8 with twin turbochargers producing 520 horses with 479 lb-ft of torque. The acceleration time took another dip now arriving from zero to sixty at an even better 4.2 seconds.

2013 Audi S8 Interior

New trim options were also placed on the table for the third generation with new leather hues and an update in the tach and speedometer being replaced with gray dials that featured contrasting white needles. Quilted stitching on the sports seats made them outshine the A8. A red engine start button indicated what lies beneath the hood through the usse of color.

Driver assistance systems abounded with a new 360-degree exterior camera system and four wide-angle cameras to provide a comprehensive view for parking ease in tight spots. A 1400 watt Band & Olufson audio system offered entertainment in the cabin. In 2016, the S-8 received another tweak that jacked the engine power up to 597 horsepower, gave it a top speed of 190 mph and increased the zero to sixty mph acceleration efficiency to a mere 3.8 seconds.

Fourth Generation (D5) 2019-2020

For those of you who are wondering how long the Audi S8 is planning to continue in its evolution process, the life cycle is far from over. Plans for 2019 and 2020 models are being acted upon and there is going to be a fourth generation of the model. We're still waiting for leaks on the specifics but rumor has it that there will be some significant changes for the technology and the interior. What's under the hood at this point is anyone's guess, but if they follow with the current evolution of the species, it could be frighteningly powerful.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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