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Audi S8 Mild Hybrid Singapore Review 2022 - 4.0 TFSI qu Tip (A)

The Audi S8 mild hybrid features the twin turbocharged 4.0 - litre V8 along that helps the Audi S8 perfectly balance its role as both a performance car and a luxury sedan. Aside from its twin turbo power plant, the S8 also comes equipped with all wheel steering, digital matrix headlights, active suspension, air suspension, a sport differential, and dynamic mode.

As a motoring journalist, we often try to understand what the main selling point of a car is - is it comfort, is it technology, is it performance, or is it fuel economy? The reason we do this, is so that we can then better understand how we frame our reviews, to best communicate what the car is really meant to do for its target consumer. In the case of the S8 however, this became quite difficult, not because the car has no selling points, but because the car excels in so many aspects that it was difficult to pin down the existential purpose of the S8. Truthfully, the Audi S8 is an amazing piece of machinery, armed with the latest tech, faultless ride quality, and supercar-esque performance. In many ways, it really is the ultimate dad-flex to own and drive one.

To address the elephant in the room, the Audi S8 is an astonishingly expensive car that is priced at a whopping $739,546 with COE. To see things harshly, that is enough money to pay for a BTO or a resale flat in a good location in Singapore. However, if you put things into perspective and consider that the 4.0L A8L already costs $704,675 with COE, and that the range topping Mercedes-Benz S580L costs an even more eye watering $818,888 with COE (and isn't even as quick as the S8), then the S8's proposition starts to become a little less ridiculous.

Although it shares its base DNA with the Audi A8L, its important to note that the S8 isn't just a more powerful version of the A8L, and in fact, offers a very different value proposition to the consumer. I recently reviewed the Audi A8L and it is no doubt one of the options one should consider if you’re looking to purchase a vehicle to be chauffeured in. It has a longer wheelbase, increased legroom, and those rear entertainment screens, which makes the A8L the perfect luxury sedan to be driven it - though the 4.0L variant of the A8L is also an amazing car to drive. The S8 on the other hand, is a completely different animal, and is packaged quite differently from the A8L, appearing more performance and driver oriented, with its S-Line trim and large 21" wheels. It's shorter wheelbase offers more manoeuvrability and stiffness, and overall, is a more nimble car to operate in a dynamic setting.

Both the A8L and the S8 share the same base 4.0L turbocharged V8 that is widely used on performance models within the VAG family, being deployed on other powerhouses such as the Audi SQ7, SQ8, and Lamborghini Urus - though they are tuned to different specifications. In the case of the Audi S8, it receives 563 bhp and a monstrous 800 Nm of torque, completing 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds - making it as quick as an RS3. What you have on your hands then, when you should so desire, is an ultra luxurious rocket ship that will plant your head into your headrest as it thunders off like freight train while hammering every imperfection on the road surface into oblivion - a breathtaking sensation to be savoured as performance and comfort don't usually go hand in hand.

Due to its heft and weight, the S8 isn't quite as surgical or as sharp as a more track-focussed Audi like the RS3, but the S8 seduces you into chucking it into those sweeping long corners anyway as the car is so stable and comfortable, providing the driver with the confidence he needs to pilot the car through to the other side. Quattro all wheel drive further aids this with added traction, allowing the driver to feel at ease with the car where there is seldom a nervy or twitchy moment in the S8. Another rather enjoyable trait of the S8 is the way it accelerates. When you floor the car, the S8 feels like its rearing up before lunging forward, and you can almost feel the exact point and moment where the drivetrain overcomes the inertia of the S8's large frame - its a mighty satisfying sensation, and one that is made even better by a deep, sexy roar from the exhaust.

It can be said that power is quite easily achieved in any car - but the S8 is also extremely comfortable even in its sportiest setting, thanks to adaptive air suspension fitted to the car that has the ability to sense upcoming bumps and undulations in the road - it then responds by lifting the front end of the car ever so slightly just before arriving at said bump, allowing more allowance in the front wheel hub so that the S8 does not crash over the bump. The result is a spectacular ride for both driver and passengers, though I have a feeling that the S8 is a car that will be better exploited and enjoyed as a performance car rather than a luxury sedan.

If you think about it, there are not too many cars in the market today that can, or even bother to balance comfort and performance in the manner that the S8 does. I mean, the car has a Comfort+ Mode that comes right after Dynamic Mode when you toggle the drive mode selector. In that sense, the S8 is an engineering freak show that worked out really well. I mean, in the current market, BMW doesn't even produce a version of their flagship 7 series that produces anything remotely close to the type of performance that the S8 is capable of. Weirdly enough, the S8's all-rounded greatness could also be its biggest pitfall - because the S8 isn't an outright supercar in its styling, nor is it as stately as a luxury sedan is expected to be.

It's a hard car to profile if I'm honest, and something tells me that the consumer who could afford an S8, could just as likely afford to purchase a supercar and a luxury sedan separately, without the need to mash them into one. While we let the consumers figure out that tiny detail, I guess we'll just continue admiring and appreciating the S8 for what a remarkable car it truly is.


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