There is a great misconception among the automotive faithful that needs to be addressed. When it comes to choosing or modifying a car, younger gear heads are all about speed and handling over everything else. They will sacrifice their ears and ability to hold a civil conversation for a few horsepower gained with from long tube headers and straight pipes. Or they will sacrifice their organs and spine for the sake of being able to take an off ramp corner a few miles per hour faster than stock. High profile camshafts create idle lopes that sound as if the car has stalled every revolution, and makes driving in traffic a certifiable nightmare.
The misconception that these brats have is that as we age, somehow those of us that were speed freaks somehow or someway lose that desire to go fast and trade it in to be comfortable. Of course, back in the day, whenever someone traded in their Shelby Cobra for a Cadillac Deville, that was true. Luxury and speed used to be mutually exclusive ideas. But, we would like to introduce you to proof that is no longer the case — we give you, the 2020 Audi S8.
Much like those big beautiful Cadillacs of yore, the S8 is large — it has an overall length of 209 inches, a width of 76.6 inches and a curb weight that tips the scales at a hefty 5256 pounds. Also like those outmoded luxury dinosaurs, the S8 has offers up plenty of plush seating, which also can heat, cool, and massage you as you drive. There is a myriad of carbon fiber inlaid trim all around the well appointed cabin, and enough sound deadening and noise-insulating glass to separate you from the plebeians on the road. Thanks to its all-wheel steering, active suspension that senses road conditions in microseconds, as well as that aforementioned heft, the S8 is as confidence inspiring as having a supermodel slip you her number.
But more than just being luxurious, you will get a lot more for a base price of $131,795. Despite its rather demure first impression, he S8 is really just a well-fed, grown up race car. Powered by a seriously powerful 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged and intercooled, DOHC all-aluminum direct-injected V8, this beast puts down a staggering 563-horsepower and equally impressive 590 lb-ft of torque. All that power is funneled through an 8-speed automatic transmission and then on to all-four corners to Audi’s lauded all-wheel drive.
Despite what some pithy WRX driver might think of you at a traffic light, he will be in for a big surprise when you stomp the gas and rather reservedly and rocket off from 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds, from 0-100 mph in 8.1 seconds, and through the quarter mile in a scant 11.6 seconds at 119 mph on your way to a top speed of 155 mph. Bye bye Rex! Even if you don’t opt for the massive carbon-ceramic brakes (a ten grand uncharge), you’ll still reign in all that speed and drop from 70-0 mph in just 162 feet. Even around the corners, the big S8 dances as lightly as Lotus Elise thanks to all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering — pulling a legit 0.94 g around the skidpad and even for such a big, powerful car, the S8 still manages to post a 13/22/16 city/highway/combined mpg. Not great, but not bad for a 5,000 pound car with nearly 600 horsepower!
So to all the newly licensed speed-racers out there, be aware that the notion that us older folks who “used to be” gear heads are now just interested in slow moving luxo-rides is completely erroneous. We still love to go fast, but we also like to be comfortable. The Audi S8 is the perfect vessel to help us accomplish that feat, while we make you and your patchwork Honda look downright silly. We may be older, but we haven’t changed — we can just afford better toys.