A First Look at the 2022 Audi S8

The ultra-high performance luxury sedan gets huge upgrades in suspension and lighting.

Automotive
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Audi has had a long history with prioritizing luxury while not skirting performance, particularly with its S models. For 2022, the German automaker is presenting its new S8 executive sedan, the flagship that continues to offer supercar numbers in a suite of luxury.

For 2022, the S8 is updated as a facelift year – a mid-generation life cycle refresh – with subtle upgrades from the previous iterations. Its main updates, according to the brand, really address the comfort and handling sectors of its performance. For instance, the suspension has received a massive tech enhancement; predictive Audi Pre Sense technology makes the active suspension smarter and more intuitive. As the car scans the road ahead with built-in sensors, the suspension is able to cope with inconsistencies on the road – speed bumps and potholes – to go as far as unloading the shocks as the car arrives to the roughness. This results in a ride that isn’t just smooth, but actively accounts for jolts and bumps that would upset the chassis.

The system also works as the car carves corners, actually firming up the outside wheels to support the inner turn, thus counteracting body roll and leveling out the car. All of this active suspension is felt throughout the cabin, but Audi claims the rear passengers will notice the benefits most, further cementing the luxury aspect of the S8.

The suspension is so smart that, in the event of a potential t-bone collision with either side, the shocks and springs will actually raise the entire side so the colliding vehicle will strike the impact beam rather than a crumple zone in the door. This same action is also initiated for occupants entering and exiting the car – every time the door is opened, the car raises up for an easier ingress and egress.

Further refinements are seen in the lighting. At the front, digital Matrix-design headlights feature 1.3 million micro-mirrors, capable of even projecting a welcome sign for owners as they approach the vehicle. The rear tail lights are also revised with a customizable pattern and signature, depending on which driving mode the car is currently in. If the driver is in Comfort+ mode, the tail lights will illuminate differently than when the car is in Dynamic mode. A welcome sequence is seen inside as well, with revealing air vents and ambient lighting greeting the driver and passengers.

Performance-wise, the S8 retains its impressive figures: 0-60 in 3.8 seconds via its twin-turbo 4.0L V8 and a limited top speed of 155 mph places the S8 in supercar territory. During our test, the power felt smooth and continuous, rather than ultra-sharp. While this may seem like a detriment, the more-than-abundant power felt appropriate as to not upset the car’s handling and feel. Audi confirmed this, stating that the car’s technology and power plant is meant to prioritize comfort and a luxurious ride, while offering sports car-like performance readily and purposefully. While other car makers aim to balance both equally, Audi is not shy in admitting comfort is key, and this result is apparent.

The 2022 Audi S8 will MSRP for $118,000 USD as standard, with available packages – exterior “Black Optic” and interior “Comfort Plus” and “Executive” options for example – offering different wheels, lighting tech, drivers assistance and more for additional costs. Delivery of the S8 will begin this spring.

Audi also recently revealed its A6 Avant E-Tron concept, for those interested in the ultimate electric wagon setup.

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