The best of both worlds

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Part of growing is learning that you can’t have it all. But modern luxury automakers are working to challenge that notion, not least because performance and comfort can be contradictory traits. Audi’s S sub-brand, as opposed to the Audi Sport division’s RS line of cars, is dedicated to cracking the code of producing models that have a sporty edge without compromising on comfort. The new Audi S8 2022 is no exception.

Ever since Audi launched the full-size sedan globally in 1996, it’s been the German automaker’s performance and luxury flagship. A few years into its fourth generation, the S8 is getting a mid-cycle refresh with key upgrades aimed at giving well-heeled buyers a two-in-one driving experience. We drove the updated 2022 Audi S8 on beautiful Southern California roads to see how effective the updates are.

What’s new

The company has reworked the exterior design of the 2022 Audi S8 to better match the rest of the brand’s lineup. It sports a new grille with a pattern consisting of opposing L-shapes; it somewhat resembles the hexagonal pattern found on the grille of Audi Sport’s RS models. The S8 also gets new LED headlights that can project animated patterns onto the floor or walls to wave goodbye to the driver. Meanwhile, its OLED taillights change patterns depending on the drive mode selected.

The interior remains largely unchanged; the fourth-generation S8 was introduced for 2020, so the cabin still looks and feels quite fresh. There’s plenty of screen real estate, a necessity in the luxury sedan segment these days, and Audi’s dual-display infotainment setup gets a new, faster processor as part of the upgrade. model year day 2022.

Mechanically, the biggest change for the 2022 Audi S8 is an available predictive adaptive suspension ($6,000). It’s an air suspension setup complemented by an electromagnetic system, and it uses a front camera mounted near the rear-view mirror to read the road ahead and anticipate bumps, potholes and other imperfections to better pamper occupants. of the car. It can respond in 300 milliseconds, Audi says, by increasing or decreasing the load on each control arm to smooth out the ride. We tested this system on potholes along our route, and as long as we had a clear view of the road (if your eyes can see it, the car can too, Audi says), the S8 floated. virtually over potholes thanks to its radical new suspension setup.

Rear steering is also a new standard feature for the 2022 Audi S8. The rear wheels can turn up to 5 degrees, reducing the S8’s turning radius from 3.6 feet to just 38.7 feet, which Audi says is the same as its A4 compact sedan. Not only does this system make the S8 super easy to squeeze into tight parking spots, it also makes a fairly large vehicle feel much smaller on narrow, winding roads.

What is the same?

The mighty 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine of the 2022 Audi S8 picks up where it left off before the facelift, which is fine with us. It develops 563 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque transmitted to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Audi says the 2022 S8 will hit 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.8 seconds, and on our road the S8’s engine was smooth and its gearbox offered crisp, crisp shifts.

Neat handling and powerful brakes complete this colossal acceleration. The steering is light, even in Audi’s sporty dynamic driving mode, but precise. The stopping power of the large six-piston front brakes and single-piston rear brakes is enough to quickly pull the long-wheelbase sedan from highway speeds.

The predictive adaptive suspension system and rear steering work together to keep the S8’s body under control on secondary roads. When we stopped to take a break from driving and backed up to admire the car, it was almost unbelievable how big the sedan was on the outside compared to how it seems to shrink around the driver on secondary roads. It moves like a real GT car but has the agility of a much smaller vehicle. If the steering were just a little stiffer, this would be an even more engaging sports sedan.

Although the 2022 Audi S8 is brutally fast and extremely capable in the corners, toggling the drive mode to Comfort+ completely changes the nature of the luxury sedan. It makes the steering even lighter, reduces throttle response and lifts and softens the suspension. The predictive adaptive suspension delivers ride quality that ranks among the best in the luxury sedan segment, and the car’s cabin is quiet, making the sound of the premium Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system even more powerful provided that.

Is the Audi S8 safe?

Like other full-size luxury sedans, the 2022 Audi S8 is light on the standard driver-assist active safety tech. It is equipped with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams and lane departure warning. Upgrading to the Executive Pack adds adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous functionality, traffic sign recognition, side and rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.

In the event of an imminent T-shaped side impact, an Audi S8 equipped with the predictive active suspension can take advantage of the rapid response time of the electromagnetic system by increasing the air suspension by 3.1 inches in just 0.5 seconds. Audi claims this improves the chances of the impact occurring in such a way that the car body better absorbs the kinetic energy of the collision. To monitor for impending accidents, the S8 uses its suite of cameras and sensors that provide a 360-degree parking view and handle the rest of the active safety monitoring tasks. It’s common in this segment for vehicles to lack standard safety features, but when properly equipped, the 2022 Audi S8 has some impressive technology.

At the end

The 2022 Audi S8 starts at $118,995 (destination and gas consumption taxes included), and the car we tested sells for $135,595 with all its optional equipment. Most buyers buying cars in this segment won’t sweat a few thousand here and there, but Audi has priced the S8 strategically, falling between the Mercedes-Benz S500 and S580 models and undercutting the BMW. Alpina B7 and the Porsche Panamera Turbo S.

Beware, the 2022 Audi S8 lacks a bit of customization. Audi offers the car with eight exterior paint color choices, three wheel choices, three interior colors and a single Carbon Vector dashboard inlay option. Its competitors offer more configurations, allowing customers to make their vehicles a little more bespoke than is currently possible if you choose the 2022 Audi S8.

Either way, the 2022 Audi S8 is perfected without sacrificing the luxury character of the regular A8. It is loaded with technology and has the power to clear most traffic jams. Indeed, Audi’s flagship still has plenty of wind in its sails and demonstrates that sometimes you can actually have it all.

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Audi S8 2022 Features
LAYOUT Front-engine, all-wheel-drive/5-passenger, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 4.0L/563 hp/590 lb-ft DOHC 32-valve twin-turbo V8
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
UNLOADED WEIGHT 5,350 lbs (mfr east)
L x W x H 204.3 x 76.6 x 58.1 inches
0-60MPH 3.8 sec (mfr east)
EPA RANGE, COMB 369 miles