The Audi A8 has been available since 1997. It replaced the Audi V8 as the premier, flagship model in the Audi lineup. Through the years of shopping for an Audi A8 for sale, the car has been through three generations.
The A8 debuted in America in 1997; though, It has been available in Europe since 1994. Unlike its predecessor, the A8 used a aluminium monocoque to reduce weight without sacrificing size and structural rigidity. The first-generation A8 was broken down into two different variations. The front-wheel drive model was available with either a 2.8-liter V-6 producing 190 hp or a 3.7-liter V-8. The Quattro-equipped AWD version of the car came standard with a 4.2-liter V-8 producing 310 hp.
For 2001, the A8 got minor revisions including a restyled front end, new headlamps, revised grille and a lower front fascia. In 2001, the S8 was introduced to the North American market. Its power was from a 4.2-liter V-8 making 359 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. Despite the aluminum structure, the biggest gripe with the S8 was its weight, which compromised performance. The first generation S8 grew in populairity after it was featured in the car-chase scene in Ronin.
The second generation A8 was introduced in 2003. Two body variants came with the new edition; the regular-wheelbase A8 and long-wheelbase A8L. The standard engine was the 4.2-liter V-8 churning out 345 hp. The more powerful, optional 6.0-liter W-12 engine developed an incredible 444 hp. After a couple years, the car underwent a mild facelift.
The car came with Audi’s Multi Media Interface. Like BMW’s iDrive system, MMI uses a knob and various buttons to allow users to peruse a number of multi-teir menus, which can change everything from the radio station to the car’s suspension setting. The system was recognized as being much more inituative than the iDrive but still more of a pain than pleasure to use.
After a brief hiatus the S8 again was available from 2006. It comes with a 5.2L V-10 that produces a stellar 450 horsepower. That much power is good for a 0–60 time of 5.1 seconds and on to a electronically-limited top speed of 160 mph. The auto was outfitted with pressurized air springs and a multi-link suspension layout. Other ways that this model is slightly different from the A8 are the single frame grille, the S8 badges on the front and rear, and the spoiler on the trunk lid. The four oval exhaust tailpipes also differentiate the S8 from the A8. Besides that it is a sleeper when compared to most other high-performance models.
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