The 2018 Audi A8 is the flagship sedan for the luxury German automaker, a rolling statement of success that competes in the rarefied air of executive haulers like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS. Though in its last model year before an all-new version arrives, the A8 and its high-powered S8 sibling pack a prestigious punch.
You'll Like The 2018 Audi S8 If...
If you desire an executive sedan that is just different enough to spark interest yet comes from a brand whose luxury credentials need no explaining, the 2018 Audi A8 satisfies. If you want that in a high-end sedan with thrilling power and performance, look to the souped-up S8 variant.
You May Not Like The 2018 Audi S8 If...
If you can wait for the 2019 Audi A8, you'll get an even more advanced vehicle. Otherwise, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series are fresher flagships, while an all-new Lexus LS is around the corner. If you want CarPlay or Android Auto, wait or look elsewhere.
In its last year of production before an all-new A8 arrives for 2019, few changes are in store for this 2018 model. Among them is an Executive Package on base 3.0T models that bundles driver-assistance features like active lane keeping and amenities including ventilated and massaging front seats.
Though on the cusp of replacement, the A8's interior has held up well. While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of even its newer A4 sibling such as the Virtual Cockpit or Apple CarPlay/Android integration, the A8's cabin is a commendable cocoon of indulgence. We've already waxed poetic on the 22-way-adjustable front seats, each straddled by a wide console festooned with buttons and a gearshift that looks like it was taken from a jet. A8 models, only available as "L" for long-wheelbase, have scads of rear-seat legroom at nearly 43 inches, while the S8 still boasts a commendable 38.7 inches.
Like other Audis, this flagship sedan is stately but reserved, eschewing the fluidity of, say, the latest S-Class for a more conservative shape. We say "mostly" reserved save for the front, which is distinguished by Audi's signature LED strip underneath the headlights and a massive, trapezoidal grille. The A8 is only available in one length -- long wheelbase -- and comes in at 207.4 total inches. The S8 is a bit shorter and easier to park at 202.6 inches. One of the easiest ways to distinguish the 2018 S8 performance model is to look for the wide quad tailpipes in back.
Is it a luxury sedan or a performance car? With the 2018 A8, you get both. The scales tip toward the latter in the A8 4.0T with its V8 engine, though even the standard supercharged V6 does a fine job hustling Audi's flagship up to speed. Naught to 60 mph arrives in a 5.5 seconds in the base model, and decreases to a blazing 4.4 seconds in the 4.0T. Need more? The S8 will rocket you from 0 to 60 in a supercar-like 3.7 seconds, all while tackling corners like a smaller and lither car. All A8 models have a fine degree of finesse and comfort thanks to standard air suspension and all-wheel drive, the latter especially appreciated in cold-weather states. In our time with an A8 high in the Rocky Mountains, we found it to be quiet and exceedingly comfortable in everyday driving. The S8, a driver's car, danced through corners.
The 2018 Audi A8 full-size luxury sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) beginning just under $83,500 for a base 3.0T. The V8-powered A8 4.0 pushes the price just shy of $93,000. The S8 Plus debuts near $117,000. The Executive Package can add several thousand more to the bottom line. The Audi A8's starting price is significantly less than that of the nearly $100,000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, though the Benz comes standard with a V8. The A8's starting price is nearly the same as a base BMW 7 Series, and above that of the Lexus LS, Jaguar XJ and new Genesis G90. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new A8. The Audi A8's resale value is predicted to trail those of its rivals, most notably that of the class-leading Lexus LS.
Even the least expensive 2018 A8 3.0T can make you feel rich with such standard features as leather interior, 18-way power-operated and heated front seats, Bose audio system, navigation, quad-zone climate control and sunroof. Thoughtful features include power-rear sunshade, rear-seat vanity mirrors and even a headlight washer. Every A8 also comes with a 6-month subscription to Audi connect, which offers in-car Wi-Fi connectivity. Quattro -- Audi's term for its all-wheel-drive system -- is also standard. In addition to the V8 engine, the 4.0T model includes 22-way front seats with ventilation and massaging, heated rear seats, head-up display and panoramic sunroof.
On the 3.0T model, the Executive Package adds active safety and driving aids like blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, plus a top-view camera. On A8 4.0 models it also includes separate power-operated rear outboard seats with ventilation and massage functionality. The S8 performance sedan has a sport-tuned suspension, sport rear differential and 21-inch wheels. The S8 can be further upgraded with ceramic brakes, night-vision assistant, Alcantara headliner and Bang & Olufsen audio system.
22-WAY MULTI-CONTOUR SEATS
Face it: No matter where you drive an A8, you'll always be in the same place -- the front seat. Thus, we recommend getting the most comfortable one you can. Those in the Executive Package adjust nearly two dozen ways and will even massage you. Front passengers get the same treatment.
S8: A 605-HORSEPOWER SLEEPER
We love the S8 for many reasons: Its shorter overall length than the A8 makes it easier to maneuver in tight spots, while its torque-vectoring rear sport differential helps ensure optimal power delivery and grip. Most of all, we love this 605-horsepower sedan's sleeper status.
Under the Hood
Two gasoline engines are available for the 2018 Audi A8 sedan, both connected to a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. The A8 3.0T uses a supercharged V6 while the 4.0T Sport gets a turbocharged V8, both of which have fuel-saving start/stop technology. The star athlete, however, is the S8 Plus with its 4.0-liter turbo V8 tuned to make 605 horsepower. With a blistering 0-60-mph time of 3.7 seconds, the 2018 S8 will embarrass many sports cars. All A8 and S8 models include quattro all-wheel drive.
3.0-liter supercharged V6 (3.0T)
333 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (4.0T Sport)
450 horsepower @ 5,300-6,000 rpm
444 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/26 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (S8)
605 horsepower @ 6,100-6,800 rpm
517 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-6,000 rpm
553 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm with overboost
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/24 mpg
The 2018 Audi A8 is the flagship sedan for the luxury German automaker, a rolling statement of success that competes in the rarefied air of executive haulers like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS. Audis have long nailed a fine balance between comfort and performance, all while showcasing the brand's tenacious quattro all-wheel-drive system and futuristic technology. These characteristics remain true of the 2018 A8 even as it enters its final year of production before an all-new version arrives. The high-performance S8, meanwhile, takes all this and adds over 600 horsepower to the recipe. While 2018 marks the last of this current-gen A8, Audi's flagship still has a lot to offer those seeking a posh and polished German luxury sedan.