The first-generation S8 was the best performance full-size sedan of its era

There’s a lot of argument today when it comes to picking the best RS car Audi ever produced. Old-school gearheads claim it’s the RS2 Avant because it was produced with help from Porsche, while others claim the old RS models are no match for the modern variants.

But people seem to forget that Audi also built performance versions of its full-size sedan, the A8. Granted, the S8 isn’t a full-fledged RS model, but it packs a big punch and it combines it with luxury features in a unique way. The S8 badge goes back to the first-generation D2, a sedan that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

This video from Auditography aims to bring the first-generation S8 back into the spotlight, but it’s not a regular review. It’s a collage of images and videos that showcase the beautiful simplicity of the first-gen A8’s exterior combined with the sumptuous interior and potent drivetrain.

This authentic sleeper came with a turbocharged, 4.2-liter V-8 engine under the hood.
Is This Video Proof That the First-Gen Audi S8 Was The Best Luxury Performance Car Ever?
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The initial S8, launched in 1996, featured a four-valves-per-cylinder V-8 rated at 340 horsepower, but Audi changed the design to five valves per cylinder in 1999, which increased output to 360 horsepower. In this setup, the S8 needed only 5.4 seconds to hit 62 mph and charged toward a top speed of 155 mph.

Engine 4.2-liter V-8
Horsepower 360 HP
0 to 62 mph 5.4 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph

Although Audi eventually offered a long-wheelbase A8 with a W-12 rated at 420 horsepower, the S8 remained the quickest of the lineup until the first-gen full-size sedan was discontinued in 2002.

Is This Video Proof That the First-Gen Audi S8 Was The Best Luxury Performance Car Ever?
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The modern S8 cranks out a solid 571 horsepower, but the existence of this car wouldn’t have been possible without the success of the first-generation S8.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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