2003 Audi S8

2003 Audi S8

The Audi S8. Still, this car ranks as one of my favorite automotive designs from the company, from the 1990s and 2000s – heck, maybe even overall. While I’m not a huge sedan fan in general, there was just something so right about the proportions and presence of the D2 S8. Did it help that it was in a movie I also loved? Sure, without a doubt. But even without that aspect I think this car, and specifically the 2003 model year, are my favorite U.S. bound Audi.

I especially like the 2003 model year because of the limited Audi Exclusive package. Special colors and interiors were fit to the car, along with updated “RS” design wheels. Limited to only 100 copies each. my favorite for the past decade and a half has been the Avus Silver Pearl with Burgundy interior and I think I’ve pointed that out…well, more than a few times. However, at nearly 15 years old, these cars are far from new and we’re deep into a territory were plenty of neglected examples are coming to market. As a result, rather than just find one in the color you want, with the D2 S8 in today’s market condition and history needs to trump other considerations like location and color.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on eBay

2001 Audi S8

2001 Audi S8

1Astute readers will have noticed that I don’t tend to write up many Audis. To be honest, I’m really more of a Mercedes/BMW guy and there aren’t that many cars from Ingolstadt that get me going. However, there are a few exceptions. I’ve always thought very highly of the B6 platform S4, the B7 RS4 and the D2 S8, the car that famously had a starring role in Ronin alongside an E34 M5. It should come as no surprise that I’m a fan of this generation S8: I like conservatively styled uber-sedans that conceal their power beneath restrained exteriors. Costing nearly $100k new depending on how they were specced, these cars now show up on the used market for between $5 and $15k depending on condition and miles. Of course, these were technologically advanced cars for their day with lots of expensive-to-replace components. So if you’re in the market for a bit of late 90s German stealthiness, condition and maintenance history matter the most.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on Columbus Craigslist

2002 Audi S8

2002 Audi S8

In many ways, to me the D2 S8 is the last of the great 1980s Audis. But wait, you say – it wasn’t built in the 1980s. It may have shared little design with the original Quattro other than the drivetrain layout and the Vier Ringe on the grill, but at its heart the S8 was the culmination of the mission of the original car – to cover ground at high speed in a luxurious 4-seater regardless of the weather conditions. Now, truth told newer Audis are bigger, badder and faster. Some even look better, though not many in my eyes. They have more technology, power and luxury than ever. So, it would be natural to say that they, too, accomplish the mission of the Quattro – and they do. But, the essence of what was Audi somehow was lost along the way. The D2 S8 didn’t sell in great numbers, but that wasn’t because it was the most expensive option and it certainly wasn’t because it was unattractive or slow. Perhaps it lacked the raw driver connection of cars like the contemporary E39 M5 and the physical grunt of the AMG E55 and S55 models. But as an all around package, the S8 is surely one of the best Audis produced. It’s quick, driver oriented, supremely comfortable, all-weather capable and even (dare I say) reliable relative to other VAG packages. It’s not so tech-heavy that it feels outdated the moment you step in the cabin; rather, it feels like the most up-to-date version of the C4 chassis and that’s generally a good thing. It sounds great, too, thanks to the silky smooth V8 under the hood. The only downside is that with low residuals, locating a really nice one any day of the week is not nearly as easy as finding a clean M5:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S8 on Boulder Craigslist

Stretch Your Dollar: 2003 Audi A8L

Stretch Your Dollar: 2003 Audi A8L

While they’re no longer the largest, fastest or most luxurious executive sport sedans on the market, the D2 Audi A8/S8 does still offer enthusiasts a substantial package for a very unsubstantial amount of money. While I’ve spent a lot of time previously covering my favorite S8 models, the normal A8 and stretched A8L tone down the sport but also come to the market at an even more budget-friendly price. To maximize your value, look towards the A8L models. These were expensive sedans back in the early 2000s, though today’s prices really dwarf the MSRP of $67,200 for the lang model. They came mostly loaded, but there were still some options that you could select such as the 18″ 5-spoke wheels shown on this 2003 example. With low miles, in a classic silver/black color combination that channels the original ASF concept that signaled the A8’s then futuristic shape and design, and in fantastic one owner shape, they don’t get much nicer than this:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi A8L on eBay

2001 Audi A8L 6.0 W12

2001 Audi A8L 6.0 W12

If it weren’t for its big splash in the movie Ronin, I tend to think that the first generation Audi A8 might be relegated to the dustbin of automotive history. This is quite a shame, because along with being the first Audi with an aluminum space frame, this über saloon also debuted the W12 engine. Don’t remember the A8 6.0 W12? Well, if you were a consumer in North America, this isn’t surprising, as these uncommon, twelve cylinder D2s were produced with Europe and Japan in mind. This example for sale in Germany is one of 750 D2 A8s produced with this revolutionary engine. Is the S8 a bit too mundane for you? This executive express should scratch that rare Audi itch.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A8L 6.0 W12 at Gina Classics

2001 Audi S8

2001 Audi S8

Sometimes it’s not what a car is that I find interesting, but where. From Porsche 924s that appear at random second-hand dealers in the ‘hood to a S-Class Mercedes-Benz trade in at a Nissan dealer, a fish out of water always is worth a head scratching double take. Finding a 2001 Audi S8 for sale isn’t a hugely unusual event, though their numbers are beginning to thin. That it would be selected in a rare color also isn’t massively abnormal, though today’s Melange Metallic example is a very infrequently seen color. On top of the color is the very low mileage, as few of the S8s you’ll come across today have much less than 100,000 miles on them – never mind only half that amount, as this one does. But to see this mint condition oddity residing in a sea of Ford F150s at a dealer named “Truck and Van Country” is…well, strange. This dealer has ONE foreign car in its inventory, and that one foreign car is the best condition Audi S8 I’ve seen in a long time:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 at Truck and Van Country

The Grass is Always Greener: 2001 Audi S8 Double Take

The Grass is Always Greener: 2001 Audi S8 Double Take

I recently pushed my finger on the right mouse button on some horrible click bait that came across my Facebook feed. The headline promised “The Top 10 Film Car Chases” or something that at least peaked my interest, if nothing else than to balk at the poorly researched and ill-chosen assemblage. And I was right; fighting through the pop-up ads and barely identifiable as English descriptions, I trudged through the list – baffled as I got closer to 10 that there was such a gap in the line up. Sure, you expect – and I agree with – movies like Vanishing Point, The French Connection, and Bullitt making the list. They’re iconic. But when The Fast and The Furious appears and a movie like Ronin doesn’t, I come within an inch of throwing my computer across the room. Silly, really, considering that none of this actually means anything, but besides being a huge fan of the movie, I’m even a more huge fan of the star of the movie. No, not Bobby. I’m of course talking about the Audi S8 – fast enough and shove-worth for the nitrous-induced chase across France. But the S8 really needs no introduction here. Today, to resurrect the honor of the dark green S8 from Ronin, I’m going to look at two examples of rare shades that never made it to the U.S.. Early in the run, U.S. customers did have the option of two different greens – Racing Green Pearl Effect in 2001 and nearly identical Irish Green Pearl Effect in 2002. Both were dark green but with a bunch of character. But what if you wanted something a bit lighter and lived in Europe?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on Gumtree

Millennial Green: 2000 Audi A4 1.8T quattro, 2001 Audi Allroad 2.7T and 2001 Audi S8

Millennial Green: 2000 Audi A4 1.8T quattro, 2001 Audi Allroad 2.7T and 2001 Audi S8

Following up on Paul’s Goodwood Green Pearl Effect RS4 and the Aquafresh duo of Ruf and Eurovan from yesterday, I wanted to take a look at some of the more rare greens from Audi in the early 2000s. Greens have all but disappeared from the color pallet over at VAG, but they featured some fetching shades a decade and a half ago. However, unlike the ubiquitous Emerald Mica or Cactus Green Pearl Effect that seemed everywhere in the mid-1990s, these shades are seldom seen in the wild. Which is your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi A4 1.8T quattro on eBay

2001 Audi S8

2001 Audi S8

The word “melange” comes from the French word for a ‘group of diverse elements’. That’s not a sexy description, nor does it evoke images of some exotic race track or picturesque mountain range. However, I think it does sum up the S8 really well. It is a car which combines all-weather practicality, a healthy dose of sport, one of the best looking large sedan shapes ever penned, and of course it doesn’t hurt that it has 360 horsepower on tap to help motivate it. But you could also interpret the diverse elements as the building blocks of the S8 and its heavy incorporation of aluminum to keep weight down. Visually, the S8 looked like a massive car. But as just a tick over 4,000 lbs, it was no heavier in reality than the V8 quattro had been over a decade earlier despite the increased luxury, options, power and size. Diverse elements could also describe the colors of the U.S. bound S8 range, as nearly every color was unique to the specific model years the D2 was available. Some did carry over, but part of my joy in clicking on S8 links is to see just what shade the example appears in. Today’s is one of the more infrequently chosen 2001-only colors. Arguably, while the S8 is anything but beige, the color’s name – Melange Metallic – suits the multi-roll S8 well.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on eBay

2003 Audi S8

2003 Audi S8

Like so many of us, my interest in Audi’s super sedan started with the film Ronin, in which the car takes center stage during one of the greatest chase scenes of all time. Prior to seeing the film I had zero interest in Euro luxo barges with big motors. I thought the bulletproof 750iL from Tomorrow Never Dies was pretty badass, but it wasn’t a car that lusted after because I knew real ones didn’t come with rocket launchers. Following that first viewing of Ronin however, I was obsessed and to this day the D2 S8 is still my favorite Audi to carry the badge. I appreciate the refined D3 and its Lamborghini sourced V10, as well as the current D4 models with their insanely high tech features and the biturbo V8 power plant shared with Bentley. However, sometimes a brand just does it right the first go round and I think that’s the case with the S8. The svelte styling would have you think the car comes in at less than the 4,000 lb curb weight, a number which is achieved with the much ballyhooed Audi Space Frame. Much has been made of the aluminum frame of these A8/S8 cars over the years and while I think it’s certainly cool, I don’t think it’s what makes these cars so special. For me it is the overall design language and appearance that puts the S8 above the competition.

Click for details: 2003 Audi S8 on Cars.com

2001 Audi S8 6-speed

2001 Audi S8 6-speed

My somewhat dour post regarding yesterday’s S8 had me feeling a bit downtrodden, and this listing was just what I needed to feel a little better. Not every current S8 owner is less than careful, and there are many who have grabbed one of these spectacular super-sedans because of the same enthusiasm I have for them. In the case of today’s example, it’s a first-year run S8 from 2001. However, the owner has upgraded the often-maligned 5-speed Tiptronic to an 01E 6-speed manual. The dream of many though few have been completed, the 6-speed swap is often mentioned as an alternative to add a little sport and long-term reliability to the mix. But it’s no small undertaking, and finding one that’s done correctly offers the potential buyer a turn-key package without the headaches of heavy lifting:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on Craigslist

2003 Audi S8

2003 Audi S8

It is with a tinge of regret that I post nearly every S8, but especially the 2003 models. That’s because they’re one of my favorite cars, and with only 1,200 total examples imported to the U.S., they’re not exactly common. This is especially true when it came to the last year of the D2 S8; you had to select a no-cost “Limited Edition” package three special color combinations. The Brilliant Black is nice and Ming Blue is always pretty, but for my money no S8 matches the color combination of the third; the Avus Silver Pearl with Oxblood interior. Only 100 of these cars were made up and it feels as though I’ve let half of those slip through my hands:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on Craigslist

1999 Audi A8 with 50,000 Miles

1999 Audi A8 with 50,000 Miles

While low mileage, pristine condition Porsches almost seem cliche, finding an Audi with not much distance covered just doesn’t happen very often. When it does, it seems to inevitably be a model that no one is particularly excited about. That’s unfortunate, because often those models are quite competent performers, indeed. Growing off of the Audi Space Frame Concept from 1993, the A8 was the replacement for the short lived V8 quattro. Although the V8 had only been in production for a few years when the ASF was built, the Type 44 chassis was already quite old so a replacement was fitting. And Audi really outdid itself, with a modern, clean design based around lightweight aluminum technology. Underneath, the initial A8 didn’t offer revolution but instead built on the technology incorporated into the advanced for the time V8 quattro. Over its life, though, the A8 became a world-class leading sedan with steadily increasing technology and power output. For the most part, though, what most people remember are the post 2001 changes; introduction for the U.S. market of the long-wheel base A8L and sporty S8. That’s unfair to the often unloved and seldom seen early models which were very similar and quite competent in their own right. Running across a 1999 A8 with only 50,000 miles is rare enough that you might not see it again in the U.S. and offers you the opportunity to get into a nearly new top flight executive sedan:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Audi A8 on eBay

How “Loaded” Is “Fully”? 2001 Audi S8 Options Breakdown

How “Loaded” Is “Fully”? 2001 Audi S8 Options Breakdown

The term “Fully Loaded” is often overused by dealers, and sometimes – as our reader Brad is fond of pointing out – poorly used. He is correct that, when talking about a top of the range luxury executive car, saying that it has power windows, locks or steering seems really quite superfluous since you couldn’t opt out of those options. Earlier this week, another reader sent me a 2001 S8 and I started to tick off the options that were selected as I looked through the photos and over the description. Unfortunately, the pricing on that particular S8 John sent was so aggressively low that someone got a great deal and it disappeared almost immediately. What was really amazing was that the selected options were more costly than the second-hand asking price! But I found another heavily equipped 2001 S8 for sale – unsurprisingly, though, the dealer doesn’t list those rare options, rather relying on the tried and true “Fully Loaded” moniker. Let’s see if we can decode what the car was selected with – and what that would have cost:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on Geebo